The birth experience for a man is like having a bacon and eggs breakfast. As a father our engagement in the process is not as intimate as a woman’s experience. It’s what comes after that changes everything.
There is an old axiom. In a bacon and eggs breakfast, the chicken is involved while the pig is committed. That pretty well sums up the issues in pregnancy. The father is involved while the mother is committed.
I was present for the birth for each of our three children. Each time Sweetheart was pregnant, I was an anxious mess. Don’t get me wrong. I was thrilled to have each one on the way. I was anxious because of all the variables that come with a pregnancy – yet had no influence on them.
It comes down to the issue that the father is not as engaged in the process as the mother. Life is growing in her. A life that I can only feel externally. Only when the baby started moving could I know it was there.
Sweetheart was committed. She had the morning-afternoon-evening sickness. She had cravings for French fries and ketchup. She sensed her body changing shape. She gave birth to three new lives.
I was involved with each pregnancy. I attended the pre-natal classes. I was there for every doctor’s visit. Routine ultrasounds were not available then. I only heard the baby’s heartbeat through a special stethoscope that the obstetrician had.
During childbirth, I was by her side attending her. I helped her breath through the contractions. As the contractions became more intense, I held her hand and was close to her face encouraging her.
I always knew when transition hit. She had enough of my being close and pushed me away. Well, it was more an involuntary slap actually. The baby was coming and she need to push.
For our first son, I was scared to look down there. I didn’t know what was happening and concentrated on helping Sweetheart. By the time our third child was born, I was monitoring the birth and coaching her through it… the doc was there to catch the baby.
With our third child, I witnessed the miracle of life happen. He took his first breath and started crying. Oxygen filled his lungs and supplied his body. I saw him ‘pink’ up. It is a wonder of nature and the point when they are truly a living human being. No longer anxious, I was filled with awe, love, wonder, happiness all at the same time.
After each birth, we cuddled as a family. The baby’s eyes scan your face imprinting you. This is when I was no longer involved. I was committed to caring for and raising our child.