Franco Mabanta Describes the Life-Changing Magic of Holding His Newborn Baby for the First Time

What this first-time father looked forward to the most was the so-called “indescribable feeling” of getting to hold his new baby in his arms. And as his girlfriend finally gave birth to their son last week, he can officially confirm that it is an experience unlike any other he’s felt in his entire life.


“I have tons of dad friends. I remember many years ago, I heard one of them say that the moment he held his kid for the first time was indescribable,” Franco Mabanta began on a Facebook post. “As the years went by and more friends became dads, each one of them would essentially say the same thing to me: theirs was a universally echoed sentiment that simply could not be put into words.”

He recalled how he had asked his friend “to take note of the precise feeling the moment he would hold his daughter in his hands” and eventually was told that it wasn’t something that could easily be put into words.

Franco shared that he decided to take up the challenge of being able “to somehow encapsulate what it’s like when a new dad touches his firstborn for the first time.”

“[On the day of my girlfriend’s scheduled C-section], the doctor exited the operating room, approached me, shook my hand enthusiastically, and said congratulations with the charm and confidence of a vet that had done this a thousand times before. (It was comforting.) Moments later, they rolled my son out on one of those glass boxes that delivery rooms use post-birth. I looked at the little person in the glass box and said nonchalantly, ‘Yes, that’s my boy,'” he wrote.

“But it was at our quiet hospital room where — out of nowhere — a ridiculous, unexpected avalanche of nerves and thrill and fear and sheer unequivocal happiness began manifesting. This was it. I couldn’t act cool. I couldn’t pretend that the best moment of my life wasn’t about to happen. I was really excited. Also, I was really scared.”

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He continued: “I’m unsure if most new dads feel the same way in that moment, but I distinctly recall that I was feeling a lot more fear than infatuation — and with that lopsided proportion of polarized emotions came this strange feeling of confusion and guilt. Of course I loved my son, and at first sight no less, but I also knew they were going to make me carry him for the first time and that was so preposterously unnerving because what the f*** does a guy like me know about carrying a tiny, tiny human? He looked so fragile and vulnerable and I kept thinking to my usually clutsy self that I didn’t want to break him. My girlfriend took a video of him being put into my arms for the first time and I looked pathetic, paralyzed with fright.”

Right then, the doctor suggested for him to have skin-to-skin contact with his baby.

“The doctor asked me to remove my shirt. Apparently skin-to-skin contact between the baby and the parent is beautiful and highly conducive for bonding. And I remember him being so small. I couldn’t wrap my head around how unbelievably small he was. Again, it was terrifying,” he shared.

“I was told to put one hand on the nape to support his non-existent neck; the other hand on his butt to lift him upright. Doc then said to place his cheek on my chest, using the soft part of my chin to guide the posture of his head. I was so nervous, but at that point, I decided that I was being silly — that this wasn’t the real me — and to just man up and take it all in without any self-doubt. So I did. And then my son hugged me. It was sudden. But that was it. No drama, no cheese, no sensationalism: that was the moment my life changed.”

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And because he did promise himself to be able to describe the indescribable, here’s what he said:

“We could always go with the ambiguous or clichéd and simply say that holding your firstborn for the first time feels new, incredible, breathtaking — all that stuff.

But if we try to dig a bit deeper and free ourselves from the acute, momentary intoxication of the bliss and love, if we try to assess this with sobriety and see what makes the moment so special, I think we might be able to rely on this…

Holding your firstborn for the first time is unique in that it is literally the one and only human experience that inspires all new dads and moms to fully accept — willingly and in an instant — that their own lives are no longer about them. Or, more precisely, that their lives are no longer theirs. The occurrence is miraculous in its rarity.

As parents, all we want is for our little ones to grow up to be good people. And yet we’d kill for them.

As parents, all we want is for our kids to impact the world with a strong sense of morals, value of self, and empathy for others. And yet we’d cross the most absurd and extraordinary of lines for their health and well-being.
There is no other human phenomenon that’s swallowed in whole by this much beautiful, definitive irony. And it’s pretty nuts that this phenomenon happens everyday to millions of people.

This year my little phenom was born.

He’s changed my life, my girlfriend’s life, and now the three of us are sitting on a happy wave, the breeze on our faces, enjoying the miracle of having built a new family together.”

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Franco welcomed his son, Sebastian Rogerio, on May 29.

To all the dads out there, how did it feel getting to hold your babies for the first time? Share your stories with us in the comments!

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