Guest speaker, Frank Chew O.A.M. Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Extraordinaire! During his career Frank calculates he has delivered over 10,000 babies which qualified him for the title of his talk “What I Know About Women”. Peter Tragardh had originally suggested “My Life With the Ladies” but Frank demurred as this may have led to some misinterpretations! Frank actually suggested that his experience as an obstetrician also qualified him to talk about what he knew about men after witnessing various performances by fathers at and during birthing, but that’s another story.
Frank is the youngest of five children, all brought up and sent through university by his mother who was a dressmaker at the RAAF base at Butterworth, Malaysia. Through the good offices of Andrew Peacock, then Minister of Immigration, Frank slipped into Australia under the radar as the White Australia Policy was still alive and well at the time.
Frank explained how he met his wife, Hong, at university. Describing himself as a bit of a nerd, he initially didn’t take much notice of the gossip circulating about an attractive Asian girl attending classes, but curiosity gradually got the better of him, and the rest – as they say – is history.
As a practising obstetrician and gynaecologist, Frank was on duty 24/7 which was both tiring and arduous, but nonetheless very rewarding. Many of his patients had fixed ideas about their forthcoming delivery and demanded things like specific music, aroma therapy, under-water births (Frank has some very fixed ideas about that…none of them complimentary) and no drugs. Almost all of these wishes went out the window at the time of birth, some because a caesarean section was necessary but a lot because of the pain. As Frank said, birth is called ‘labour’, not ‘pleasure’ and the new mothers needed all the help they could.
Some patients can be very violent during the birthing, blaming their husbands for their pain, and if the husbands weren’t around to hit, the obstetrician was a handy alternative! Having said that, pregnancy is a very stressful time for women. They need a lot of support and reassurance from their partners.
Frank also mentioned that several of the fathers weren’t the actual fathers. No doubt this led to lots of surprises but least said, soonest mended was the rule in many instances.
Frank was an entertaining and informative speaker, and as an aside, most of the questions from the floor came from our male members. Not so surprising perhaps.