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The Birth of Our Baby in Shanghai

Like many fathers, upon hearing the words "I'm pregnant," a mix of joy and the realization of a new chapter in life follows, but then come the doubts: will I be a good father? This is often followed by a certain level of unawareness about the situation – after all, it's still nine months away, and we don't experience the physical changes, back pains, and everything else a woman goes through during this period. Life continues more or less the same until the fateful day.

Fortunately, during the months leading up to C’s birth, my wife had enrolled us in various preparation "courses" (maternity classes and HypnoBirthing). Initially, I was hesitant, thinking that everything would happen naturally. However, I soon realized that these classes would involve me more in experiencing the pregnancy and better understanding what was happening or about to happen in our lives.

I'm not a nervous or stressed person, but on January 31st, when my wife M woke me up to say that labor had begun, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Then, I remembered the months of preparation we had gone through. Eventually, both of us remained quite calm, with no rush to get to the hospital. We ran a bath, and M did a session of ironing while we watched a movie until she told me it was time to leave.

Looking back, we were surprisingly serene. Upon arriving at the hospital, we settled into the room and followed the advice of the nurses. Having chosen to have a HypnoBirthing experience, we were going for a birth without a cesarean section or epidural. I felt like a coach with his athlete, not really there for the action but to assist during the effort. It was a wonderful feeling to be useful at this moment, an experience usually lived exclusively by women. Setting up the room (playing calming music, creating a dim atmosphere), offering reassuring words, reading relaxation methods, providing logistical support with energy bars and hydration – these were my tasks during the 4 hours of labor.

One often imagines this moment as one of pain, cries, tears, until the moment of delivery, but it wasn't like that. Apart from M's extreme fatigue, it was as if the world had gone silent not to scare C. Despite the exhaustion of labor, M handled the situation incredibly well.

Time seemed suspended ; I experienced it as if in a dream, and I still have difficulty recalling all the steps between our arrival and her entry into the world. She appeared, and we placed her on her mother's chest as if it were the most precious thing in the world (which it is). Then, the first skin-to-skin contact with me, and it was one of those rare, too rare moments. Everything else vanished ; nothing else mattered but that moment. I can't describe the sensation of those few minutes; I think everything merged: love, joy, fear, exhilaration, disbelief...

A few minutes later, I finally realized that I am the father of a wonderful little baby.


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