Dads' experiences of childbirth
We don't talk much about fatherhood, how a young father experiences childbirth, what he feels when his child is born.
We interviewed 4 dads about their experiences and feelings at the time of the birth of their little koko.
1/When did you feel like a father?
Jehan : There is no real trigger, but it was several weeks after the birth. I had a strong feeling of responsibility. And fear because it's so fragile.
Thibault : It's hard to say... At the birth. It really became concrete during the skin to skin.
Julian : The day my wife told me that she had stopped menstruating at a time when we were trying to have a child. I was travelling abroad and she told me she was overdue. When I heard this I was very happy and I was already thinking about becoming a father.
Thomas : As soon as I saw my baby. The emotions are very hard to describe, they are quite new at the time it happens. It's a wave of different emotions: excitement, adrenaline, pride, relief that it's over, wonder.
2/Did you have any apprehensions about the delivery?
Jehan : I was confident and trusted nature. I knew that my partner would be fine. All the indicators were green.
Thibault : Yes, I was afraid that it would be noisy and even bloody. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stay for the whole birth. I had heard several people fainting while attending a birth. In the end it was okay and it didn't traumatise me as a father.
Julian : No, no particular apprehensions. It was the most important moment of my life. I packed a bag to go to the clinic with all the scripts in it. I had taken part in the preparation for the birth, I had the breathing techniques in mind and the rest of the gestures to relieve my wife. For me it was like getting in the car and driving 2000km. Like a road trip. I had already visualised the way to the clinic. I felt ready.
Thomas : No, none.
3/Did you feel useful during the delivery?
Jehan : No. I was totally helpless. I felt like I was just there.
Thibault : I have the impression. We had done haptonomy sessions as a couple where I learnt some ways to relieve my partner during labour. The midwife also gave me little tasks (holding my partner's leg, for example) and I think that helped her.
Julian : During the 12 hours of labour I was present for my wife's needs. At the time I was smoking and sometimes I went out for a cigarette. Twice when I came back she had thrown up because of the epidural... At that time I felt like I wasn't there when I needed to be. During the birth I felt really useful, I was given the task of holding her legs and helping her breathe. I wasn't just watching the scene, I was actively living it.
Thomas : Yes. I had done all the midwife appointments and I was able to tell her again what to do, how to breathe. I felt like a support for my wife. And a presence.
4/ What did you feel during the skin-to-skin session?
Jehan : It was cool! I felt a connection with my baby. I felt the fragility of my baby and I understood that I will have a protective role to play for life
Thibault : It was the first time I was carrying such a small baby. I was not very comfortable but so happy. That's when I realised that this is a bond for life...
Julian : I felt like crying because it was so beautiful. It was the most powerful event of my life. A baby is so small, so fragile, that it reminded me that I was alive. Thanks to the birth of my daughter I stopped smoking. My life as a father took on another dimension.
Thomas : For my first one, I did the skin-to-skin while the doctor was taking care of my wife. I felt I had a mission to be the first to do this skin-to-skin. It was a magical moment. She wasn't crying, she was calm and relaxed against my skin. I was talking to her and she seemed fine. I had a real feeling of happiness when I saw that she was calm and at ease against me.
A huge thank you to our 4 dads 😘 :
- Jehan, Léo and Victor's father
- Thibault, Maxence and Eline's father
- Julian, Livia's dad
- Thomas, Scarlett and Margot's dad