Today marks a big day for me. Today I have been a parent for eight years. Oh, and it's also my oldest child's birthday. He turned eight. I suppose I should have started that it's a big day for my son.
Birthdays are a huge deal for kids, but for us parents it's really also a day where we stop and reflect on just how crazy different our life is now then when the day our children were born. I remember the joy of expecting our first child but also the general naivete of not knowing what to expect. I read a handful of books, went to the classes and felt as prepared as possible. But the weight of it all hit me like a ton of bricks on that special day eight years ago.
I was "that dad" who right when it was go time after an all day and night delivery, something came over me. I got completely pale, began to have cold sweats and felt like I was going to faint. My wife had done so much to get us to this point including a labor lasting nearly 24 hours. And now as the doctor was seconds away from bringing our first child into the world and in the middle of her encouraging my lovely wife to continue to breath and push she looked over at me and saw that I was about to go down. She told the two nurses to leave my wife's side and instead fetch me a cold wash cloth, a chair and a cup of orange juice. As my oldest son entered the world I was off in the corner regaining my strength. As tears of joy flooded my face I remember being so in love with that little baby and so in awe of what my wife had done to bring him into this world.
Just like everything in the world, technology is playing a huge role in the advancement of child birth. One fascinating component is how much medicine and technology can be used for people who favor that route in child birth. Then conversely because of technology via blogs, websites and videos how many resources are available to those who choose a more natural route free from medicine and modern technology. One thing I am certain is I am so happy we had the personable and great nurses we had and not a robot. Check out this story on the possibility of robots helping deliver babies.
While stereotypical roles tell us it's the mom that worries about the color scheme of the baby room and where to put the changing table, it's the dad that frets over just how expensive this baby is going to be. That stereotype was true in our case. I can tell you that just at about the same time our son came into the world, the United States was in the middle of the housing crisis and companies were laying off people in record numbers. The values of our homes were plummeting and I was a little nervous about what was happening in the world around us. I thought maybe perhaps we started a family too early and should have established ourselves in our careers more before taking on this gigantic leap. This link is from two years ago but according to the CNN article the cost then to raise a child was $233,610. According to this article from Business Insider for the first time ever more women are having children in their 30's than their 20's. I am so very grateful that I didn't let those macro forces of uncertainy change our family planning.
A lot of attention is given to prominent companies and their evolving generosity with maternity and paternity leave for its employees. However, this article from SHRM says that there have been hardly any changes across the board for most American companies. Here is an article that does feature 19 companies with awesome maternity and paternity policies.
Back to my eight year old now, and yes, we are throwing him a birthday party. Here are two radically different stories I thought I'd share to close out this week's birthday themed blog. Here is a story on a woman who throws free birthday parties for homeless children. And here is an article on moms who have started to do gift registry for their son's and daughter's birthday parties.