The day my wife went into labour, we spent the day together running errands, baking cookies, dancing – really normal day stuff, but with a layer of incredible anticipation. After dinner, our midwife joined us at our home, we turned on the Taylor Swift concert (following my wife’s birth plan) and we spent hours walking, sitting, and laying together in our family home while she laboured. After doing all she could to deliver our baby at home, she eventually became swollen and less dilated, and the midwife instructe d us to get in the car and meet her at the hospital.
About an hour later, I was getting into scrubs to go into the operating room with my wife for an emergency c-section. I held her hand feeling entirely helpless, and fighting back the feeling that I could lose my best friend and child. Birth was nothing close to what we thought it would be, but fortunately everyone was safe and healthy.
I help people make healthy lasting change for a living, so it’s an everyday effort to not be/become a hypocrite. I try my best to do the simple things well; eat real food, drink water, sleep regular hours as much as I can, be loving to myself and others. Also, I use this tool called HeartMath with my patients to help strengthen coherence – it helps you manage stress, feel more connected, be more productive, all the good things. To practice, you plug into a device and essentially meditate, but it gives you a score. My wife and I have a weekly competition to see who can get the highest score. She’s tough competition 🙂
Most useful baby product:
I was going to say our baby carrier (I really loved it!), but since Mira said that earlier, I’ll go with a great diaper cream. It’s heartbreaking to see my son in pain with a fiery red bottom, so finding a great, healing solution made with clean ingredients that works quickly is the best. We often use Penny Lane Organics and St. Francis Chamomile Zinc.
My toughest memory of being a parent:
For sure the birth. Specifically, when my son was born, we had in our birth plan that we wanted skin-to-skin, but because of the c-section, the doctor placed our son on my chest instead of my wife’s. I was excited to show her our son, but turned around to see her exposed and bloody on the operating table. In my work, I’m used to seeing blood. But seeing my wife like that… I nearly passed out. It took me a really long time to accept that my wife had to go through what she did, and appreciate the hospital staff for keeping her and our son safe. But that vision is still crystal clear for me, and brings me to tears just thinking about it. There have been many challenges since then, but I’m just grateful we’re together and healthy.
A coping strategy:
Tagging out when I need to. There is only so much any of us can manage at any given time, and parenting comes with its share of challenging moments. If and when I feel like I might not react or respond as my ideal self, and there’s an opportunity to step away for a moment, I will. I’ll take a moment to myself, take some deep breaths, and try to understand what is actually getting to me.
A wonderful experience:
It’s bad if I say the first time he slept through the night, right? That was a great moment.
If I could go back, what would I tell my new parent self?
You’re not supposed to know what to do. Just dive in and give it your best.