Becoming a Father

Author Xavier Bertrand

I had my first child a month and a half ago.

At first, I was a little lost. The delivery had been difficult. My wife and I had not slept for 30h. The epidural had not worked in the last hours of childbirth. I almost did not see the baby go out, because I was trying to support my the mother, and the midwife took him away to oxygenate a little.

They showed me a little man who looks at me with big eyes, without crying. He did not cry on the day of delivery, nor afterwards. It happened at home; that is where he cried.

So I stand, in front of this little guy, without really knowing what to think. I did not know this baby. I did not feel his moves in me. I had prepared for his arrival, but without realizing it, without actually realizing what it implied.

The nurse made me sit in a chair, take off my shirt, and put the baby on my chest. And I talk to him, I tell him that I will protect him all my life, even when he will be bad … But I still do not realize. I sing a little song that I sang in the womb of my companion. A sailor’s song … My eyes are full of tears.

Then I help my girlfriend, tell my parents, my family. I am asked if I want to accompany the child who has to go to a special unit, since the delivery was difficult. I accept. And again, I find myself with this baby who looks at me without seeing me, I know that his eyes do not allow it yet, but who is there. I realize that he is beautiful, that he is more beautiful than anyone on earth. He falls asleep before me.

I join my wife, who has gone up to his room. I’m exhausted and she too. I go home, she stays. I tell her I’ll come back the next day. It is 1 pm, I have not slept since the day before 3am, I can not take it anymore. But first I have to go back home to get some belongings for her.

Back at the maternity ward, my son is in my darling’s room. He sleeps. He is always so beautiful. I do not know what to feel. I am relieved that the pregnancy has ended, but I do not know what to do with this child, so small, so fragile and so beautiful. This baby is already everything, but I do not realize it yet.

Three days later, my parents come to help me bring the child and his mother home. I do not have a car, so I have to ask them. They leave at night and then begin a serie of days filled with both routine and discovery.

Routine, because baby bottle, poop, bath, sleep; discoveries because the same thing. We learn every day, we make mistakes.

And this baby becomes everything. He becomes not the center of my existence, but the center of my love. I still love my girlfriend, but this baby has multiplied the amount of love I could give to someone. I do not divide my feelings, I extend them. He is always so beautiful, he always has such big eyes that look at me as soon as I speak to him.

And he is the most important being in the world.

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