6.16.2013

The Best Dad In The World



I’m the best dad in the world. Well, at least that’s what my wife assures me. To her, I wear a gigantic S on my chest. Babies swoon and women fall into blissful slumber (or was it the other way around?). But let me tell you a little secret – it’s not because I solve the world’s problems, it’s because I love her. Right now, every dude who’s reading this is thinking ‘great, I’m going to be the best dad in the world too’. But hold up. There’s a way to love a woman, and I’m not talking about the ‘take me now’ type of lovin’ that so many of us Neanderthalic men consider ‘love’ to be.

My wife says that I’m the best dad in the world because, moments after we found out that we were pregnant with our first, when she turned to me and said she wanted a homebirth, I didn’t faint, scream, vomit, or even blink. I hugged her, said ‘that’s great’ and asked her for more information. Then, when she brought me piles of literature and studies, guess what, I read them all. Yup, you read that right. This guy got down and dirty with Marsden Wagner and Ina May.

My wife says that I’m the best dad in the world because, even though, truth be told, I really had no interest in childbirth whatsoever, I went to her midwife appointments. I didn’t just go; I asked if I could find babies heartbeat. I asked if I could measure her fundus. I asked “insightful” questions (midwife’s words, not mine) and tried to learn all that I could so that I would be a competent birth partner. When it was time to attend childbirth classes, I didn’t just attend, I participated. I made sure to out-participate every other male in the room. And, when she accidently passed gas in the middle of a squat, I piped up, ‘Excuse me, must be couvade”.

My wife says that I’m the best dad in the world because, when she started to gain too much weight for the midwife’s liking and she did an overhaul on my wife’s diet, I went on the diet too. I dieted whether I was at home or not. When she got incessant cravings for chocolate, I went on a one-man mission to find the most awesome, healthy alternative possible: frozen chocolate avocado custard. I called her sexy, beautiful, desirable… and not only to her face, but to everyone else as well.

My wife says that I’m the best dad in the world because I really take my job seriously – I’m her biggest fan and made sure everyone knew it. When family and friends began questioning our sanity and our babies safety for some of our choices, there was no hesitation; I firmly told them where they can shove their opinions. I went so far as to tell my mom that she can either get with the program (‘here mom, read these’) or we would be happy to send her a birth announcement and there’s the door. It didn’t matter what family get-together it was, who it was, or what kind of smack they were talking. If it ruffled my princess’s bubble of peace, this knight-in-shining-armor would knock them off their high horses. Might I add, all of that reading and all of those visits to the midwife made me a formidable adversary; I knew my shit.

My wife says I’m the best dad in the world because, through 36 hours of strong labor, I was present. When she said ‘call the doula’, I called the doula. When she said I wasn’t doing it right, I asked the doula to do it for her. When she told me to shut up, I got excited, not offended. I set up a birth pool, made her snacks, brushed her hair off her forehead, lit candles, and hung her birth banner. When she got down on hands and knees and roared like a lion, I told her she was amazing. And when she told me to get in to the tub with her as our baby was crowning, I hopped in: cell phone, jeans, and all! She brought our baby up to her chest and I tell you, I was a mess (and I’m not talking about the birth water – even though that’s some funky stuff).

And she said I was the best dad in the world.

Truth be told, she didn’t need me there, for any of it, she never did. She could have made the whole journey with just her midwife and her doula; probably even without them. But she wanted me to go on this journey with her. She invited me, and even though I didn’t know it at the time, there was no other place that I would have rather been.

How was I the best dad in the world when our baby was mere moments old? Because I had proven myself for the 9 months that she was busy being the best mom in the world. She didn’t need a doubter – she had that in all of the hecklers around us. She didn’t need a savior – that would only undermine her amazing baby-makingness. She didn’t need a jokester – she had as much of that as she could stomach on TV and movies. She wanted someone to take the journey with. And I tell you what, the moment I saw the culmination of our love embodied in this perfect little human, I sure was thankful that our son was given the best dad in the world!
Allen is the father of one, a 2 month old son. He and his wife live in the Houston area and are home birthing, cloth diapering, and EBFing their child (well, she is EBFing). You can sometimes find him hiding his cape under a moby wrap while he wears his son during a walk through the park.

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