Well, you did it! Can you believe it? Can you believe that there is a little human (or two...or three!) on this planet who gets to call you "Dad"? That you know how to change a diaper with one hand, while reaching for a wet wipe with the other? That you can swaddle a flailing baby in 5 seconds flat? That you can survive on 3 hours of sleep? That you can clam a baby who has been fed, changed and is fussing for absolutely no apparent reason? Can you believe how much love you have for your wife? For your child? How much harder and richer your life has become since the BIG DAY?
You see, from the first time I met you, I knew you had it in you.
I remember how you looked that day as we sat in your living room (or coffee shop). I could feel how badly you wanted to support your beautiful partner during birth, but you just didn't have a clue what that would look like. The more we talked about birth and what to expect, I first saw you get really nervous... you had NO IDEA it would entail all of THAT! But as we went on, I watched as you settled into and even welcomed this new role. You began to picture yourself loving and supporting your partner through contractions. You began to imagine yourself as a father. You thought about what kind of dad you wanted to be... and not be. You began to realize what this journey would require from you, and you met it with confidence and courage. You began to trust yourself.
Then the big day arrived. The look on your face when I walked in was a mixture of excitement, exhaustion, and total relief. I took in the energy of the room, sensing how the new mom was doing, and with one look, you and I connected. We spoke in hushed tones, glances and gestures for the duration of the birth. We ferried water and snacks, took turns replacing the cool cloth, rocked the peanut ball, squeezed her hips, and murmured words of encouragement. You were a rock star that day.
Each birth I attend teaches me something, and you taught me about love. Love is being right there while your child is being born. It is taking a cat nap sitting upright in a hospital chair, so you can have some energy when the baby comes. It is standing next to the bath tub, spraying her back with the shower and not mentioning how cold you are because you, too are getting wet. It is stepping out of the room for a quick snack with out disturbing her, knowing that the smell of your burger will make her vomit. Love is telling her she's doing an amazing job, when deep down you aren't certain that what is happening is a completely normal part of labor. Love is watching her give birth, and not be able to take away the pain, or fix it. It is simply being by her side, holding her hand, and breathing with her.
I often think of your grounding presence in the birth room and I want to say thank you. Thank you for going along with your wife when she said she wanted to hire a doula. ( A doula? What the hell is a doula?!) Thank you for trusting me, and being candid and honest as you prepared for this unknown event. Thank you for letting me be a witness to one of the most important days of your life. Mostly, thank you for just being you. It is because of all of these things, that I know you are a great dad.
I will forever cherish the moment I looked over and saw you fall in love with your child (and your partner, all over again!). I am humbled and in awe because of the power of the Lord, the fullness of His strength and the covering of His grace. Thank you for sharing this moment with me.
Click here to read the Mom Version.
Dear Precious One,
The first time I met you, you had the beautiful glow of a woman, pregnant with child. Perhaps you adored begin pregnant, or maybe it was simply a means to an end, either way, you glowed. As you rubbed your belly, sitting across from me, we chatting about the kind of birth you envisioned, and I noticed a wistful look in your eye. You knew you were embarking on a journey from which you would never return the same. You had hope because of all the women who had traveled this path before you, and yet, there was trepidation and apprehension for what this path would require from you. Words were not possible to describe the place you stood, yet you stood on the threshold of becoming a mother with grace, honesty, and most importantly, courage.
Shortly after our first meeting, we began to walk together on your path, which was my path too, in that moment. You taught me innumerable things along the way, which I will forever be grateful. I learned how you wait with patience for the moment to begin. I learned how you laugh easily at the craziness that is 40+weeks pregnant. I learned how you looked fear in the eye, until it no longer held any power over you. I learned how you diligently prepared your body for birth. I learned how you read every thing you could possibly read, and then let it all go in order allow your birth to unfold as it was meant to. I learned how you opened yourself up to the mystery of birth, even if it was not what you hoped it would be. You, my dear, taught me about moxi and bravery, tenacity and resilience.
The day you crossed the threshold and were initiated into motherhood, I humbly stood in awe at your side. Thank you for allowing me the honor of being one of the first people in your world, to see your child. Your grit that day is something I will never forget. I will never forget the look on your face when you thought you couldn't go on... and then you did. I will never forget the look in your eye as you surprised even yourself with a determination you didn't know you had. I will cherish forever in my heart the moment I saw you fall in love with your baby. I am deeply grateful to bear witness to your transformation and "birth" as a mother.
When I look back on your birth, I am blessed to have witnessed the power of the Lord, the strength of His hand, and the covering of His mercy. Thank you for being so real with me. You are an amazing woman, a beautiful mother, and I am blessed to know you.
Click here to read the Dad Version.