I'm certain posts like this have been done by many a blogger and I'm sure not being innovative here but the role of a dad during labour is one of great ignorance and uselessness. In the desperate hope that it either helps some clueless sap like me or gives a few of you out there a little chuckle, I decided to share five things I wish someone had told me before my wife went into labour.
Labour is not clean, childbirth isn't glamorous.
Do not expect to be holding hands, whilst she lays perfectly still and does some breathing exercises and maintains a perfect 'lady' persona.
Do expect her to be fidgety, trying to find any angle that eases the pressure.
Honestly, she will probably spend most of the time stoned (and has every right to be) and will either be talking complete nonsense or trying to go to sleep (until suddenly she is very much awake).
There to be wee, poo, blood and vomit (sometimes).
Be prepared for a doctor (or nurse) to come along after, sit down in the room and do some sewing.
Nurses and doctors come and go, some change shifts during the labour. You'll be repeating yourself several times.
People will be in and out of your partner's business, often deciding that it is a great time to strike up a conversation about the weather, what's currently happening on EastEnders or how busy it is on the maternity ward today.
The staff can make jokes but you (as the probable culprit of this situation) cannot. The appropriate response to how busy maternity is, is not to say that it's OK, if they are busy elsewhere, you've saved down a video of how to deliver the baby.
There is a lot of waiting around. Your partner will be incredibly uncomfortable. So, will you (socially not physically, the physical is all on her - don't you forget it). She will be readjusting herself constantly, she'll be in pain and if you have any kind of empathy, you will feel distressed. Nothing will change that, all you can do is try to be supportive and pray for a quick labour but ultimately remember, be proud of your partner because this is all on her (and a team of trained medical professionals but we don't talk about them) - you're here for support.
It's messy. It looks like a car crash down there (do not for the love of god tell her that at the time during the labour or the months that follow).
Worse still, your new child might come out sunny-side-up. Sure, there's something nice about being the first thing your child see's but there shouldn't be eyes down there and they should not be staring at you!
...the baby comes later. The thing that comes out of your partner's vagina is covered in blood, what I can only assume is some kind of cottage cheese, is purple and has a misshapen head as though someone had tried to squeeze a human being through some kind of tight tube (erm).
So, there you have it. Five things I wish I knew going into the whole labour thing. Just a hot tip to finish on, post-labour do not refer the baby having just popped out, you place yourself at risk of assault - the more mothers in the room at the time, the worse it could be.
The Busy Papa (or Aaron) is a UK based parenting, lifestyle and mental health blogger. He is Dad to two wonderful (if not challenging) children and does what he can to get by. His favourite colour is green and strongly dislikes (though tolerates) tomato. Follow him @thebusypapa on Twitter.