When I was a child, my first concepts of the delivery room were depicted on television. And the television depictions were transitioning from dads handing out cigars in the waiting room to the classic scenes of the mother yelling at her man saying “why did you do this to me!?!”
I have to admit that the cigar option seemed more appealing (although I have never developed a taste cigars) for quite a while. So, when I hear stories about fathers not wanting to be in the delivery room, I can empathize.
Way before a father gets into that delivery room, they are spending months wondering… what goes on in there? Actually I can’t speak for other fathers, but I certainly thought about it.
A common concern seems to be the fear of blood and other… effluvia. I see no shame in being supportive from the waist up.
Most of the time I pondered if everything is okay. There are lulls in status and communication from doctors and even your own significant other, life goes on during pregnancy: work, bills, chores, social events. We didn’t talk about it constantly and sometimes that made me uneasy. We are at this wondrous time when so much information is available. That information can be used to inform or to mentally menace yourself. I frequently did the latter.
If you’re worried something is wrong (with absolutely nothing but fear to drive this worry), it’s a horrible idea to burden your poor pregnant wife with any of these concerns. If you are lucky, you might have a friend to share these ideas with. But even that can be somewhat sensitive… I suggest choosing a friend who already has children.
I decided to share my thoughts and fears with a friend who was actively trying to have children, who later told me everything I said stayed with him for the remainder of the pregnancy like a nightmare loop. Oops.
All joking aside, it really is important find a person or place where you’re comfortable talking about your concerns and asking questions. Places like birthing classes, friends or family who have gone through it, or a reputable online community (if you want a bit more anonymity) are all viable options to open up.
When it’s finally D-DAY, all of these fears and rambling questions will be met head on. It’s like a whole season of a really involved television show and this is the finale… are you getting your answers or is it going to end on a twist?
Whatever is going on in your head, compared to what is mentally and physically going on with your significant other, your stuff takes a back seat. Perhaps this is where some of the issues with being in the delivery room stem.
As a husband and now as a father, you are helpless in that room. Yes you can be supportive (and that’s very important), but there probably isn’t much you can do in there directly.
It’s a humbling experience and it’s an important lesson to learn because it could and often does happen more than once as a husband.
Yes, you can yearn for the “good old days,” wishing you could sit in a shabby waiting room while your significant other spends hours bringing your child into the world. Or you can walk through those doors and fully embrace what comes next…together. You are going to have to get to that point eventually, you might as well meet it head on.
Photos from iStock
This post was originally published in January, 2016