[Editor's note: This story is of a photographer capturing women and their husbands. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]
For every soul we create, there is a soul that we felt a connection with first.
The one who helped us create life.
The one who watches on helplessly while the woman he loves, moans and howls through labor stages.
While we have always put each other first, mother nature drifts in to place him in the backseat while he watches them transform into one other. All without needing his assistance.
At every single birth I have attended, the men are in the background, even if they are up close with their women.
They are actually stronger than they realize.
Carrying the irony in their faces of being able to fix everything yet somehow not able to "fix" our pain and discomfort.
It's not even the fact that we need to be saved but that they're essentially powerless to rescue in a way that they are used to being able to do.
Their empathy skyrockets in a manner that most of them have never experienced, yet they stay silent.
They do not make the situation about themselves.
Nor do they panic.
They are anxious.
They do their best to not let on.
I make occasional eye contact with them to telepathically tell them that she is okay.
She will be okay.
Words are rarely spoken.
Whether through caressing us through our experience or respecting our space, they are in the shadows, observing.
Witnessing two or more people being born.
They watch the women they once knew being birthed into who they are now.
It is illogical to think that the men we love & choose to be present do not experience a beautiful and gaining loss as well.
They watch the woman they love turn into a stranger who is somehow still the woman they love.
Paralyzed with the intensity before them, their empathy overrides their fear and they stay strong.
To these men, we see you and we love you.
Originally posted on BoredPanda.
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