Birth is a phenomenal event. It transforms a woman into a mother, highlights how incredible our bodies can be, and is truly empowering. The experience of childbirth, however, can be a little terrifying. So it's no surprise that simply observing a birth can be an emotional experience, too, and especially if the person giving birth is your partner and the person being born is your child. So I asked some dads to describe what it felt like to watch their partner labor and deliver a baby and, well, their answers proved that labor and delivery is an intense, life-changing experience for all involved.
My partner was there through many hours of my grueling labor. He held my hand and rubbed my back, and was in charge of driving everyone to the hospital and remembering the bags we had packed in preparation for our baby's arrival. However, just before the finale he came down with a debilitating migraine and was sent home by the doctor.
I know that he regrets not being there the moment our son was born, even though he had no control over the event. However, watching your child enter the world isn't always as magical as most would-be spectators imagine. After all, birth is unpredictable and scary things can happen. That's not including all the normal but unpleasant things that go along with bringing another human being into the world. In fact, French Obstetrician Michel Odent, who claims a father's presence can actually slow down labor and make a laboring woman feel self conscious, suggests that partners shouldn't be in the labor and delivery room at all.
However, and regardless of what Odent suggests, the following fathers were there when their pregnant partners brought their babies into the world and, well, they have some feelings about it: