Is It Acceptable To Say A Man Is ‘Having’ A Baby?

On Mamamia’s Facebook page a story about a celebrity baby was promoted with this sting;

This one’s for the AFL fans. Which team captain has just announced he’s having a baby?

And a debate ensued with comments like this;

Sorry, I can’t help but say it but HE is not having a baby. The correct headline for the article should be “Which AFL captain has just announced that he and his partner are expecting a child” Not the current one.

So I thought I would enter the debate myself and added this;

The expression “we’re having a baby” is acceptable in today’s vernacular by both the mother-to-be AND the father-to-be. Take out one party, in this case the pregnant mother and yes “I’m having a baby” is something that we should encourage men to say. We question men not taking an active role in everything to do with having kids and then shoot people down who DO make inclusive statements. So yes, this footballer IS having a baby.

And although someone replied to my comment asking whether I actually read the headline and claimed that Mamamia’s headline was politically incorrect, I stand by comment, and I applaud whoever wrote that sting to promote the story. Incidentally, I had many more people supporting my comment.

Recently in my Dad Blogger writing group we had a discussion about how we came up with the name of our kids; is there a story behind the decision? Yes, you read right, dads don’t just talk about beer, and football, and cars, and beer; many a modern father is talking about their kids because just like mothers, our kids are very much part of our lives.

I told the story of our decision to name our eldest child Cadel. It was back in 2008 during the Tour de France that the baby started really kicking inside my wife. I’m not going to claim that I was also pregnant, that’s just preposterous, but I was willing to share in the pregnancy as much as possible. Seeing that my (then girlfriend, now wife) couldn’t sleep she decided that maybe I should enjoy those sleepless nights with her. And really, why not; I think that’s what they call empathy, isn’t it?

Being awake at a time that we should have both been asleep was the precursor to things to come, but being awake whilst the Tour was on television seemed like we were destined to watch it. When we met and in the early days of our relationship my wife and I took our mountain bikes in the back of my car to fire trails and other tracks in national parks, so bikes was something we both enjoyed.

Cadel Evans had finished second in the Tour de France the year before and had fairly good odds placed on him to win in 2008. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be his year with him finishing second once again, but right then, right at that moment we both knew that the little boy growing inside her was going to be Cadel. Making that decision together at that moment made this pregnancy really feel like it was ours.

For the duration of her pregnancy I was working for a medium sized company and was in a middle-management position and well known throughout the company having been there for 13 years. I remember on many occasions bumping into staff and having them say “I hear you’re having a baby,” to which I would always reply “yes, I am having a baby.”

From day one when my (then) girlfriend rolled over and said “I’m pregnant” I wanted to be part of the whole experience. I wanted to share the highs and lows. I wanted her to know that I was in this wholly and completely.

At first we both kept fairly fit continuing the early morning runs together that brought us together in the first place. I was in training for all the upcoming runs throughout the running season, City to Surf, Bridge Run, Sutherland to Surf and she was always by my side. But then it became too much for her and I had to go it alone. How I wish she could have been there by my side to support me.

But I was always there for her when I got back home. And even though I should have been watching what I ate and tapering (whatever that means) I was cooking whatever she wanted me to as she grew comfortable gaining those few extra baby kilos. And after completing those runs, and even though summer was closing in, I dropped some of my training sessions to spend more time going to baby shops and exhibitions, reading magazines, books and websites to do with parenting and babies.

We attended one of those natural birth classes teaching her how to relax during labour. We attended the antenatal classes at the hospital where the baby would be born. We did all these things together. After all, I was having this baby too. Sure she was carrying it, but it was ours, and I. Was. Having. A. Baby. I can’t stress that enough.

And speaking of stress, as D-Day drew near, the excitement and the fears were taking over both of us. As D-Day passed and she was still not in labour the stress started to build. A colleague of mine whose baby was due 10 days after our due date had his wife go into labour 10 days earlier than our due date. Collectively we were jealous that they had theirs and we didn’t have ours.

The labour was long and I was with her through the whole thing. I will admit that somewhere after the 19 hour mark of her being in the hospital I was tired. So was she, that’s a given, but when you have this baby trying to get out of you I hear that falling sleep is not really something you can do. With things slowing down the midwife suggested I lay down on the lounge in the birthing suite and I was only asleep for about five minutes when I was woken with the news that an emergency caesarean was needed.

A C-section was not part of our birth plan and I was supposed to be the one to negotiate that we persist with a natural birth but the doctor told us that there was no way anything other than this operation was going ahead. I wasn’t supposed to be in the room according to the doctor in charge but someone gave me a gown and hairnet and got me to scrub and suddenly I was pulled in the operating theatre. When the baby was pulled from her he was as blue as a Smurf.

Right then, right at that moment I felt that our journey had come to an end that neither of us had planned for; that no one ever plans for. I wanted to hold my partner’s hand and grip it tight. I didn’t care if she didn’t need the support, I needed it. She pushed me away telling me to talk to our child.

As he lay on a table covered over by a bright heat lamp, he was surrounded by doctors and nurses. The last part of his birth was up to me so as my wife suggested I talked to the little guy. I told him that we were happy to see him and that we both couldn’t wait to cuddle him and take him home. I can’t remember how long it took, but it seemed like forever. And then he made that sound that you want every new born to make. He made it.

I spent the next 48 hours sitting in the ICU watching him in the humidicrib with only about four hours sleep somewhere in that time. The hospital was fairly strict only letting his mum come and visit him for a short period of time because they wanted her to recover from her C-section surgery.

And as I sat there, sometimes for hours on end alone with our little man I couldn’t help but say to myself “I had a baby.”

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