I realized, in reading over Martha’s birth story, that one person’s name doesn’t come up as much as one might expect: Jared’s.
At one level, this is for the very obvious reason that childbirth is quite literally women’s work. So it makes sense that women’s words and wisdom would come to the forefront.
But it’s also because Jared is the sort of person who doesn’t always mind being in the background. He serves continuously and thanklessly as a matter of course, because it’s right, and worries about himself afterwards. I’m sure he tires of it like any other normal human, but when he tires of it it’s because he’s tired, and not because he is unwilling to keep doing the right thing.
When Martha came, Jared was there. He was there for all my emotional processing in the weeks leading up to the birth. He totally supported the investigation of unconventional care strategies, should Martha hang on past dates. He was there giving counterpressure through every contraction between 8:00 p.m. and 12:20 a.m. That means pressing as hard as he could, from all sorts of awkward angles, either with hands or tennis balls, in a very specific point on my back. He advocated for our ideals when I was way past caring. He was there watching over me during the uncomfortable care afterwards.
We were a team, and I could trust him completely.
And he is here, now. He’s here to fetch me things and adjust all our effervescent plans around what I feel up to. To get me outside, to help me talk. To invite in or fend off visitors. To share in this brief and completely unrepeatable season.
And he’s here for Naomi, to do the work of both parents for her for 95% of her day, reading her books, playing Bird Bingo, building blocks and trains, getting her snacks, making sure she eats enough, reading more books, going on walks, putting her to bed, getting her up, and did I mention reading books? with a little speeding bullet who doesn’t sit down for more than ten seconds at a time and will run downhill for a mile then need to be carried back up.
I’ve said all this and more to him, but it is worth saying here, because he doesn’t always get credit when credit is due.
Our girls are so, so lucky to have a daddy who is loving, thoughtful, affectionate, and strong, and will do everything in his power to enable them to be all they were made to be. Who balances so many demands to be present for his family. Who is a man who will fight for women, because we are people. He is unafraid to be his rather unusual self, and in so doing I am sure he will help them do and be whoever they want.
(Black and white photos above are by Sara Blose of Bona fide Photography.)