When I talk to other moms about the moment their babies started crowning, the general consensus of the entire experience is "really intense and not super pleasant." But looking back, I realize that none of the women I had talked to discussed any of the visuals, which makes sense: most women birth in a position that doesn't really afford you a view. Then I realized, if I wanted to get insight as to what it looks like, I'd have to ask not the moms, but their partners. So I asked dads to describe watching their baby crown.
I reached out to my guy friends and some of my friends' partners to see what they thought. Initially a lot of them thought I was just discussing watching them give birth and they had a lot of poetic things to say. But when I clarified and explained, thoroughly, that, "No, I mean specifically what was it like to see your baby crowning," most of them got decidedly less poetic. Not less reverent (well, for the most part: one of the guys compared crowning to a hot dog eating contest... you'll see) but talking about crowning seemed to force them to consider birth from a physical standpoint as opposed to thinking of birth as a huge emotional event or important milestone.
In so many words, crowning was described as as a force of nature. Their responses were absolutely emotional (or could be... yes, even Paul, who, once again likened it to a hot dog eating contest) but rooted very much in birth as a physical event. As they say on Law and Order: these are their stories: