Most of the time when a woman gets pregnant, it’s an emotional experience that is built upon a lifetime of dreams she’s had about that moment. The same thing happens when she’s giving birth. She’s thought about this day her whole life. She’s prepared for it along the way, taking in tidbits of advice from mom friends and relishing in every episode of A Baby Story. For dads, it’s a whole other ball game.
Men don’t generally grow up fantasizing about the day they become a father. In fact, most of the time, they’re trying to avoid it. They aren’t ready for the responsibility until they meet the person they want to share that responsibility with. So, the experience of pregnancy and birth aren’t as well thought-out for them. For that reason, they’re still processing a lot of what’s going on as it’s happening.
Notably, men are not flocking to Facebook groups and reading tons of books on labor and delivery. They are not well-versed on topics like the fetal ejection reflex, Pitocin augmentation or membrane sweeps. Men are not detail-oriented like women are. For this reason, birth is a very surprising event for them. Much of it is full of things they never saw coming, and it can be quite shocking to learn what their internal thought process is going through it.
15 Ten Centimeters Used To Seem Small
Brett wasn’t at all prepared for what he was going to see when he looked down yonder during the birth of his first child with his wife. He recalls staring and wonders what his face looked like at the time and whether or not his wife caught a glimpse of it in all her discomfort.
“No one really prepared me for just how large my wife’s nether regions would have to stretch open for a baby to come out. I’d heard about women tearing, and that made sense to me honestly, because how could the baby come out and everything remain intact?”
Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon thought process for most men. They aren’t frequenting birthing boards and asking their female friends about their birth experiences. They know no better, and we have to cut them some slack — and keep on spreading information.
14 She Never Did 'That' In Front Of Me
Chris wasn’t the first father that experienced this. Hey, some couples are really close. They drop deuces in front of each other like it’s nothing and they’re comfortable with that. For the majority of couples, this isn’t the case. Heck, a lot of women refuse to even acknowledge that they go number two or that it smells. For these women, pooping during labor is often the number one concern on their mind during pregnancy.
Chris shared, “My girlfriend and I have always been pretty open about bodily functions. Masturbation isn’t off limits. We pee in front of each other. But she’s never been that chick that does that in front of me, until we had a baby. We both laugh about it now, but I was definitely not ready for a turd to slip out while anxiously awaiting the birth of our baby!”
13 Hello There, Intestines
“My wife had to have a C-section, and looking back, I’m not sure how I didn’t throw up all over that sterile room,” Matt shared. “We went to the hospital that night expecting to have the same birth everyone else seems to have, but some complications crept up on us and before I knew it, the most important people in my life were being whisked away to surgery.”
“I was allowed to be there with her, but I now totally understand why men used to be kept out of the delivery room. I went to the classes with my wife and I was ready for a baby to come out of her, but not like that! It really did seem like a small cut at first, but then I saw some of her organs being picked up and shifted out of the way. They were actually somewhat outside of her body. She hopes to have a vaginal birth next time, and I hope so, too, because I don’t know if I can see that again and stay standing.”
12 Marathon Man
Rick shared, “During our childbirth class at the hospital, they told us some moms who are having their first babies may be in labor for longer than a day. I thought that was crazy, but also assumed it was rare. I guess not, because it happened to us. My wife was in labor for several days and the contractions were quite painful for her. It always seems to happen so fast on TV. Now I understand what she means about society’s views of pregnancy and how inaccurate they are in the media.”
Some mothers will struggle with prodromal labor for weeks before they actually go into active labor. At that point, most first-time moms will deliver within 6.5 hours, but some may take up to 18 or more. It’s true what they say, labor is no sprint for the majority of us. Just don’t tell that to the women who give birth so quickly it happens on the roadside.
11 I Can Breathe Now
“I was pretty much holding my breath for nine months,” Christopher shared. “We’d had a couple miscarriages, and I knew that it could happen again. When we made it through the first trimester, I thought I would feel better, but it’s like I always kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Finally, when she was born, I felt like I could breathe again.”
