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Monday, June 14, 2010

Doctors and Parents!

I am intruding on my son's space but this blog is the first amongst many things I intend to share with him.
There are countless books on parenting telling Mom's what they should do. Very few focusing on what the dad should do, or even feel. 
Numerous books on what to expect, what Mom will be feeling, how to cope with those feelings, how its normal to be emotional etc etc.

Dad's are expected to wing it. Go to work, be the breadwinners, be practical, sensible anything but emotional. Well, we feel it too. Unfortunately, all those books on motherhood and babyhood are written by women. I suspect its because Dad's don't get the time to write or just can't get down to doing it (peer pressure??). Don't close this window just yet...I'm not about to write a book.

This is what I felt in the weeks leading up to the delivery.

When he kicked for the first time - Mom was elated. I felt joy. Immense joy. Not because he kicked. Because she was elated. At that time, he was still a foetus to me. Something I had studied in medical school. The kicking was something we took for granted because we saw pregnant women all the time. But my wife was glowing....and I felt Joy. Immense Joy.

When she started getting Braxton Hicks Contractions - Mom was elated and confused. She had tons of questions. It started to sink in. This was my child. Something I had helped make! My flesh, my blood, possible looks like me. We talked about the contractions. Explained to her it was normal. It's just your uterus getting ready. I am convinced it is an act of God, not to help the uterus get ready or the mother, but for the Dad to realise he's having a baby.

She gets backaches - She felt tired and hassled. It hurt! I said I know. I had no idea. It's impossible to know what kind of pain someone is in unless you've suffered it before. No matter how much you say you know. It was her uterus getting bigger and ready.

She dropped her mucous plug - I was the doctor that my brain is conditioned to be. "It's ok", I said. It's part of the process. I completely missed the fact that this was the first sign of progressing into labour. Of course, it takes days after this for labour to begin, but I am not a gynaec and I missed it. The dad in me began to stir.
I drove slower, much slower. I watched signals with more concentration than ever before. I chose roads according to her convenience. It should not hurt her back. No chances with traffic snarls and accidents. 

She was lying in pain when I got back - I realised this was labour. Dad had kicked in. Spoke to Mom. She was our gynaec. She's the quick thinker in the family. Said lets waste no time. We're off to the hospital. I remained calm. Medicine training kicked in involuntarily. Wife asked can you believe we're in labour. I said yes. It didn't register. She stayed at the hospital from then till delivery. I didn't. Mom did. She would decide progress. I wouldn't.
I went home that night and checked my emails. I had one saying June 20 is Father's day. I thought, "What shall we get dad for this one?"

Then it hit me. Smack in the face. By June 20, I too would be a father. My own child. That I had to care for and worry about. I don't usually worry about things. I'm cold like that. But I melted that night. I believed we were in labour. I understood that I was having a son. I knew that I would do anything for him to be born healthy. It kicked in. 

This was the first lesson my son taught me. Better than any book could ever explain! Better than any other parent could tell me what to feel. Better than my wife knowing before I did. My Son! 

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