Monday, June 14, 2004

Dad Irrelevant

Sometimes we joke and say our part of the process is over so quickly, at the very beginning of the 9 months.

In the hospital, you get to really feel like that. Not so much in delivery, but afterwards in recovery. While it's never really so articulated, it is so not about you. It is about mom's recovery from the ordeal and to watch the baby's first hours of life to make sure everything's ok. The dad is completely irrelevant.

The hospital I stayed at actually had a bed that folds up that the husband can use, and does give the husband 24-hour access to the building. And sheets. But it ends there. The wife's bed folds, moves up and down, has controls for the TV. The husband's bed -- if you're lucky -- doesn't just fold up when you sit on it.

All day long, people will enter. You can tell by their knock if you know them or not. If you know them, it sounds like "knock-knock-knock-silence." If you don't know them, it's like "Knock-door opens-Hi, I'm..." People enter constantly for more reasons that I can even remember. And rarely will any of them even recognize the husband's presence. It's amazing how invisible you become.

Then there's the food. It's cafeteria food, but it's delivered for the wife, who gets to pick from a menu. The guy is left to fend for themselves.

Here's what I propose... every so often, a nurse should take the husband's temperature and check the husband's blood pressure. Make them feel important there and they might be more involved later on.

But, as it stands, you aren't important. Mom and baby are an item, an important focus. Dad, you're irrelevant.

(Disclaimer: I don't believe I am irrelevant and am participating in my daughter's new life.)

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