Pregnancy: The Perfect Primer for Fatherhood
My Wife’s Challenging Pregnancy
When we found out that my wife was pregnant, it brought both a lot of joy and a lot of anxiety. On the one hand, we were finally going to be parents. However, we both knew that this would bring a lot of responsibility. How would we get ready for this new life? How would we make ends meet? How would we balance careers with family life?
I think that for men, pregnancy is God’s way of preparing us to be fathers. Pregnancy helps women to be good mothers too. The very welfare and survival of the child depends on how women handle themselves in a pregnancy. Before pregnancy, husbands serve their wives in little ways (or at least they should). However, I think that a pregnancy in a family helps men to mature in ways that help to meet the demands of fatherhood. Women become strained at times during a pregnancy. They begin to look for your love and support. There are times when they become almost helpless. I will spare you the details because if your wife is pregnant, I’m sure you know what I mean. I know I was thrown into serving my wife in ways that I had not previously known during her pregnancy. It was the perfect in-between period between not having children and changing diapers, giving baths, feedings, and responding to the cries of my little one.
The First Big Challenge
When my wife was about four months pregnant, she had a fall on the stairs outside of our apartment. She could not walk and was rushed to the hospital. I drove there from work as quickly as I could. I had so many emotions running through me. Is the baby okay? Is my wife okay? As soon as I arrived at the hospital, the woman at the front desk told me that my wife was in the trauma center. All I could explain about the feeling that I had was shock and terror. I felt as if I was losing a family member that I had spent years with, although I had never met him. It turned out that the baby was fine, although mommy was not. I think that the doctors in the ER got overly excited over a pregnant woman falling. I was glad to know that there are doctors that care. My wife had sprained her ankle pretty badly. She had a hard time getting around on crutches, so she was confined to a wheelchair for the next two weeks. I had to take time off of work just to take care of her until she started to regain her independence. It was a sacrifice for me, to have to wait on her constantly. I barely had time to get the other chores done. I felt completely overwhelmed. The positive side of this experience was that, although short-lived, it was the first time in my life where somebody was completely dependent on me. That helped me a lot for the rest of her pregnancy and fatherhood. My wife recovered eventually. However, she missed most of the summer because she was either in a wheelchair or on crutches.
The Next Big Challenge
Once my wife became able to get around on her own again, another complication happened. It was a few weeks into her third trimester. My wife’s blood pressure went up, which was a very scary thing. She was teaching a class of thirty-three children at the time. She was tired and stressed. I was concerned about her health. I had to go back to waiting on her since she was on doctor’s orders to get as much rest as possible so her blood pressure would not spike. Eventually her blood pressure continued to rise until three weeks before her due date, her doctor decided to induce labor. My wife worked right up until the time that she went in for surgery. She was in labor for three days, with no baby. At one point, her blood pressure sky-rocketed and she became physically ill to the point that I feared for both her and my son’s life. I never prayed so hard in my life. After it passed, the doctor at the hospital ordered a C-section.
These two experiences, as well as the countless other ways I had to serve my wife during her pregnancy, taught me what it was like to step outside myself and respond to a family crisis with love. Sometimes it means putting your interests aside to help a helpless family member. Pregnancy was a great preparation for fatherhood. It taught me that providing for my family is more than just providing a paycheck every two weeks. I learned that providing for my family meant self-sacrifice through service to others. It meant that I need to be there emotionally for my family. It taught me that on occasion, my family needs me to step it up so that they can have a safer and more fulfilling life. How do you serve your family?