It's A Boy!
Reflections on my first 24 hours of fatherhood
I’ve wanted to be a dad since I was six years old.
When my little brother Ben was born, my mom used to lay him on my chest every morning while she got ready for the day.
It was during those precious skin-to-skin times that I knew fatherhood was for me.
Fast-forward thirty years and I’ve just become a dad for the first time.
His name is Concord Thoreau Brock.
Concord means “peace.”
Thoreau means “strength.”
Concord is our favorite revolutionary town in America — home to the Alcotts (of Little Women fame), Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Hawthornes, and Henry David Thoreau (the father of environmentalism and philosopher whose pacifist writings inspired Gandhi and MLKJ.)
(You can donate to his college/sovereignty fund here.)
38 hours in labor, 11 of which were spent at a pub. (It’s a long and extremely British story.)
28 medical personnel over 5 wards and 3 shift changes
Over four hundred 60+ second contractions recorded
One scary-a$$ set of forceps (because he was back-to-back)
One 8.0 pound baby boy
The first male of eleven grandbabies in the family
The first boy born to our church in twelve years
Here are the thoughts I managed to jot down during the craziest two days of my life:
Life is extremely unfair
Ten months and five days ago, I enjoyed an orgasm.
Michelle, on the other hand, endured an overdue pregnancy and all the aches and pains it entailed, plus a punishing 38 hours in labor with 60+ second contractions every 4–6 minutes from Hour One, ending with a brutal surgical extraction and third-degree tearing.
I’m sure someone somewhere is working on a class-action lawsuit against men, or maybe an international reparations case, but Michelle’s harrowing ordeal made me remember that life is inherently unfair and unequal in some areas, which is why we need to get rid of systemic unfairness everywhere else that we can.
Women deserve to rule the world
I’m not one of those insufferable man-hating men who constantly apologizes for being exactly how nature created me. I am a man, and I am nominally “stronger” than the average woman…
…But I’ve just born witness to the most shocking feat of strength I have ever seen.
I don’t believe there’s a male Olympian, Ironman, or Cross-fitter on earth who could accomplish the obstacle-laden marathon my wife just endured.
Females generally don’t have one-time brute-force-strength like men do — it’s their incredible long-term resilience that makes women fit to lead nations.
Michelle pushed harder in Hour 38 than Hour 1. She gave maximum effort, with every single push. I broke into tears nearly forty times, astounded by her resilience, and I will forever be in awe of her strength and fortitude.
After giving birth, there’s nothing women can’t do.
Dads do hard stuff with ease
“Do you want to change his first diaper?” the nurse asked.
Despite having never changed a diaper in my life, it wasn’t even a question.
Of course I did.
You should’ve seen the load. Black oily filthy nasty meconium.
I didn’t even flinch.
And then it hit me: Dads do hard stuff.
Because babies and women pull them to a higher level.
I’m done wasting time
In addition to my writing and filmmaking work, creatives who are serious about their work pay me to do content creation coaching.
Last week, a young “influencer” with “80+K fans” paid for coaching, but when I asked for his list of questions and links to his website and social media, he replied with:
“I honestly don’t have any questions…”
He went on to say how he could help me grow my business and had a range of products and services I might be interested in.
He wanted to pay me… to pitch me.
And do you know what? Pre-baby, I said yes.
After all, if he wants to drop $100/hour to try and sell me, why not?
Then I had a baby.
My time preference just majorly slowed down.
I’d rather cuddle my bean for half an hour than get paid to sit through a sales pitch.
Everyone should experience parenthood once
But probably not twice. ;)
Childbirth is high drama, life-or-death stakes, with the greatest crescendo in history — a new human life. I wept for an hour when it was all over.
When you choose to have a child, you add a link to an unbroken chain of life-giving-birth-to-life since the very beginning of time.
When you’re in the delivery room, you’re not thinking about work or politics or your follower count or news or celebrities or technology. You’re focused on the one thing that really matters — humanity.
Raising good sons is so important right now
Parents don’t really parent anymore.
They just stick their kids in front of screens and surrender them to the corporate colonization of cell phones.
Toxic and addictive social media sites like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat are raising a generation, along with dehumanizing pornography and time-devouring video games.
Knowing we don’t own in-pocket surveillance devices, people have already started to condescendingly ask if we’re going to not let our child have a cell phone. Our answer is always the same:
“All our kids can get phones the moment they go off to college.”
Parents are liars!
Everyone says having a baby “isn’t expensive.”
Don’t listen to them.
We’re minimalists and we’ve already spent thousands of dollars.
(These same people also clearly don’t value their time.)
I feel deeply immature
I’m excited to enter the domestic monastery that is fatherhood, to see how it reforms my spiritual life.
