The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
I heard or read that quote some years ago. I don’t remember where or when. This morning though, when I started thinking about the birth of my daughter (which was less than three weeks ago), this quote came to mind. The birth wasn’t a typical one – it was an unmedicated, unassisted home birth. Our baby plopped right out onto the floor of our spare room with me running towards her in what felt like slow motion to get there in time to catch her. When my wife told our family doctor about the birth he exclaimed, “My word! I didn’t know that still happened in first world countries!” Indeed.
It’s worth pointing out that we had originally planned to have a natural birth in birthing centre and had taken a Hypnobirthing course to make it possible. It was only after we moved with just under two months to the due date that we decided to go for a homebirth. Still, we hadn’t planned for it to be completely unassisted. We were supposed to have a midwife or two present but things just didn’t work out that way.
Our good friend and nominated Doula was supposed to be present for most of the labour, but it never seemed like the right time for her to come over, so other than keeping her updated, we had little contact until the moment our little girl was born. After the birth, and once things had calmed down a little, she asked me, “Why didn’t you tell me to come? Why didn’t you ask for help?” I’ve been thinking about these questions since the night of the birth and, though I realise now that I took on a great deal of responsibility and pressure on “labour day”, at the time it never felt quite like that. And I think it ties into the quote. All I was focused on was providing my wife, Michelle, with whatever she needed. Nothing was too much. In fact if I had to I probably would have taken on more. That was my mentality at the time. Whatever she needs, she gets. Whatever I can give her, do for her, it shall be done. Whatever weight there was to carry, I would carry it. I had to be there and available for her, and crumbling was not an option. Strength was the only option. And with this mindset, nothing felt like too much.