Fathers-to-be, imagine all the love in the universe compressed into an object the size of a football. Imagine yourself holding this football to your chest while you’re lying in bed. Imagine the mother of this football lying next to you with a dreamy look in her eyes. Imagine it’s the middle of the night, too, because that’s when these footballs tend to appear.
This football is your newly born child. It weighs very little but seems as if it could crush you in an instant. You are awestruck from having witnessed its arrival into the world. The event took hours, involved a lot of screaming and blood, and left the mother exhausted. You might have broken a sweat and would be in a state of nirvana now but for one nagging thought: You got off easy. And you’re right. But that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying what may be the best time of your life.
Before you reach this moment of birth there is much to do. As with a football game, a birth requires many different roles. Which will you play? If you instinctively picked coach, congratulations—you are a typical man. In truth, the expecting mother plays this role, as well playing center, quarterback and receiver. She is also the stadium, the fans, team management and the sports media. What’s left? By this point you’ve contributed exactly one sperm that you probably didn’t miss, so you get the remaining jobs of cheerleader, snack vendor and janitor. Your mission–to be perky, be prepared and be unpretentious.
If perkiness doesn’t come to you naturally, think of it as another way of seeming tough. Showing your lack of fear in a bright and bouncy manner may feel awkward but the mother of your child requires that you at least try. If you need inspiration force yourself to watch an episode of “Barney the Dinosaur.” You may have always wanted to punch the cheesy purple monster in the nose, but thanks to your little sperm donation you and he are now in the same business.
Being prepared should come easy for the mission-oriented male. Some tips if you’re going to a hospital: Pack ample food and water for yourself because you may not leave the building for days. You may be running on adrenaline for much of the experience so remember to eat the food you pack and stay hydrated. What food, if any, to bring for the mother should be decided in conjunction with your doctor and/or doula. After delivering the mother will be given a room in which to recuperate for at least a day or two. The room may be shockingly cold and short on bedding so bring blankets. And if she doesn’t think of it herself, surprise the mother by secretly packing her favorite pillow from home and score the equivalent of a two-point conversion.
As for being the unpretentious janitor, if this role seems beneath you, consider that until you’ve changed your child’s first diaper you haven’t even reached this level. Society heaps respect on fathers, but as a father-to-be, few people care how you feel or what you may be worried about. You are fine with this because you know you’ll be getting off easy on game day.
Image Credit: Janice Fransisco