The son will grow, and hopefully, so will the father.
Parenting starts before conception
Parenting was always going to be easy for my best friend’s wife. She’s wildly capable and mega high-capacity, and six kids later, it’s still a pleasure and joy for her.
On the other hand, I know other people who seem like miserable parents, and anyone could’ve seen it coming.
Kids require massive margins, a huge buffer of time and energy; that’s why we’ve structured our lives to get ready for it:
Scheduling 9–10 hours in bed each night
Not over-booking social engagements
Not have any unnecessary bills and expenses
Not having time-devouring apps like Netflix, social media, TV, news, etc
Not having too many possessions or a huge house that requires cleaning and maintenance.
Getting sleep makes you a better and more capable person
My top three life priorities right now are faith, sleep, and nothing else.
I can’t work without sleep.
I can’t serve my wife without sleep.
I can’t love my little boy without sleep.
Going over two straight days without sleep reminded me once again how horribly homo sapiens function without their needed 9–12 hours per night.
If you want to serve those you love, make unapologetic room for rest.
Our birth preferences: low light, quiet, calm birth, mid-wife only, natural, in a pool.
It ended on an operating table in a bright room filled with noise and machinery and eleven doctors in surgical gear.
Every time the plans changed — when they kicked us out of the hospital because things were progressing too slowly and we had to spend 11 hours in a pub, when they kicked us out of the midwife-led pool room for the same reason, when they told us a natural birth wasn’t going to happen — it was prayers for soul-deep shalom that got us through.
Because we’d prepared for all of it.
Stoically prepare to lose it all
A few years ago, my dear college roommate lost a days-old baby girl.
When my wife’s best friend was nineteen, she died in a truck accident.
Since the moment I learned Michelle was pregnant, I’ve been holding this baby with an open hand and will continue to do so until the day I or he dies.
We can hope for tomorrow, and even plan for it a bit, but it’s not a promise or guarantee and we should reject our selfish expectations and entitlements. We’re owed nothing. So far, we’ve basked in the full enjoyment of every day of pregnancy and one day of life outside the womb.
If it ends tomorrow, it will have been enough.
Because age doesn’t matter if all the love has been extracted from each day, hour, and moment.
A day-old child, a nineteen-year-old girl, a ninety-five-year-old man… every life is a full life.
I can finally be totally honest about overpopulation
If you don’t have kids and you mention overpopulation, parents give you a smug look that says, “Well you’re not a parent so obviously you must hate kids deep down and your perspective doesn’t actually matter.”
Now that I have one biological child, I’m going to push far harder on the #1 thing impacting our planet.
The First Rule of Earth Club was just the opening salvo.
Maternal healthcare is an unconditional universal human right
I’ve only ever lived in countries with national healthcare services, and anyone who understands basic math knows that a fully-privatized healthcare system is blatant insurance fraud, but even the most right-wing pro-human voter can surely admit that covering the costs of adding a new taxpayer to the register is money well-invested.
My wife’s cousin had a baby in Florida and it cost her over $10,000… and she had great insurance through her husband’s job as an underwater robot controller in the oil industry.
What about the millions of American moms without husbands, or without husbands who make six figures a year and have killer insurance?
How can we call ourselves anything but anti-social and anti-human if we allow women to suffer risk and pain without all the support they needs and deserves so they can literally create life and continue the human race?
Mind over matter is undeniably real
I coached Michelle through more than 375 contractions over sixty seconds in length.
For 38 hours, she surrendered her will to mine.
“On your next breath out, untense your neck.”
And she would, despite the horrific pain.
“Breathe in peace, breathe out pain.”
And she would.
“Okay, contraction’s over, reset to zero and relax your entire body.”
And she would drop to the bed like a stone, totally relaxed.
Not once in 38 hours did she raise her voice.
Not once did she yell.
Not once did she scream.
Her mind was completely in control of her body.
I’m mad about the world my son has to grow up in
If we keep on our insane trajectory…
He’ll have to compete with robots for work.
He’ll have to navigate totalitarian social credit systems and surveillance panopticoins.
He’ll face resource shortages, extreme weather events, species collapses, and massive societal strains caused by climate change refugees.
He’ll witness the complete privatization of public services in the hands of the corporatocracy, and the cessation of the charade of democracy as the world descends into corporate oligarchy.
He’ll never be able to own a home because they’ll cost $10+ million
Of course, his Daddy and many others are doing their best to fight against all of these corruptions and injustices, but there simply aren’t enough leaders who actually understand the challenges that predator elites pose to human life and widespread flourishing.
In that sense, having a child amidst this corrupt corporatocracy is part of our act of resistance.
It’s also a declaration of hope.