So last year this weekend Ben’s parents come to visit. It was also our 5th anniversary (June 16th) and during their stay we found out we were having a little girl. It was a week that has a special place in my heart.
We went to a baby belly spa to do the ultrasound rather than wait three more weeks for my doctor’s ultrasound. It wasn’t that we could not wait until then but Ben’s parents were not going to be coming for the birth so I thought it would be special to share with them the gender reveal.
We were all in the room when we found out the baby was a little girl. Ben’s parents set on a couch across the room from me and Ben stood awkwardly next to me. There was a seat for him but instead he just stood there. The u/s tech showed the babies arms, legs, face, and then feet.
When she finally got around to show the gender, she typed on the screen “I’m a girl.” Ben’s mom and I first read it. Then his father read it. And we all turned to watch Ben’s reaction. I believe I actually had to tell him that it was a girl (In his defense hw was watching the baby and the type was hard to see.)
Ben’s reaction – well there wasn’t one. He didn’t say a word. Not one single word. The tech felt bad for me and actually gave us more pictures then the package we bought allowed for. I really think that it took a couple of days for Ben to process this.
Let me take a moment and explain Ben. He does not get excited about anything. He is cool, calm, and collected. He only gets emotional after he has been drinking and it usually involves Captain Morgan and has only happened like 3 times in our 10+ years relationship. He is a man of little words. But do not let that fool you – he is very sensitive he just keeps it hidden. He loves me and he loves our daughter with everything he has.
I came across an article this morning MSN title “This is your brain on fatherhood: Dads experience hormonal changes too,research shows.” The article explains that fathers have the same hormonal changes as a mother does; however, mother’s have a head start due to hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Oxytocin has been called the "love hormone," even though its effect isn't always that lovely. It's thought to deepen the bond that a mom has with her newborn. But what about the dads, who don't get pregnant or breastfeed? It turns out that a father's interactions with his children produce a similar rise in oxytocin levels.
In my mind I was always concerned about the bonding experience Ben did not get because we chose to breastfeed. He always told me not to worry about. Ben has always been a great dad. He was very supportive of breastfeeding and still is even though I am questioning continuing breastfeeding. He says even a little breast milk is better than nothing.
It turns out that fathers get many of the same rushes that mothers do from parenthood — but the payoff depends on proximity and interaction.
I believe the above comment is especially true after Ben’s lack of a reaction to “It’s a girl!” I saw Ben become a father immediately after we had her. And every day he became he grew more into fatherhood.
The article mentioned that by the 4th month the father has caught up to the mother and I definitely saw that. I had returned to work and Ben was watching Ava more and more. He was teaching her things left and right. He is able to calm her down just as fast if not faster than me.
Finally the last paragraph hit home for us. It talks about the number of potential helpers is limited due to “…living in isolated nuclear families, largely separated from their extended families…” Yes, that just about sums us up to a tee. On a good day before baby and with no construction we are 10 hours away from both of our families. Our friends are amazing here but that are just not the same as Poppa & Grandma.
I am looking forward to the future watching Ben grow more into fatherhood. It will be exciting to watch him teach her how to fish, how to teach her how to raise quail from egg to mature bird, and how to pick the right guy (yea, that one scares me a little bit!)