On Father’s Day, Priya Adhyaru-Majithia features men who accompanied their partners into the labour room to support them and experience the beginning of the journey called fatherhood
DEEPAK VERMA, 31, Filmmaker CHILD: Noor BIRTH: June 4, 2013 TIME: 11.15 am
Paldi residents Deepak Verma and his wife Neha Chora, 28 — both filmmakers — had intended to make a live documentary on child birth since they learnt that Neha was pregnant. “I was with her through each stage of pregnancy,” says Deepak, who chose to gain 14 kg while his wife Neha gained 15 kg during gestation. “I wanted to understand the physical changes that her body would undergo. So, I decided to put on weight, too,” he said.
At each stage of Neha’s growing belly, Deepak made sketches of their baby in various positions on her tummy. When it came to accompanying her into the labour room and filming the birth, things did not go as planned. Neha was advised to undergo a caesarean section. Deepak says, “I faint at the sight of blood, so our doctor asked me not to accompany Neha. But I could not hold back. Here, was a chance to overcome my fear as well as accompany my wife and learn the enigma of child birth. So I insisted on staying beside my wife while she faced the big moment. What I saw is deeply inscribed in my memory; it was an experience that humbled me. The initial excitement was replaced by a grim, serene feeling of responsibility. Witnessing child birth has made me tougher, humbler and ready to accept any challenges and changes in life for the sake of my child.”
JITESH AGRAWAL, 37, IT professional CHILD: Aahana BIRTH: September 15, 2012 TIME: 5 pm
We were at our doctor for physical examination as the due date was nearing when the doctor dropped a bomb,” said Jitesh Agrawal, who lives in Bodakdev. During examination, the doctor learnt that Priti, 32, was experiencing premature labour pain and advised her to undergo delivery as a medical emergency. Jitesh says,
“My wife had felt minor contractions but she did not know that they were pre-labour pains. When the doctor asked her to get admitted, she began crying. She was scared. I decided to stay with her through it all. I asked the doctor if I could accompany her into the labour room. My only aim was to comfort my partner.”
However, the decision to witness the child birth transformed me. “The labour pains lasted for six hours. I saw my wife suffer — the pain, blood, struggle, tears — they all taught me something. It was the most intense and yet the strangest of feelings. First I saw the hair, then head and then the face, my child, Aahana. I was stunned by the event. The doctor gently asked me if I wanted to cut the cord that joined Aahana and Priti and welcome my baby to the world. I was overjoyed, amazed. I cut that cord. I took my baby in my hands; that first touch and its memories are fresh in my mind and heart even today. That touch taught me to become more sensitive and responsible. The sudden decision of witnessing my child’s birth actually woke me up to the preciousness of fatherhood.
VAIDHYANATHAN IYER, 34, Quality analyst CHILD: Vanshika BIRTH: May 25, 2013 TIME: 11.17 am
Wearing a sterilised gown, Vaidyanathan Iyer waited inside the operation theatre wanting to understand the phenomena of child birth. He already had a daughter but he wanted to know more about the procedure that earned him fatherhood. As the Naroda resident puts it, “My wife Bhargavi was in labour. In panic, she held my hands tight as a cut on the abdomen was made. The doctor reached into the depth of her uterus and took our baby out.
Within those 25 minutes spent inside the operation theatre, for the first time, I saw a child being born. The experience — the physical pain, suffering, mental trauma and its joyful result — was intensely humanising.
After witnessing the process, my respect for my partner and commitment towards my children has increased manifold.” They named their second daughter Vanshika. “My wife delivered our first daughter at her parents’ place in Nagpur. I reached after Vibhanshi was born. At the time, I failed to understand the post-delivery trauma that my partner underwent. This time, after accompanying her inside the operation theatre, I saw her suffering and it has changed me, both as a person and as a father. I feel that every father should witness child birth and this will completely change their approach to fatherhood.”
HARDIK SHAH, 28, Businessman CHILD: Unnamed BIRTH: June 1, 2013 TIME: 12.59 pm
Curiosity led Hardik Shah to witness child birth after his partner Priyanka, 28, fell pregnant with their first child. “I was excited when the time and date for the surgical procedure were decided. I was curious so I asked the doctor if I could witness the entire procedure. To my surprise, the doctors agreed. Inside, I saw how uncomfortable my wife was. She was frightened. The child, while I saw the doctor probing inside, was lying curled, uncomfortable. I felt their pain. The initial curiosity diminished. The experience humbled me and moved my soul. My outlook towards my wife and child underwent a 360-degree change. The experience of accompanying my wife into child birth has enabled me to understand priorities in different contexts. Today, my child is my first priority and I also understand why he is the first priority for my wife as well.”
The article appeared on June 16, 2013 on page 6 in Ahmedabad Mirror

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