A Father's Point Of View
by Anthony Wilson

[Editor's note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 51, Autumn 1999.]

The day my wife gave birth to our firstborn was the end and the beginning of something beautiful. The culmination of nine months of physical, emotional and spiritual preparation for the birth of our baby, it was also the beginning of our life with children. The birth itself was a transition from one stage of our life together to another. I saw my wife in a whole new way that day.

There was never any doubt that I would attend our births, we just did not know the details of how. Lois and I have always done everything together. After attending childbirth classes I felt more prepared, but I was still scared at the thought of holding a new baby. Then came "the day."

I look back and see my wife as an incredibly focused and powerful woman.The power of a woman giving birth amazed me. Labor, such an intense time of hard work, impressed on me that there is no greater work than that of bringing a new life into the world. Any man who has not seen his wife give birth has an incomplete view of what it means to be a mother. He underappreciates mother-hood.

My fears of holding my baby melted into joy at the touch of new skin, skin that had never before been "outside." We experienced the joy together, Lois and I, and it has only strengthened the bond of our marriage. It has been my privilege to attend and support my wife, the mother of my children, through each of our births in turn. Each one was different, as each of our five children is different.

Every birth is unique, and each is a life experience, one that should be shared by husband and wife, mother and father, as they grow not only a baby, but also a family. After almost twenty years of marriage, some of my best memories are the births of our children, and seeing my wife give in to this powerful maternal act called childbirth.

Tony Wilson is the father of five children and the husband of Lois Wilson, CPM. Together they live in Philadelphia, where he works for the Philadelphia school district as a teacher.

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