On the other side of the waiting area, another family waited for their flight. Mom held the baby while Dad chased their daughter, trying to tire her out before their flight. When he chased her back to Mom, he too caught a wiff, reached into his backpack and pulled out a Ziplock bag with diapers and wipes. “Duuuude, that’s a stinker,” he said as he took his baby from Mom’s arms and headed off to change the diaper. Give this dad extra points for having his own diaper stash in his backpack. Most guys depend on Mom to carry supplies.
Two dads in the delivery room
One rubbed his wife’s back, wiped her brow, matched her breathing, walked the halls and was totally present hour after hour. The other dad caught up on his email, watched sports on his iPad and occasionally looked up and said, “Good job, Honey. Don’t forget to breathe.” The woman’s mother did the rubbing, brow wiping and walking. Her husband didn’t even get in the game when his baby was being born. I’m glad this mother had someone by her side but I felt sorry for the dad. Unlike the father who labored with his wife contraction after contraction and cried, whooped and hollered when his son was born, the other dad was barely present and didn’t seem particularly impressed by his daughter’s birth.
Maybe it’s just a personality thing. Maybe he just keeps his feelings to himself. I wondered though, is this the way he’ll be as a father – more of a spectator in his children’s lives than a parenting partner? I hope not, because the dads who are totally involved with backpacks full of diapers are the ones who make the most positive impacts on their children’s lives. They’re also the ones most deeply affected by their children and not one of those fathers regrets that for a moment. The ones who aren’t really there, either physically or mentally –they totally miss out on one of the best parts of living – Being a dad.
Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and children. And co-author of, The Complete Illustrated Birthing Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Best Birthing Plan for a Safe, Less Painful, and Successful Delivery for You and Your Baby. Got a question for Jeanne? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future blog post.
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