It was around 2 am when the waters broke. My wife sounded the alarm and that was my call to action. My ‘early labour awareness training’ kicked in. I’d been waiting and ‘prepared’ for this moment and the time had come.
I was on the cusp of fatherhood. Yeah, baby. Bring it on!
(Actually, I was thinking not now, please).
It was all go. Mrs J was in a dash to find maternity towels while I was just trying to find the light switch.
That was the first challenge.
I had a job to do…
Something was happening inside her body which I couldn’t explain.
Our midwife would be able to. The teacher at our antenatal class would be able to. Damn it, a lot of the guys in the antenatal class would be able to.
Come to think if it, those hipster dads were really good. It’s like they dabbled in obstetrics for fun when not making homemade cots from recycled wood or crocheting baby blankets. And they’d boast of their powerful back massages for their pregnant partners. Damn it. They were baby ready and knew it.
But that’s not important right now. It was 2 am. Mrs J was crouching in a dark corner of the room and did I mention, her waters had broken?
I had a job to do.
And it was serious because I heard the word ‘messy’. We were both worried about the carpet, which goes to show how seriously we take the carpet.
And then in a flash, I remembered the TV series, ‘Call the Midwife’. Mrs J loved it. And that’s what I was meant to do, call the midwife. How inspired, and that wasn’t even written in the birth plan!
I duly did and uttered these words, ‘my wife’s waters have broken, you oughta talk to her. In fact, she’s right here. Dear? It’s the midwife.’
In these situations, you need to take charge. Be the man, call the midwife.
Meanwhile, I started running in all directions grabbing whatever could be helpful. Towels mostly.
It’s the same kind of feeling of panic, I’d expect when grabbing stuff to escape from a burning building.
I knew a hospital visit was on the cards (gosh, how I hate hospitals). And sure enough, because of particular circumstances, we were advised to come in right away.
A very steep curve…
That’s how it began, the steepest learning curve of our lives. No number of classes, helpful though they are, prepare you for the challenges lying ahead.
And it was then I felt a hard truth. I realised I was consciously incompetent about being a daddy.
‘Dear God’, I asked, ‘do you seriously think I can do this?’ ‘I don’t know if I can. What do I know?’
It was around 2.15am now and I was frantically looking for the pre-packed hospital bags. The ones which were sitting right in front of me ready for the last three weeks. And yet I still couldn’t see them.
According to psychologists, that’s the second stage of learning (the first is unconscious incompetence) and it sums up my state of mind right now.
The birthing begins…
Fast forward 24 hours and we’re in our own delivery room at the hospital. For the first time, I feel a little calm. You know it’s not bad here. Kind of like a medicalised hotel suite.
I felt comfortable enough to rummage around the room to see if there was a mini bar, but alas not here. But ‘it wasn’t all about me’, I smiled benignly, this was all about supporting the mother to be.
For the uninitiated, labour is tough. Really tough. Seeing active labour reminded me of an extreme spinning workout on an exercycle. The intervals between the contractions get shorter and shorter while the tough personal trainer (in this case me) getting my poor Mrs J to ‘push it!’ ‘More!’ ‘One more!’ ‘Just one more!’ And all this for around 3 hours.
I’m astounded she put up with me.
For the record, we’re still married.
At this point in the delivery, dear reader, I feel I should drop a veil. Not all deliveries are neat and tidy. Most aren’t.
The veil has dropped.
Time then for some spiritual reflection.
A newborn miracle…
What is a newborn, if not a miracle? Many new Fathers liken the birth of their child to a spiritual experience.
Why? Because it demands of us deeper questions of purpose, meaning and responsibility. So would that be the same for me?
As a Christian, I’m already there when it comes to meaning and purpose but there’s one thing that really blows me away. Even though I feel consciously incompetent about being a daddy, God says ‘yes’ to me, ‘you can do it’.
And it’s not just me. He has given all humanity the opportunity to create new life and bring goodness into the world.
This is astonishing. God loves us as a heavenly father, so we can love as parents, family, friends.
He trusts us to do it.
That’s why I believe in ‘original blessing’ as much as I lament humanity’s ‘original sin’ (we all know humans are capable of unspeakable horrors).
Despite this, and from the very beginning, God saw that creating humans was good, very good.
‘So God made mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’….’And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1:27,31.
We were created to be God’s image bearers, in amongst the pain and suffering of the world.
The veil has lifted.
A new beginning.
After a long and difficult night, a dawn of light broke through the hours of trial and travail.
At 7.20am, she arrived.
The Dr raised her up for all to see, naked, cold, coughing up her first cry she embodies life itself; beautiful but fragile.
Julia was placed gently on the belly from whence she came.
With Mum, Dad and baby together for the first time. A holy moment of unity.
My wife, calm and tranquil, her smile was the one that only a new Mum can bring.
I was just weeping. Overcome at the enormity of the moment I recognised the likeness of me in my little one’s tiny, vulnerable face.
I held her in my arms and felt the spark of a Father’s love ignite. The love that will never go out for the rest of my life.
Being a daddy, I believe I can do this now.
Because I know that love very well. I carry its image from above.
And so do you.
If you’d like to discover your unique life calling, download my free e-guide here.
Jeremy – Not Only Sundays (About Us).
© Not Only Sundays, October 2018. Images CC0 Public Domain – sourced on pixabay.com under a creative commons licence CC.