Tuesday, 10 March 2015

What it is like becoming a dad...?

 There are so many adjectives that could be used to answer this question.  The variety of adjectives will elicit a variety of emotions.  As the process of becoming a father is a never ending development there is no singular adjective that would adequately answer the above question.

When you first start out on the journey to fatherhood it is mostly fun and happiness.  This is courtesy of the easily manipulated male brain.  The path to fatherhood starts with a great deal of action for yourself and of course your member.   This is why when the talk about whether it is time to reproduce surfaces it is so easy to consent to continuing our paths to adulthood by taking the next step and becoming parents.

I remember when Julia and I started to talk about having kids.  You are never quite ready but you know that this is the next logical step to take in your journey together.  The reason why it is so easy to consent to this next step is very much due to the fact that we as humans have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a parent until we actually have our own.  No matter how many books you read you will never be adequately prepared for what is about to happen to your lives.

During the whole of Julia’s pregnancy it felt like I was just tagging along as a spectator.  As a man your involvement in the pregnancy is very limited.  You get to experience all the discomfort and aches and pains that your wife experiences through observation only.  I felt very disconnected from the little baby that was growing inside of Julia.  At times I felt a bit jealous that she had gotten a head start in the relationship with our offspring.  It is an irrational thought but I felt that Julia and the baby would have this stronger bond as she had carried the baby inside her and I would feel like an outsider trying to win the infants affections.  This is the thing; how are we as dads to know how this little creature will react to us.  They already know who their mothers are as they have been with them for ten months already before they are formally introduced to us.

Luckily for us fathers the baby will be born knowing who we are.  From the first moment they will recognise us even before they first see us.  They will do this as they will have heard us talking to them and their mothers the whole time that they have been inside.  They will have heard you yelling at the referee and if you are lucky they will even know your name from the countless occasions that your wife has yelled at you.

I think for me the most daunting moment was not when our first was born but rather the next day.  There is so much going on at that moment that you are in a bit of a stupor just trying to enjoy the moment and make sure that mom and baby are contented.  We had a home birth for our first child and thus I was very much involved in the whole process.  I was in the pool helping and then afterwards we got mom and Bella into our bed to rest.  Once that was done I was helping to clean up and empty the pool and make sure that the midwife and her doula had all their stuff.  We were very lucky to have a rather well known paediatric doctor with us as I was participating in a study on male hormone fluctuations during the birthing process.  Due to the presence of the doctor we had peace of mind with regards to the health of our little one.  Once they were all out the door I just passed out.

So the most daunting moment actually was when we woke up in the morning with this little creature in our care and I realised that we are the ones solely responsible for their survival.  I remember thinking will I know what to do, but you do not need to know what to do as our instincts are very well tuned to rearing children.  The best advice is to follow those instincts wholeheartedly.

Just know that becoming a parent is a scary thing.  But like most things in life; the scarier they are the more rewarding the experience can be.