This isn’t uncommon for moms or dads. Even if one hasn’t suffered through losses in the past, we tend to be creatures that dwell on the negatives. There are so many labels, diagnoses and traumas that can happen to a pregnant woman nowadays that we sort of force the worry upon expectant parents that they won’t be able to get out of pregnancy unscathed. Rest assured, it happens all the time.
10 Stretched Too Thin - Literally
“I don’t blame my wife, but she never told me that some women experience tearing during labor. I thought everything just magically stretched the way it was supposed to and then somehow went back over time. I assumed I wouldn’t be seeing any part of her body down there during the recovery period, and that was just fine with me.”
“Then she came to me a few days after she had the baby with pain down there, and I had to look to give her a second opinion. I must’ve been head over heels for the baby I was holding when they stitched her up, because I had no idea I was about to lay eyes on what we now call Frankenp*ssy,” Andrew said.
Yes, dads, we go through a lot to get those babies into your manly arms. Think you could hack it? Being literally ripped from one hole to the other whilst already in the most intense period of pain you’ve ever felt in your life? Damn straight it hurts.
9 So Helpless
Some men get nervous as labor approaches. They don’t want to fail their wives during one of the most difficult trials of their life. They want to be the support person she needs, and they worry that she may turn into some alter ego of herself during labor that they don’t know how to help. They often don’t realize until in the thick of it just how much it bothers them that their Mrs is hurting.
Jayvon shared, “My wife had a very long labor, and it was hard on both of us. I have never felt so much sorrow and helplessness. Every now and then, I would think to myself that I did this to her. I had to remind myself that that wasn’t the time to be thinking about me or getting down on myself. She needed me, but it felt a little strange that I was there to bolster her during this intense pain that I helped to create and none of the suffering fell on my shoulders.”
8 Exhausting Is An Understatement
Grant shared, “I guess I never thought about what I would really be doing during delivery. I mean, I’d never done it before. I figured I’d be the dutiful husband and rub her back and let her claw her nails into me if she needed to. I pictured it with her flipping out and me being the calm voice in the room. That’s not really how it went down.”
“She was in pain, and I was in pain for her. When she held her breath, I probably should’ve been reminding her to breathe, but I kept holding my breath, too. When she panted, I noticed myself panting lightly alongside her. When she threw up… ok, no, I didn’t throw up, but you get my drift.”
Many dads are unprepared for what labor is really like. They expect something along the lines of what they’ve seen in the movies, and the real thing is the furthest thing from it. Expect to tense up when she does. Remain vigilant of your behavior and your body so that you can also remain vigilant of hers.
7 Oooh, That Smell!
“I can’t believe I’m divulging this, because I vowed to never talk about it again. I told my wife a few months after our son’s birth that the delivery room smelled kind of funky during labor. She seemed to take offense to this, as though I was blaming her and her vagina! I’ve been around a few vaginas. It didn’t smell like that.”
“It was a different smell, and not all that pleasant. I guess the waters could’ve smelled? I’m not sure. I just know it was potent and I have no idea how she didn’t smell it. I guess she was busy. Oh, please keep this anonymous.”
Anonymous Dad, we hear you loud and clear. Many men are reading this right now and nodding their heads in agreement. Birth can indeed smell pretty funky, but I agree with your wife. She didn’t need to know that during the most difficult and beautiful moment of her life, you were being a total dude and wondering what smelled like farts.
6 It Was A Bloodbath
Daniel was pretty sure his fiancée was going to have an uneventful birth. He didn’t expect any complications given that her entire pregnancy had been easy breezy. That really suited her personality, too. So, imagine his surprise when she started to completely unravel as complications set in.
He shared, “She got the birth she desired, and I was happy for her. The baby was fine. Apgar was great. Then the doctor said she was losing too much blood. That’s when my attention jumped from the baby back to Mom. I was horrified at the amount of blood I saw the nurses cleaning up as the doctor continued to do sutures. No one told me that could happen. For a moment, I thought I might lose her.”
