A note to fathers.
"Wow! This is scary and exciting all at the same time!"
I can still remember screaming those words when I heard "the news" for the first time, 29 years ago! Even after all these years, I sense it's still pretty much the same for all fathers. No matter how familiar and normal having a baby can seem to be, there are unpredictable emotions of every kind that get stirred up in all of us!
Over the years, I have learned a lot that has helped me connect well with expectant fathers. Fathers are often left out of the "expecting" part, which is attributed only to the mom. That is a shame, because we are just as expectant as everyone else.
And that is the first thing I learned: we can be just as excited, energized, scared, and nervous as mom! It's what we DO with the sea of emotions we are feeling that matters the most. The way we channel them will play a HUGE role in determining not only our birth experience, but the experience of the ones we love as well.
This is where our manhood can kick in big time. We can ask good questions, learn as much as we can, and stay involved all the way to and beyond the birth. We can voice our concerns in a positive, collaborative way, making the pregnancy a time of "us" instead of "you".
I have seen time and again the strong correlation between involved, supportive fathers and positive pregnancy experiences for families. Not just for mom, but for other family members as well. Because when we step openly into such an unfamiliar place as the birth experience, it shows our true heart and true strength, which can give great hope and security to others in our world.
SOOO...go for it! Take deep breaths, talk to yourself REAL loud, scream into a pillow, let all of your heart, mind, and soul get involved in the most amazing, fascinating, miraculous journey you will ever have the honor to be a part of in your life.
Richard Oxenham, father of 3-including one home birth.