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:
"It was more disorganized and scary than I had planned. I presumed that because it was in a hospital that everything would be straightforward, but it was utter chaos."
"It made me so proud of her, she just excelled. She was powerful and strong. She blew me away."
"It was out of this world! The experience changed my relationship with both my new baby and my wife. I was in awe of her."
"I know it's all supposed to be rainbows but, honestly, it was so gross. There was blood and poop and she burst a blood vessel in her eye from pushing. It was just way too real for me. I felt like I needed therapy afterwards."
"I wasn't meant to be there. My partner and I had broken up before the baby's birth but I happened to be moving some of my stuff when she went into labor. I might not love her anymore but what she did that day was phenomenal. She is a queen."
"I was terrified. I felt out of control, useless, and like I couldn't help her at all. It took me a while to get over it."
"I don't usually cry very much, but I was so choked up when my child was born. It was so beautiful."
"My wife is a quiet woman. Her strength was amazing, as she never cried out she just rocked and moaned. I held her hand and whispered to her. She is an exceptional woman. The whole experience was beautiful."
"It was hard to watch her in so much pain. She was scared and I couldn't do anything. I felt like I was in the way, so when the baby came it was a relief."
"The actual birth was surreal. The way everything opened up, it was weird and gross and amazing all at the same time. The body is a pretty [incredible] machine."