5 My Wife Yelled At Me
Silly men. They seem to assume that birth is just like it happens on TV. Yet, they don’t think for one second that their wife will be that wife. You know, the one who is screaming at the top of her lungs that he better never effing touch her again. Yeah, Steven learned the hard way.
He shared, “When my wife was pregnant with our second, it was a special time for us because I had been deployed during her delivery with our son. This time, we were letting the gender be a surprise and were so happy that I would be around for the birth. My wife isn’t a yeller. She rarely uses cuss words and doesn’t like to draw attention to herself. But during labor, it’s like she became someone else. I heard more expletives that day than any day I’ve spent in the Navy. I’d be lying if I said I’m not worried about the next time.”
4 The Doctor Was A D-Bag
"When my wife was pregnant, her doctor’s office had several doctors that worked there. They took turns seeing her as a patient. There were only two she didn’t really care for, and of course, one of them was the doctor on call the day she went into labor. So be it. I thought maybe she was being a little dramatic about how awful this guy was, but I was wrong."
This daddy shared, “from the very start of us checking into the hospital, he was telling my wife that she should’ve come in sooner, but she made it clear that she wanted to stay home as long as she could. He implied that she may have came in too late, but then started complaining that she wasn’t getting the goal line as quickly as he wanted to see. He suggested a drug to help bring on stronger contractions. She seemed to know there were risks to using that drug and said no.”
“From that point on, he argued with nearly every aspect of my wife’s birth plan and even walked out of the room when she was pushing as though he had somewhere better to be. She’s planning a birth center experience with a midwife next time because of that dude.”
3 My Little Girl Looked Like A Booger
For around 1 in every 80,000 babies, they are born en caul. This means the bag of waters never broke and they are delivered intact. So, the baby comes out sort of looking like a boy in a bubble — or a girl, whatever suits. When Bo’s wife had their son, that was the last thing he was expecting.
He shared, “Honestly, I thought that her water would break first for the longest time. I don’t know why, that’s just what I thought. She told me that doesn’t always happen and that contractions would probably start and her water would likely break sometime during labor. So, I waited for that. When labor really picked up and got tough, I guess I forgot about her water breaking, because I didn’t seem to notice that it hadn’t. Then the baby was crowning and the nurse made a remark about how cool it was to be there for a birth with the waters intact. I will never forget what that looked like.”
2 That Cord Went On For Miles
Doug shared, “My wife sort of told me I was going to be the one to cut the umbilical cord. Fine by me. I looked forward to fulfilling my role as Dad and doing all the things that came with it. When the baby was born, they put him on my wife’s stomach while they suctioned out his nose and mouth. I think I started to get a little nervous about my role in this at that point. I wondered if there was any way he would feel the cord being cut. It seems dumb now, but I did at that time, and I didn’t want to ask anyone and ruin the bonding experience we were all having.”
“Looking back, I was seriously stunned at just how long that thing was. I waited there just waiting for my cue to cut and started to marvel at the size of that thing and wonder where along it I was supposed to cut. We waited for all of the blood to drain out of it, so I was waiting a while. I swear it was three feet long!”
1 How It Felt To Become A Father
Seth shared, “I wasn’t at all prepared for the kind of emotions that were going to come over me the moment I became a Dad. I am not the crying type. No one had died, and here I was sobbing over top the most beautiful little girl anyone had ever laid eyes on. She was ours’! We got to keep her! All I could think was wow, what just happened?”
There’s nothing more joyous for a mother or father than the moment their little one finally enters the world. No matter how it happens, we are overcome with emotions that we can’t even put into words. In those sweet, early moments with our babies, words aren’t strong enough to describe what we are feeling. Relish it. It goes so very fast, folks.
Sources: NPR.org, CafeMom.com