Feb 18, 2024

Don't miss The Floop

To the parents-to-be considering a natural birth together, I wrote this to you a day after my child was born, after Yoana at The Zebras and I were talking about concerns and taboos that are on people’s minds. (Bulgaria has a isolating, clinical approach to childbirth, and now has one of the world’s highest C-section rates at 50%. The Zebras have demonstrated how to get that down to 5% with natural childbirth and elevating mother’s comfort.)

I knew my wife Boyana was strong and capable (as do all her friends), but there is nothing like being there to see this. Now I really know. I can only describe being there in cliches: a marvel, a wonder, a privilege – because this is the truth.

But let’s be more direct, dear parents-to-be! Especially if you’re feeling unsure, let’s say what we’re really thinking.

This is a deep and raw way of seeing your child into this world. I was wondering about seeing my love in such a primal state. She would howl, grunt, and swell in front of me. She’d barely be able to speak. I’d see her body in ways that scared both of us. We worried about seeing blood and shit. Would it all mess up our sex life?

I can say now with confidence that every reservation we had was trivial. What were we even worried about? Looking back, we were about to go on the most amazing hike, to a place of natural transformative beauty, and we were worried about maybe getting blisters! These things we worried about didn’t matter at all. 0%. We were enveloped by bringing life into our world, and the emotional growth of letting nature take its course, being part of this amazing cycle of life. Of course it was a physical challenge, but that is not what the experience was about. We were flying through the stars, not slogging through mud. And we started his life by parenting together.

In terms of how I see her now, my admiration has only hit a new level. Nothing but positives and our love and affection is only stronger. Nothing deterred at all. Quite the opposite.

There’s something way more important to share though.

I can’t imagine leaving her to this experience, within herself during the birth, and the 3 challenging days in the hospital afterwards.

Our birth was only 8 hours from first contractions, but still a long climb. There are so many moments when being there to know her, to hold her hand, to pick the right music or just be a familiar friend to hold onto, all helped this be a personal, loving experience. There are things that only you can do as a partner. Trust me. You will know how to do them when those moments come.

Of course, everything is orchestrated expertly by The Zebras. With our doula Mira, they worked together like old friends, an atmosphere of steadfastness and care at every step. We had full confidence through our various complications. There were many moments where they knew exactly what to do, and a few where it was for me to understand Boyana and be her confidante. Mainly, I did as The Zebras suggested, because they knew where to put me to be most helpful, and Mira was always behind us, supporting, coaching, and knowing exactly how to bring comfort.

What I didn’t anticipate was how needed I’d be in the recovery days in the hospital afterwards, able to lift, move around the room, source things from outside, etc. Able to stay awake to watch the baby so she’d know she could fully sleep for a few hours. That was huge.

And to spend time with my little boy in his first moments, to know each other and learn together from the start. So much development happens in those days, so much of the communication and rhythms are established. He knows me from the start as a safe place. My presence calms him. From crying, he falls asleep on my chest in seconds. I can’t imagine waiting to meet him only on his fourth day.

Seeing the start of a life, to be part of that rush into existence, is such a meaningful experience. Even being beside the birthing pool, face-to-face with Boyana, I sensed “the floop” of our baby coming out. I sensed it before they told us. Being there connected all 3 of us by the heart instantly. And it galvanised me as a father, a protector and a role model. I think differently and make decisions more directly now, instantly activated by this strike of lightning.

So, if you have the ability to be there, count yourself lucky. Don’t miss the floop.

What am I up to these days?

I’m a new parent, and prioritising my attention on our new rhythms as a family. I’m also having fun with slow creative pursuits: making a few apps, writing, etc.

Work-wise, I’m trekking along at a cozy pace, with a few non-exec, advisory roles for cryptography and microchip manufacturing programs.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in starting the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Contact me

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams