I sat down with Ash and asked him to write about fatherhood. Questions ranged from his thoughts on fatherhood before we considered starting a family to how much they changed after Jai was born.
Read his perspective below.
I didn’t really have any idea of what fatherhood would look like.
I was more afraid of the amount of responsibility that being a parent entailed and I was concerned with what I could mess up than with any real ideas about being a parent. So before I talked with my partner, I hadn’t really been thinking about fatherhood.
After some conversations, once the idea of being a father cemented itself and I started really talking to other people about it, I really only had the expectation that everything would change once I saw my child.
Expectations & Expecting
My biggest feeling about becoming a parent was fear. Fear that I wouldn’t be a good father, fear that we would lose the child, and fear that we weren’t ready. Fear really was what surrounded everything, It took a while and numerous conversations for me to get over that feeling.
When I first found out my partner was pregnant, I am not entirely sure how I felt. I think I was in a state of disbelief that this was actually happening. That initial moment seems vague, but when I actually saw her I was filled with happiness and excitement. (MS//Mommy Note: I called him over the phone to tell him the news because I couldn’t wait until he got home from work)
The pregnancy as a whole was super easy for me once I got past the nervousness and taking the birthing classes helped with that the most. My wife had a solid plan and had been doing a lot of prep for post-pregnancy that assuaged a lot of my concerns.
My biggest concerns were her health and the baby’s health. Fortunately, throughout the process, my wife and the baby were doing well. In fact, her MS was being suppressed by the pregnancy. I was prepared for a lot of things: emotional mood swings… weird cravings… but in general she didn’t really have major mood swings. Strangely, for whatever reason, our baby only wanted her to eat healthy things which helped with her health goals. I had the easiest part, I just had to carry things and be supportive.
A Child is Born
When it came time to deliver, I was just in awe of what my partner was accomplishing. I was very proud of her for being able to give birth to him and just filled with love and excitement.
When I actually saw Jai, I was just blown away by my instant attachment to him. I didn’t expect it, I thought it would take a while, but I relished being able to hold him and see him, and see my wife holding him. I did skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible, which I do believe helped him bond with me.
Like I said, I was in complete awe of this new life that she brought into this world, holding him felt perfect, really the most perfect feeling I could imagine. There was still a tiny bit of fear in there because he was so small and seemed so fragile, but my feelings of love for my son and my partner were at the forefront of my mind.
Being able to hold him for hours was my favorite thing about him being a newborn. Just being able to let him nap on me, though he stopped wanting that from me once he became really mobile. Honestly, all my favorite moments are about watching him discover things about the world and about himself, I can’t really think of any specific moments. Although, when he first knowingly called me “dada” made me very excited.
Hopes & Dreams for my Child
I knew I had to care for him and love him. The only things that have changed over time are that I have gained confidence in my ability to parent and I have lost the fears that made me think I would be bad at it. I still worry about him getting hurt but I have started to see how I have to let him have room to grow and learn on his own.
I want him to have the freedom, ability, and confidence to choose his path for himself.
I don’t want him to feel that he has to do something to satisfy some external idea about what he should do. I want him to find something to be passionate about and I want him to know how to work hard to achieve his goals. I regret having very little drive or passion when I was growing up. I didn’t lack for resources, but I didn’t really know what to do with them. I want him to have to tools in his emotional arsenal to figure out what he wants most in life.
What scares me the most about fatherhood now is still the same as right after he was born. I fear something happening to him and even knowing that I have to let go of control in order to let him grow doesn’t help with those feelings. I know my job is to raise him and help him grow up to be the person that he wants to be. I want to be able to see that, which is what excites me the most about being a parent.
To New or Soon-to-be Fathers
Honestly, I would say that nothing compares with meeting your child for the first time, knowing that you had a part in something so amazing can be life-changing. Most of your fears or concerns don’t matter much in the face of that.
Being a parent is hard, exhausting and terrifying. It can also be exciting, awe inspiring and more rewarding than anything else. Everyone who decides to be parent regardless of how you go about becoming one should always remember that.
Our jobs as parents is to see that our children have the best life we can provide them, but the most important thing is that we are actually there to parent them with our love and attention. Its not just about the resources you have or about following some kind of belief that you have to have children. Being a parent is a choice and a responsibility.
About the author: Ash is employed as a library specialist at a local university. He loves listening to audiobooks and podcasts, which are handy things when trying to chase after a toddler. When he wants to have some alone time he can be found playing single player video games. His child’s love of the outdoors has gotten him to start loving nature as well.
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