What Every Expecting Dad Needs To Know


 



Midwifery Today Magazine Article
Midwifery Today is the national publication for Midwives
This article was written by Tim Patrick about his maternity experience

As Featured On Ezine Articles

Becoming A Family Before Your Baby Is Born
A Father's Metamorphosis
by Tim Patrick

It was a warm Southern California summer evening and my wife Marianne and I were on our way to a concert. We hadn't driven a mile before she said my cologne was making her nauseous. In jest, I said, ''It's one of your favorites...you must be pregnant. Well...little did I know! The next day my beeper went off, and when I phoned Marianne, I learned the great news that we were having our first baby! 

We had discussed having a baby within the next couple of years, and had even chosen the names Sean and Jennifer. Without warning, with one phone call, the thought of becoming parents had become a reality. It's difficult to express the feelings I had driving home that night. My mind was racing with anticipation. I couldn't wait to see Marianne, and I couldn't believe that I was going to be a father. Proud as a peacock, with a smile and uncontrollable joy, I bought her a dozen roses, six pink and six yellow (the store didn't have any blue!).
 
The weeks and months passed, and our lives centered around the little life growing inside of Marianne. I soon realized that our unborn child was not alone in its metamorphosis, for we went through a major one of our own. Marianne was digesting information from every book, article and program she could find. I was in awe of her thirst for knowledge. I began to feel somewhat alienated because the more time Marianne spent reading, the less time she spent with me.
 
Our lives had changed. Part of me felt left out, while the other part of me admired her fervent desire to do everything right for our baby. After all, I couldn't possibly have the same feelings she was having...she had another heart beating beside her own. I realized that the girl I had married 10 years earlier was becoming a woman who would share her love as a mother. I must admit, that idea was a little threatening, especially when accompanied by her hormonal mood swings. Yet, at the same time, it was like watching a flower bloom before my eyes. Although Marianne was feeling fat and unattractive, I saw her in a totally different light. She was beautiful to me and I loved her in a new and deeper way. But I still felt like I was on the outside looking in, and my desire to figure out a way to become more involved grew.

In Marianne's sixth month, I saw a news segment about prenatal enhancement and communicating with the baby before birth. I requested. an information packet. When I received it, an article from Omni magazine caught my eye. It featured Dr. Rene Van de Carr, an obstetrician, who effectively taught couples how to communicate with their babies before birth using various techniques and exercises. Finally, it was my turn to study, which I did with a passion.

Marianne and I began using many of Dr. Van de Carr's exercises, some of which included musical notes and responding to the baby every time it kicked.  Every morning and evening, we spent about 15 minutes talking to Jennifer (although we didn't know the gender, both of us had dreamed about having a girl). We also patted Marianne's belly every time the baby kicked. In the ninth month, I tapped once, and Jennifer kicked once...twice, and she kicked twice...She got up to three! I was communicating with our child, and we were bonding together as a family. At last, I felt like I was a real part of Marianne's pregnancy.

After months of preparation and anticipation, Marianne went into labor. We were about to become parents. Her labor was a long one, nearly 24 hours before I witnessed the crowning of our baby's head. Marianne mustered all of the strength she had left, and with her eyes tightly shut and her fists and teeth clenched, I watched the determination of a warrior as she prepared for the final push. Totally exhausted, with a muffled grunt, she pushed with all of her might and the baby's head was completely out! With the gentle sound of violins playing softly in the background, Jennifer, our daughter and daddy's little girl, was born. I took Marianne's hand in mind and kissed her. When the doctor held Jennifer up, I started the videotape and said, "Hello, Jennifer, it's nice to finally meet you." It was like meeting a long lost friend. Her eyes and hands were open and she turned her head toward my voice. In my heart, I know she recognized it. After all, I had been talking to her every day for three months. I will take that moment with me into eternity.

Expectant fathers now have the opportunity to enhance an established miracle...the birth of their child. I believe that all fathers should experience interaction and communication with their wives and babies before birth and be actively involved during the maternity and birth experience. This will build a solid foundation for infancy and beyond.
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