They asked me to cut the cord and it took me by surprise.  High on the joy of seeing my daughter safely into this world, I chuckled to myself and thought it such a cliché   I took the scissors in hand and tried my best not to fumble or appear squeamish.  Blood and guts don’t really disturb me, I had even dissected a human placenta many years ago.

I cut the cord and thought about the theatre of it all.  Why did they ask me?  Was it to include me in the process; me the man.  Surrounded by the midwives I felt a sensation that maybe they still felt that this was a woman’s world, and I was an alien.  The lovely Sharon reassured me that this was not the case by pulling me in towards her and grasping me with strength I thought she was incapable of.  Our son’s birth did not have any of this theatre.  His birth seems a long time ago and it is a long way removed from the little lady’s birth. He, and his well sized head, got stuck.  This caused stress to both himself and his mother.  I was never asked to cut the cord.  It was cut by a surgeon with reflexed speed while he was briefly laid on his mother’s chest.  It was a split second.  Then he was whipped away and placed under a team of experts who kept him pumped with oxygen before he took his first breath many minutes later.

Our daughter arrived more calmly.  In first aid they now talk about the signs of life instead of breathing and pulse, and I now think I know what they mean.  She never screamed or raised her voice, simply looked mildly confused as she was tucked in under her mother’s night dress. As soon as I as I saw her face I knew she was kicking and screaming on the inside.  On the outside she was simply trying to maintain her composure.

When I see an animal being born it always surprises me how quickly they try to stand up.  The desire to be independent is fiercely burning inside them.  Then there is us; we humans.  We who are fragile and vulnerable and don’t even attempt to make a walking effort for about a year.  We who are wholly dependent on other’s care.

I cut her tether and thought  to myself at the bizarreness of it.  She is still tethered to us, and I am still tethered to my mother and father.  The tether waxes and wanes as the tide of life pulls and pushes us away and toward them, but we are still tethered.