Because he hasn't been carrying your little one in his belly or experiencing trauma to birth her, your husband has a very different experience when it comes to meeting your new child. Here's what men on Reddit admitted to really thinking in that eventful moment when they met their baby.
Everything was worth it
"You realize that all ... you had to deal with in your life has led you up to that point, and it's all been worth it. This warm little bundle in your arms is the best thing you've ever done, and you can't imagine loving anything more."
No control over his emotions
"I had zero control over my emotions when my daughter was born in 2012. I cried and cried. I cried when I first saw her. I cried when the nurse who was doing her footprints grabbed my hand and gave me a "tattoo" with the remaining ink on her foot. I cried when the nurse told me I could walk outside into the waiting area and tell our parents that she was here. I cried when hospital personnel first congratulated me and called me 'dad.'"
"You look down and see a little hairy potato peeking out. You momentarily think, what is that? Then it hits you. This is the little bump in your wife that you've been reading stories to, or buying Italian food at 3 in the morning. This is the reason you've been going through all this stuff."
Welcomed into the crazy parts of fatherhood
"As soon as the nurse handed him to me, he pooped on me! This will always be my first memory of being welcomed to the world of fatherhood."
She's not mine
"It was bittersweet. I was giving her up for adoption and so when I held her, I had these fighting feelings of 'This isn't my child, it's theirs' and 'She's beautiful, this is my child, this is our child, she's perfect.' It was really hard letting her go. I haven't really told anyone this, so it's a bit hard for me to type it all out coherently. She was the perfect little baby, long and plump. But she wasn't mine. So yeah. It was rough."
"First thought was 'no unibrow and no lazy eye, so far so good'."
He wanted to care for her
"It dawns on you that you created that. A feeling of warmth washes over you when you look at your child. You immediately feel protective, more so than you ever have in your life. It's been three minutes and you love something you just met more than anything you've ever known. You want to hold her, and protect her, keep her happy and healthy."
"The interesting part is how long it took before I connected with him. This isn't to say I didn't care for him to this point, but it was like babysitting someone else's kids. He was probably 3 or more weeks old when I came home from work one day and picked him up. I held him flat on his back in front of me while leaning on the kitchen bar and looked at him. He smiled at me. It was real, not a burp or any other face, a smile. It changed me. He was happy to see me and it showed."
Terror that he'll repeat the same mistakes
"The doctor made a mistake and thought the ultrasound showed a girl. We prepared for a daughter for 7 months. Then when he came out, lo and behold... I had a son. At that moment I was absolutely terrified that I would repeat the (terrible) father/son relationship I had with my dad. I came to my senses a couple of hours later and realized that this was my chance to break the cycle of dysfunctional father/son relationships that had been going on in my family since the early 1900s. I spend every moment I can telling my son how much I love him, setting boundaries much of the time, breaking the rules some of the time and being present for him all of the time."
"You are emotionally drained from watching your wife/SO go through labor, and for the first moments the baby is a bit like a difficult project you've finished, but you are too exhausted to admire. Then, as you and your SO recover from the ordeal of the delivery, together you start to introduce yourself to the new life you've created. At some point in those first few hours (at least with me) I felt the first completely and utterly unconditional love of my life."
"The worst panic attack of my life. Not only did I just become a dad but the room flooded with people and I had to go sit by myself in a corner and control my breathing."
A multitude of emotions
"I heard my daughter before I saw her, and my heart skipped and it's a flood of random emotions, fear and love and happiness. Then when I saw her I burst into tears. She was slimy and looked like a little old man, but I've never felt more love for another person in my life."
Editor's note: These comments have been edited for punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc. in order to enhance readability.