The Birth of a Father

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.
— Rajeneesh

I love this quote.  You'll find it on something like every third doula's webpage, because we all feel so strongly about empowering and assisting women as they become mothers.

I just want to say ditto for the fathers.  Empowering and assisting men as they become fathers is a core part of my job description.  Maybe its because a little part of your heart starts walking around outside of your chest.  Or maybe its because you have seen the strength of your woman as she brought your baby into the world.  Or maybe its because the love a man has for his family is often close to the center of what makes him tick.  But when I'm scrolling through Facebook and I see family photos, I always kind of like the "daddy pictures" the best.

Maybe its because my own dad is no longer with us, or that my husband is himself a photographer by trade and so rarely enjoys being on the other side of the lens, but the pictures of I have of those two men being dads are some of the most treasured to me.

This extends to my doula clients, when I see pictures of their births (yes, people have amazing and tasteful photography done at their births) I revel in the awesomeness of a woman's strength and peace and control, of the rawness of the moment, and it sets me on fire! But when I see the pics of the dads-- the daddies smiling at their newest baby girl, or doing skin-to-skin with their son until mom is available, or snuggling the twins while posing for a picture--that's when I comment on how much I love the photos. 

It's not because I can't see the strength in a woman as she summons all of her power and instinct and pushes her baby out.  I can, and it inspires the hell out of me.  But the photos of the dads, when they've stopped worrying about being a dad and actually BECOME a dad, love and pride squeeze out everything else, and we are left with the most intimate part of the birth of a father.

This intimacy and love doesn't end with the newborn pictures, the uninhibited love and pride STAY, even as parenting gets more real and more difficult.  I might love *these* daddy pictures even more.  So let us remember the birth of the Fathers as well, and return some of the uninhibited love and pride they have shared with us as we say thanks this Fathers Day.

Victoria McCollum

Victoria McCollum is a birth and postpartum doula and owner of Doulas of Fredericksburg, in Fredericksburg, Virgina. She resides there with her husband and three precocious sons.