We also learned the father of the child traditionally cuts the umbilical cord. "Why?" I asked, upon hearing this. Our teacher seemed confused by the question, so I clarified. "I mean, is there an actual reason for the father to do it -- like, because he's standing right there anyhow, and the midwife's hands are full -- or is this just a feel-good measure to make the husband feel useful, so, later, with the guys, he can be all, like, 'dude, I totally helped out with that birth!'" The teacher conceded that the latter was the case. Knowing that the cord cutting is purely ceremonial, I've decided to go whole hog. I plan to wear a suit with a sash that reads "DAD," and proclaim "I declare this baby to be ... born!" while cutting the cord with a giant pair of scissors.