A Month Gone By

It’s been over a month now since my daughter was born. We have no name for her yet as her mother struggles to decide. This is symbolic of a difference between us. I would have decided on a name, and stuck with it – never regret the decision. The child and the personality forms around the name until it fits like a glove. Not the other way around. But her mother is more undecided. Lots more undecided. If I suggest one name, she suggest another. If I suggest that other name, she will revert back to the first one I suggested. So, if I say A, she says B. If I say B she will backpaddle to A. And off we go, and we can’t decide.

We have found a system that works as of now. I stay up with the baby until 2 or 3 in the morning, before I give her to her mother for feeding. Then I go to sleep. Usually not in the same room in order to give me a proper nights sleep before work. I am honestly not that tired. The breastfeeding makes her mother tired. I try to make her more comfortable by pressing orange juice or giving her massages.

I don’t often dwell or reflect on the past year or month and I often find my previous reflections to others as almost embaressing. However, there’s a few things I find to be a relief. First, it is so damn good to know that this girl doesn’t have any other father than me. I don’t have to relate to another father, and there’s no one referring to another father. It can be hard on step-fathers to have to deal with someone who will never step down from the throne as number 1. The father will always be the father. But for this girl, I am the father and I will always be the father. It’s a relief.

Humans would often like to fit in or feel at least on the same level as others. I more than before feel like this now. I feel like I am equal to other fathers. I am no less. I even dealt with birth better than many (I was completely calm and collected). The baby comes natural to me. I am a father, like many others and I’m currently doing it quite well. I like being a father as I expected I would. But there’s more to come. The baby is just a bit over a month old. When she starts talking, walking and relating to me – things will slowly become a tight relationship to my young daughter. It’s almost weird to say. My daughter.

 

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Birth from a mans experience

I didn’t really know what to expect from childbirth. People giving me information about what to expect was all over the place. Everyone from my girlfriend to co-workers to friends and family. Not one story was the same, and not one attitude towards it was alike. Some women almost hostile to the idea, and being vocal about the hell they went through. Other women being more relaxed saying they “have had worse” than child birth coming to them. And what was more annoying was how everyone kept asking me about it. “What do you think? What do you expect? Are you excited? Are you scared? You haven’t done this before, have you.”

What am I supposed to answer these questions with? I can’t say I’m excited because my girlfriends friend had just been on a 20 minute long rant about the hell she went through. I can’t say I’m scared either because another friend said childbirth was not all it was hyped up to be. I didn’t know what to say if I was asked what I expected. Once, I said I didn’t really expect anything because it was impossible to get a clear cut view of the matter from anyone. Once I said; “well, the baby have to come out one way or another” and my girlfriend ripped me a new asshole for it. Still don’t get why though, as a month later she said the same thing repeatadly to me and her family.

So, all in all, very confusing stuff. So I thought, for those dads-to-be that have not yet been through this – I will give you the real deal. The truth. This is what you can expect to happen. As a man. Not as a woman. As a man.

Here’s the deal; it’s all individual. There’s three people in the room. Mother, father and child (we don’t count those midwives), Everyone of those three will experience this differently, but it is the mother who is in charge of the event. If the mother is in pain or scared out of her mind, it won’t be very pleasing and the father will be dragged through a process of watching a loved one in desperate pain. She might scream her lungs out. It will all be like a nightmare. Or, it could be the complete opposite. A woman in control of her pain and focused towards her task with no hellish screams. Make no mistake, the task is very tough, but women deals with it differently. How your loved one will react to this if she haven’t been through it already is anyones guess (and births can be very different). All you have to do is come along for the ride and try to help out in any way you can (and those options are few). If you as a man does not like a bit of blood or the look of a placenta coming out you might want to look the other way. Some guys might feel a sense of panick. Other may find themselves in calm and focused control of themselves. There’s just no way of knowing. It’s even about you as well. Are you uncomfortable in hospitals you might be in for a troubling time!

So, if people ask you about this matter. Try to answer as proper as possible, but the key is this; “individuality”. You can’t expect this or that. There’s no way. You simply have to roll with the punches and see how things unfold. If you’re overly excited and happy, you might get a shock of how serious birth can be. If you expect World War One to happen, you might feel that it wasn’t such a big deal after all. But if you’re gonna speak of your experience afterwords, make sure you speak only for you and recognize your girlfriends pain and what she went through.

And as for me, I honesly expected more of the bad stuff. Everything was done so quickly I had no time to think (individuality once again). We got to the hospital about 1645, and the baby arrived 17:37. My girlfriend was in deep pain, but instead of screaming or cursing the midwife out, she went some place deep inside herself and just focused on the task. There wasn’t really much I could do, but I am pleased to know that I calmed down and felt focused during the process. I expected World War One I guess, and was pleased to find out it was not a situation I couldn’t handle. The blood and gore was fine. It felt more natural than I expected. There wasn’t much of anything from my point in the room.

And, then she arrived. This little creature with eyes scared shitless of the process she had just been through.

If I meet a man with a pregnant girlfriend and he asks me for what I think, I won’t say this or that. I will simply say it’s all individual. Expect the unexpected. There’s nothing really I can say either way.

That was birth. Then there’s the rest. More on that later.

Normandie

I’m sitting here waiting for my life to change. In one way or another. I’m off work now, taking the rest of my holidays, the mandatory ten days for fathers after birth and another two weeks worth of overtime. It will be one and a half month of free time.

The baby is not born yet. She’s on overtime. She should have been born yesterday, but it’s all theory and calculations. No one can really say when she will be born.

We’re sitting on the sofa watching daytime TV. I massage her neck, her feet, her legs. The house is quiet. Very quiet. Just the sound the tiny canary bird flying around the house being his happy self can be heard. The TV is on, but the sound is almost mute.

“This must be how the soldiers felt before Normandie”, I tell her. I don’t really know if she actually knows what Normandie and 1944 means, but I tell her anyway. How the soldiers waited in ships, landing vessels, in aircraft and in large barracks. All ready to go. They knew that once they were given the order, they were off to Normandie. Their lives would change forever, Of course, their situation was much more serious. Their own lives depended on luck, strategy and their own abilities. But, nevertheless, they were there – waiting for their life to change. Forever. So am I.

At any point now, we will have to go the hospital. My life will change. Nothing will ever be the same. Cross fingers the change will bring joy and happiness. A new person will arrive. My daughter. My parents granddaughter. We’re all waiting. My aunts are waiting. My friends are waiting. My co-workers are waiting. It feels like we’re all just waiting. And so we’re just sitting in front of the TV waiting. Waiting for our lives to change into something else.

And to you, my dear daughter. I don’t know your name yet. I haven’t met you yet. Just be very careful. You are so close to being born now. Arrive when you feel like arriving, but don’t wait too long. Stay safe through your journey. It will be tough for you just as it is for your mother. Myself too. I don’t know what to expect now. I’m here, like a soldier before D-Day knowing damn well that once the order comes through – my life will change.

Travel into this world safely, and I will take care of you from then on. See you soon.