This penultimate #fathersdaymonth post comes from Stuart at @mvd_stuart. For those of you who dont know, he is one half of the dynamic duo that make up www.mummyvsdaddy.com
With his wife @mvd_sarah they run a brilliant and innovative blog that provides a space for the often contradictory (and sometimes agreeable) mix of opinions between a mother and father which make up the rich tapestry of parenthood.
If you need any more convincing, they were also BiBs finalists this year. Go check their blog site out and follow them on Twitter.
I particularly like this #fathersdaymonth post because it is utterly tragic and brutally honest. And yet somehow, Stuart manages to work a thread of mischievous humour throughout. For this alone it’s a brilliant post.
Before meeting my wife Sarah, I had never imagined that some day I would become a father. I was a lazy, childish and slightly mental teenager who at the time found kids nothing more than irritating.
Having children of my own was ‘never’ on my life’s agenda and for me nobody was going to change that. But apparently things do change.
I was 23 years old when I learned that I was to be a Daddy for the first time. Despite my reservations from years gone by, I was ready to step-up for what was to be my little girl – but other plans were made for her.
My first experience of a hospital delivery suite was the 13 hours 50 minutes delivery of my daughter, with my wife and I knowing we would be leaving the hospital empty handed.
On April 24th 2006 my first child Ryleigh Jayne was born sleeping, and to my shame on that day I made the horrendous choice to not look, and to not hold my daughter before she was taken from my life forever.
To this day I consider myself a bad father because of my decision that day. I may try my best for the children I have with me now.
But the fact remains the first thing I ever did as a Father was turn my back on my daughter.
Of course I wanted to see and hold her, but I did not have the courage or strength to do it. I will forever be disgusted with myself.
Ryleigh was delivered at 4 months gestation, after being given just a 5% chance of reaching full-term but then a 0% chance of survival at birth. Before our daughter began suffering we had to do what was right for her, as heart-breaking as it was and will forever be.
Ryleigh had Cystic Hygroma with Fetal Hydrops, and Turners Syndrome.
She will of course always be my first child.
Needless to say the issues we had with Ryleigh made the next pregnancy with our daughter Rhianna all the more stressful. Both me and my wife were always worrying that something may again go wrong. Instead of looking forward to every ultrasound scan, we feared them, as it was an ultrasound which first revealed Ryleigh’s problems.
In the latter stages of the pregnancy with Rhianna she was measuring quite small, which added to our fear that perhaps something wasn’t right – but thankfully our fears were without foundation.
First impressions of the delivery suite this time around were completely different. This time I didn’t arrive knowing I would be leaving again without my child, although at the back of my mind, a little fear of that remained. I was after all yet to be a Dad physically, so this was still all new to me.
I did my best to stay positive as it goes without saying Sarah had so much more to worry about. Yet I proved to be pretty useless to her.
It turns out that my usual cool, calm and collected nature didn’t apply within the walls of a hospital. The experience of child birth took me by surprise to say the least.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. As a man, by far the most common comment I see and hear about child birth is how lucky men are, and that I as a man could never imagine (or stand) the pain of giving birth. Of course the comments always come from women.
To those women my response is have you ever stopped for a second to imagine just how much more painful it would be for a man to give birth? Excuse my phrasing, but our holes are tighter than yours, so of course we consider ourselves lucky that giving birth isn’t our role. But rest assured we appreciate what you go through.
I must admit that I myself have in the past asked women if they know what a proper, full on kick in the nuts feels like and placed it arguably up there alongside child birth on the top shelf of painful experiences.
Although I have always said it in jest, but with a straight, dead-pan face giving the impression that i’m being serious. Just for my own entertainment, it never fails to get a reaction.
In reality the pain women bear during child birth is incredible without a doubt, and as the very proud Father of four (plus my angel Ryleigh) my wife has shown her strength time and time again, not that I have ever doubted her.
For the want of a better description she has seemingly breezed through each delivery and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
As for me though, and my role as her “birthing partner” I have been pretty useless and overwhelmed every single time which surprises me.
I am and have always been a super relaxed man, I take everything in my stride but upon arriving at the delivery suite I fall into a corner and have become almost invisible until it’s time to cut the cord. But I have always been there and at her beckoned call if ever she has needed or wanted me. So I did my bit, albeit a very small bit.
Do I feel I should have done more during the birth of my children? Most definitely.
Do I feel like my wife needed me? Honestly, no.
Because when she needed to be the one to take things in her stride she went head to head with that pain threshold and won comfortably
Although perhaps comfortably is the wrong word!
The whole experience of child birth from a Dad’s perspective was for me far less traumatising than I expected, but far more overwhelming if that makes any sense at all.
Before you become a Dad for the first time all you know is what you hear, or what you have been told by friends or family members who have children. And if the people you know are anything like my lot they will say just about anything to try to put you on edge.
If you are an expectant Dad I would advise against you reading any baby books or asking people what it’s like because there is no routine for child birth.
Your experience of it will be unique to you, so do whatever you can to enjoy and make the most of it because once that baby comes squeezing out (or sliding, depending on the size and shape of your partner) that’s it.
But you can forget about silence, and forget about doing things your way ever again!
Inside the delivery suite you will see your partner in a whole new way, however long you’ve known her. She will not only abuse you physically, but verbally too.
She will at times give the impression that you’re needed, but as soon as you step within reach she will be clawing at your arm like a f****d off raccoon. You will also hear all kinds of new sounds. Just pretend it’s aliens, it’s less scary that way.
And as for the smells… sorry ladies, there are new smells in there too – ask your partner and the look on his face will tell you that he wants to say yes, but is terrified of doing so.
Finally, I want to remind the dads out there that the delivery suite represents your last chance to prepare your partner for Motherhood. She may find these following things irritating at the time – but it’s for the best.
Firstly, do not be afraid to poop yourself and scream for some clean pants.
Secondly, if you feel a bit sick be sure to get some in her hair – she needs to learn to cope with this.
Lastly but not least, if you fancy a cuppa, and the midwife is refusing to make it because she’s delivering your baby, you are well within your rights to throw a tantrum.