On Becoming A Father

The Days Before

I now realize how clueless I was in the days leading up to Jack’s birth. I had nine months to talk myself through the process and develop expectations about what our lives would be like once the baby was here. Boy, I wasn’t even close. One thought I had remains true ––  life is most fulfilling when focusing on or sharing with others. I hope to set a good example for my son.

The Birth

I was so proud of my wife. Throughout her labor she was funnier than she’s ever been, hilarious, in fact. I think the pain of pregnancy lowered her inhibitions better than a margarita could.

As the night and her labor progressed I began to understand that Kelly was on her own path. I have heard other fathers describe feeling helpless during their wife’s labor. I think that’s the point. Labor isn’t about the father. Giving birth is an odyssey mothers must take alone. It reminded me of that scene in the Wizard of Oz when they head down the path of lions and tigers and bears – except in this version, Dorothy goes down that path all by herself –– afraid but courageous and relentless. I just tried to be there, to be calm and soak in as much of the experience as I could.

Around 9 a.m. it was clear that the epidural was not doing its job –– this is when I learned what true strength is. Strength and grit. The last two hours were a brilliant convergence of personal will and Mother Nature’s machine. Somehow my amazing wife found the strength to push and get our son out into the world.

Nine months of talk became a reality the instant I saw his head. A singularity. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment. It was truly the most powerful emotional experience of my life. All of the sudden there was another person in the room. A stranger that was now my son. I saw his hair, his ear, his mouth. A breath. A cry. A moment of pure life.

Where did you come from?

Our Baby Jack

He is a fascinating little fella. Who does he look like? What will he be like? I stare at him for hours. Love. Deep infinite love. Wonder. A tiny baby burrito eliciting doubt, fear and bliss. Brand new parts complete with new parts smell. Fresh eyes. Soft skin. Feet with zero miles on their odometer.

John “Jack” Michael Demma III is home, healthy and happy. His mom and dad are elated. We hope to savor every moment of his life and hope that it all doesn’t go by too fast.

7 thoughts on “On Becoming A Father

  1. One of the best descriptions of the event I have seen. It is very difficult to describe until you experience it. Well done. I just recall in the birthing classes trying to remember the counting, the breathing, and the coaching. Knowing I would have no way of remembering any of it when the time came. I found my role quite easy as the coach of team “mom” to support what she naturally knew how to do!

  2. Being a father of 4 and grandpop of one your words ring very clear of the moment that makes time stand still. This is only the first step of many down the path of special moments. The one’s that will always linger for ever are the one’s that are the simpliest. Having a catch, walk or in my case learning how to roller blade so when the time came that my child said Daddy teach me how to skate I was ready. Wish you and Kelly and Jack all the best. Anthony LaRocca

  3. John – – –

    As others have said, thanks so much for sharing this beautiful reflection on new fatherhood. On behalf of those of us who are not yet married and don’t have children but have aspirations for both, I thank you for the great inspiration.

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