Author: Chian Kee | Date: 16 November 2013 | Please Comment!

My son was born today.

Of course, that wasn’t the actual first step in this story, but it seems as good a place as any to start – not because nothing interesting happened prior to this point, but because this was the point when it fully dawned on me that all of the preparation and learning and general girding of loins that I had undertaken in the preceding months were going to be far less helpful than I thought.  I could have told you that beforehand, because most of the advice that I received was inconsistent with most of the other advice I received, but there’s something about the visceral feeling in your gut that you’re probably just going to have to wing this fatherhood thing that makes the intellectual realisation of it weeks earlier pale in comparison.

We had researched all of the various birthing skills and techniques and we had packed our bag full of half-baked distractions (like a collection of CDs without a CD player).  I was fully prepared for some pain-induced vocalisation, progression through the various positions and exercises of active birthing and I was even prepared to have my hand squeezed during contractions despite the difficulties that stress fractures would cause when later on diaper duty.

None of this prepared me for the sight of watching my wife calmly smile as she pushed a human being out of herself, armed with two Panadol, a bible verse and a prayer.  A disinterested bystander glancing at the serenity on her face could have been forgiven for thinking that she was taking a nap and having a particularly pleasant dream.  At one point, I foolishly commented that she was almost making it look too easy, to which she responded that the experience was more painful than I could possibly imagine, but that smiling helped.  I wish I had a photo of it so you could believe me, or so that I could make millions selling a new “birthing skills” book based on it, but cameras were strictly forbidden.

So Winston, if this is the future and you’re reading this, I want you to always remember 2 things:

  1. Not only has your mother endured through incredible pain for your sake, she did so with a smile by thinking about her future with you.
  2. If you’re going to bring music to a delivery room, always bring a music-playing device.

If you’re not sure what a CD is, I’m sure we still have some in the shed.

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