On fatherhood (by )

The role of the father in pregnancy and childbirth is often misunderstood. It's easy to imagine that we have it easy - the conception is a hard six hours' work, sure, and then after nine months you have an extra mouth to feed; but nothing compared to pregnancy and childbirth, right?

But there's a little more to it than that.

The thing I've found hardest, to be honest, is feeling powerless. I can carry Sarah's bags, and help her get in and out of the car, and so on, but I have to just stand there looking awkward as she winces in pain at every step. It was at its worst in the delivery room, when Jean was being born; I had been keeping myself going with Optimism and Enthusiasm as Sarah's condition declined and the number of tubes and wires connected to her rose, right up to the point when the medical stuff had a worried conversation with each other and started bringing in extra trollies full of equipment. The sight of the "crash cart" laden with defibrillator and its breathing-bag thing with a set of individually wrapped sterile airways, and a cart with surgical instruments, finally brought it home that they were seriously concerned that Sarah's heart would fail under the strain. They told me that if she died, they would try and save the baby. And all I could do was stand and wait and try not to get in the way.

Once Jean was out, it was great - I could hold her, and change nappies, and take the strain off of Sarah whiled looking after her recovery. That was far easier than just having to stand and watch.

Tomorrow at 8am we have to report to the hospital, where Jean's sibling will be extracted by planned Caesarian section. Again, I'm feeling the powerlessness... I'm rushing around getting everything ready, and making Sarah a nice meal of whatever she wants before she has to go on Nil By Mouth in preparation for the surgery, and laying out everything needed for Sarah's parents to look after Jean; ticking the last things off of lists, checking and cross-checking preparations. I'm surrounding myself in hyperactivity, because I know there's not actually all that much more I can do that will actually make a difference.


  • By sarah, Thu 27th Jan 2011 @ 9:49 pm

    I love you - you've ended having to be more like mother and father as well as carer in this pregnancy whilst holding down your job and cubs.

    Big hugs.

  • By Jasper, Fri 28th Jan 2011 @ 12:22 am

    Good luck to you both, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

  • By Mark, Tue 1st Feb 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    6 hours "hard work" for the conception?! oh my! Congratulations to you all though!

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