When we talk about birth and the transition to parenthood, we almost always talk about mom. What was HER birth experience? How is SHE feeling? Don’t get me wrong, this is very much what we want. But very rarely do we check in on how the dad or partner is doing with the transition. We can’t forget about them! I’ve reached out to dads and partners to see their birth experience through their eyes. Here is one amazing dad’s experience…
- What was your birth experience like? (Your thoughts at the time, feelings, what you observed, etc)
The birth experience was overwhelming. I found myself more concerned with my wife’s well-being than the baby. Leading up to the big day you just hope and pray the baby is healthy but then when it’s go time and you wife is about to enter major surgery things chance and now it’s “just let my wife be safe.” I was nervous, anxious and super excited to be welcoming our newborn. For us the gender was still unknown which also added another level of anticipation the whole time!
2. What about having a newborn was easier than you thought? Harder?
I always feared holding the baby. I know it sounds silly but that was a big concern of mine leading up to his birth. All that was thrown away the first moment I had to feed him a bottle in the nursery. Instincts just kick in and you do what you got to do. Hunter was born 4.8 lbs so I had to get over the fear real quick and hold this little man and when I did I felt like he’d been in my arms forever. The harder part was deciphering through all the solicited and unsolicited advice and guidance from friends, family, doctors, nurses, and specialists. Also learning to sleep with a newborn the first few nights in hospital was no easy task. You just worry to take your eyes off him for a second.
3. How are you practicing self-care with a newborn? (Something you do just for you)
**Dad had no answer for this. So I have to insist- PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU PRACTICE SELF-CARE. We love that partners care so much for mom and baby, but it is so important to take care of yourself too. Carve time into your busy schedule to do something you love. As I always tell moms- you can’t give from an empty cup. You need to recharge, reboot, and not lose yourself. ***
4. How are you supporting your partner during the Fourth Trimester (first 3 months after birth)?
Danielle and I are a team and we discuss and strategize everything. We plan meals in advance, shifts for the baby through the night and try to help each other the best we can around the house and with work. She works from home so I try to make it as comfortable as possible for her before leaving for work myself. Walk the dog, make coffee and breakfast, set her up best I can.
5. What surprised you about pregnancy, birth, and babies?
Every day is a surprise! I was surprised at how fast Danielle was back up and running after her surgery. I know that’s not an easy task most of the time. I was surprised how fast the time in the hospital was and that they let us leave with such a tiny baby!
6. Any other thoughts you would like to share?
Everyone you talk to during your baby’s pregnancy tells you kids are the best thing that could happen to you. You don’t get it until it happens to you and now I get it.
7. What advice do you give to new fathers and soon-to-be fathers?
Welcome all the knowledge and research your wife will do about having the baby and raising it. Bring everything to the table and educate yourself. Doesn’t hurt to read a book or two yourself. At the end of the day make choices that are right for you and your partner – not what others want you to do but what works for you both. Oh and catch up on sleep!