by, Gerald A. Lowe, MSN, RN
I first became a father in July, 17 years ago, with the birth of my daughter. After 39 weeks and 6 days, I was the father of a little girl. I really cannot explain how I felt. It was better than being a child on Christmas and getting everything you wanted! I fell in love with her at first sight!! Almost three years later, my son was born. I again experienced the same set of emotions, instant love and excitement for him.
I was not a nurse when my wife gave birth (it is probably very good– too much knowledge could have been a bad thing), but for the last 11 years I have been a labor and delivery nurse.
I have seen all types of births– good, bad and eventful.
During a birth, whenever possible, I try to involve the father in the delivery process, this is likely a result of me having my own children and understanding the amazing emotions and enjoyment that time can bring. When it is not possible to have the father involved during labor, I encourage them to hold the baby as soon as they can, change the baby’s’ first diaper and be involved in as many “firsts” as possible. Getting the whole family connected right from the start.
Before I had my children, I had read that children are a game changer. How right that is, but in such a very positive way. Neither child came with an instructional manual with a troubleshooting section. I have learned there are no part-time dads. For last 17 years, I have been “on duty” 24/7.
Father’s Day is celebrated to recognize the contributions fathers and father figures make in the lives of their children, it’s a day set aside to celebrate fatherhood and male parenting.
Each Father’s Day I can reflect that I have experienced it all: sickness, heartbreak, fears, joy, and sadness. I’ve been everything from a counselor, teacher, nurse, coach, dance partner and mechanic. I am a disciplinarian and avid fan. I braid hair and know too much about boy bands, all the while still throwing footballs and baseballs in the backyard or playing Xbox One.
I cannot imagine my life without my two children. Although they keep me constantly busy, financially deprived, and often dismayed, I am also overwhelmed and amazed that they are my children and so proud. I dare say that the greatest thing I will every do is be the father of my two children.
I join Naveen Jain in rejoicing, “Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught me how to be a better person.”
So to all my fellow fathers, Happy Father’s Day!
Gerald has been a perinatal nurse for over ten years. As a labor and delivery nurse, he has provided care to antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum patients. He has received numerous awards including The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. He has functioned as a charge nurse, resource nurse, and a Clinical Coordinator for women’s care centers.
Currently, Gerald is a Visiting Professor for Chamberlain College of Nursing and a Clinical Instructor. Active in the Association Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) as a chapter leader and secretary/treasurer, Gerald is the Virginia AWHONH Section Chair.