• Dr. Elliot Berlin, DC
  • Apr 17, 24

114: Scrambled Eggspectations and my dairy aisle dad moment – Expectations #3

When labor began, I felt that nesting urge surge through me like an electric current. "Honey, I'll be right back," I said, "Just need to grab some wood for shelves at Home Depot!" My amazing wife brought me back to reality by grabbing my arm and giving me a look that could stop a freight train. I wasn't going anywhere.

Dad. It’s a small word packed with so much power and possibility, yet for me, for much of my life, it held a tinge of bittersweet mystery.

My own father passed away suddenly, far too young. He was 48 and I was 19. His absence left a profound void, and though I was blessed with a determined, loving, rock of a mom who filled both parental roles with unwavering strength, that figure of a father wasn’t there during my coming of age.

I could feel his presence strongest when I was missing him the most: holidays, family milestones, moments when his guidance and wisdom were most deeply craved. Yet, there was always a flicker of his spirit, a warmth I could sense during those difficult times.

The road to fatherhood wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. Alyssa and I faced years of infertility struggles, including the gut-wrenching experience of difficulty conceiving followed by early miscarriages. The emotional toll was heavy, and a thick protective wall seemed to build up inside me. I distanced myself from fatherhood emotionally, a way to shield myself from the potential for more pain.

But then, something shifted. As we finally had a pregnancy that passed the second trimester – a milestone that felt almost impossible at times – that wall started to crack. But it wasn’t until a seemingly ordinary trip to the grocery store that it truly crumbled. Standing in the dairy aisle, grabbing some eggs, I noticed the expiration date – after our estimated due date! The reality hit me with a jolt: these eggs might be breakfast that we eat as parents. In that moment, the impending arrival of fatherhood became startlingly real for the very first time.

Then came the most profound experience of my life—the birth of our son. With his arrival came the most intense mix of emotions: boundless joy, a rush of fear, waves of grief, and an overwhelming sense of relief. My spirit roared.

Nesting Gone Wild

We lived in a cozy 900-square-foot apartment in Los Angeles. With the impending arrival, I was determined to optimize the space for our growing family. By that I mostly mean moving things around and building some shelves. I say “building” loosely as my complete tool chest consisted of duct tape and WD-40, and I’m not sure that I even knew how to use them correctly.

Not that it mattered, because our son decided to make his grand entrance two weeks early. When labor began, I felt that nesting urge surge through me like an electric current. “Honey, I’ll be right back,” I said, “Just need to grab some wood for shelves at Home Depot!” My amazing wife brought me back to reality by grabbing my arm and giving me a look that could stop a freight train. I wasn’t going anywhere.

Labor Pains

The labor was long – a 42-hour marathon where Alyssa showed the resilience and determination of an Olympic gold medalist. Platinum really. All this, completely unmedicated, except for 400mg of Advil which I popped every four hours for my pounding headache. In between my feeble attempts at support, I was utterly blown away by my wife’s fortitude, and at the same time felt immense gratitude for our doula’s incredible support, guiding and building up Alyssa in ways I never could have imagined. The entire experience was transformative. I learned so much about Alyssa, about birth, and about myself.


Some dads feel fatherhood connections and instincts early and clearly. I didn’t. I felt distant during pregnancy and even after our son arrived it took time for me to feel like a dad. During the first year I benefited a lot from reading Armin Brott’s “The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year.” In retrospect, his other book “The Expectant Father: the Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-be” might have been more helpful at that point.

If my experience resonates, the documentary “Prenatal Memory” might be incredibly meaningful to you as well. The film, by Japanese researcher Dr. Akira Ikegawa, explores the idea that a baby’s experiences in the womb can shape their development and even leave lasting memories. It highlights the power of stimuli like the mother’s voice, music, and emotions in creating an early bond and influencing a child’s life. Understanding this unique connection can inspire expectant parents to engage with their unborn baby more consciously, through talking, singing, and fostering a calm, nurturing environment – all of which has the potential to create a positive impact on both the baby and the parents themselves. For further exploration of the concept of prenatal memory, check out my podcast interview with Dr. Akira Ikegawa (episode 352) or our companion blog post (number 81.)

Conversation: The journey of fatherhood is full of surprises. What was your “AHA!” moment? Share this post and tag a friend who might be going through this journey, or share your own story on social media using #InformedPregnancy.

Yours in health, Dr. B

Dr. Elliot Berlin, DC is an award-winning pregnancy-focused chiropractor and creator of Informed Pregnancy Media which includes his popular long-running The Informed Pregnancy Podcast in addition to a blog and a number of original shows featured on his streaming channel Informed Pregnancy+. Dr. Berlin’s goal is to use his passion for media and entertainment as a means of spreading information and awareness on topics that growing families need to make informed choices about fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.