Memoirs of an expecting father
Here are some thoughts from a novice dad to be and now new father for all the other Dad to be parents out there. Welcome to fatherhood your going to love it!
I would say I am a typical guy when it comes babies. Until my own I had never really spent any time holding one, or had anything much to do with kids in general. I was always too scared to hold a baby in fear of breaking it. With significant peer pressure I would reluctantly accept to be passed a baby and in doing so make body shapes and a face like I was holding explosives.
Usually my baby proud friends had to settle for me playing with their kids foot or hand and a passing some standard observation on how little it was, before quickly trying to direct the topic of conversation back to sport. I never even realised I could have just said, “wow they are gorgeous, I would love to have a hold but I shouldn’t get too close as I think I am coming down with something and don’t want to risk it”. This would satisfy the desire to hear that their baby is the most beautiful baby in the world and looked like I had their best interests at heart whilst covering up my total absence of baby skills. Looking back that would have certainly been a better option than man handling their kids foot and making a comment like “babies have small feet”, well you don’t say, they are a baby dumb ass.
So I guess to be honest my concerns for myself as a dad to be, before my beautiful daughter came along were similar to my partners concerns about me. Would I actually be any good as a dad and more importantly as far as I was concerned, would I actually enjoy it or would I want my old life back?
So it was fair to say as a dad to be I was excited but had concerns and apprehensions. Not around would I know what to do when I got the baby home, because I was arrogant enough to believe all that stuff would just come natural to me. But would I want to be a dad when the day finally came. So many people had passed on advice or comments in the lead up to D day, which basically led me to believe my life would never be the same again and it was a hell of a lot of hard work but… there was always a BUT. Every sacrifice you make is totally worth it, or some equally unbelievable comment when made following a long list of negatives. “Oh you’re having a baby that’s great, no sleep, money, fun, there is shit and vomit everywhere and it’s the hardest thing you will ever do and nothing can prepare you for it BUT… you’ll love it”. What if there isn’t a BUT for me, would she live up to my expectations?
I had 9 months of people asking me am I excited and building up the whole anticipation of the experience. My answer when asked was always yes, a very truthful yes, because I was excited, really excited. However the fact is as a dad to be nothing had changed for me in the 9 months leading up to the due date, my level of excitement often seemed to disappoint those who asked the question. My life was exactly the same, still working, still playing sport, still hanging with my friends, my stomach was the same size and I didn’t waddle when I walked. So I wasn’t Tom Cruise, jump up and down on the sofa excited when they asked if I was excited. I guess if you asked someone 8 months after they won the lotto if they were excited you probably wouldn’t get the same reaction from them as when their numbers first came up. Fact is they still won the lotto and that is how I felt, I had a little girl arriving soon and that was my lotto. Winning the 30 million jackpot would still be pretty cool lotto gods, so don’t think this means that I no longer want to win.
Perhaps some of the reservation in my answer was due to the fear of the unknown, the point is, I don’t know what the point is… But, I guess if you are asking an imminent dad to be if he is excited, don’t expect him to start hugging strangers because he is so happy, I am sure on the inside he is grinning from ear to ear.
So, did it live up to my expectations? Absolutely and ten times over. I have tears in my eyes now writing this, thinking how much I love her. My Monday blues now are not about being back at work but that I wont be home till about 8 pm and she might be in bed already.
I was right in having no fear around would I know what to do when we got her home, that was easy. Sure I was all thumbs changing, wrapping and bathing her but it was a joy to learn. Yeah, I spent the first night we got her home awake the whole night because she fell asleep in my arms and I couldn’t work out the best way to put her down so I just watched her sleeping for about 7 hours. That was one of the best nights of my life.
Seven months on watching her sleep is still one of my favorite pass times, I have to fight the urge to want to wake her up so I can meet her again. The only thing stopping me, is that she looks so beautiful just laying there snuffling away occasionally.
Sure my life has changed as I was repeatedly advised it would. It is relentless the attention babies require but every sacrifice made in providing this care for her couldn’t possibly feel further from being a sacrifice. Yes, it would be great being out with my mates all the time, as I use to be but (there we go again) there is just such a strong pull to home now that spending time with her is my number one choice.
Every day I look at her I don’t want her to grow up as love her exactly as she is but at same time every day she develops makes me love her more.
I could be better, I could always be better but so far I think I am a pretty good dad. Not because I feel I put effort in to being a good dad but simply thru the love I have for her making me want to do everything I do.
So if you previously had an aversion to babies and children like I did, I am sure you will be great because once your baby arrives you will want to be the best dad you can be. And personally I like the fact that the first baby I ever really held was mine. That made it seem even more special.
Word of advice, just don’t start calling teenage shop attendants darling like I found my self doing for a while as you get all swept up in your nurturing side. Because that doesn’t come across as caring, just creepy!