Know your limits – what the birth of my 5th child taught me

My son was born January 8th, 2016 and is #5 on the kid roster in our family. Being #5 you would think that I’m probably an old pro at the whole “being supportive during birth” thing, not so. On the birth of our first child I had to lie down in the recovery room before my wife did (not kidding) and on subsequent children, though I have managed to avoid the recovery room, I’ve been generally squeamish. When it came time for #5 to meet the world I made a strategic decision, I would recognize my limits and support my wife from there. That’s a pretty ambiguous statement, so here is what that meant for me:

  • No standing. I couldn’t support my wife while passed out on the floor. So instead of standing (like I stubbornly¬†tried to do with the other kids), I sat next to her and held her hand.
  • No medical anything. When asked to cut the cord, though I wanted that experience, I declined, knowing that all things medical make me want to pass out.

As much as I didn’t like it, I had to recognize in that moment that I had limits. I don’t like my limits but in recognizing that they exist, I can deal with them and make better decisions. I can tell you from that experience with my first child (remembering the recovery room) that ignoring my limits didn’t work out so well, on kid #5 learning from those limits and adapting to them turned out much better.

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