You. Are. Going. To. Be. A. Dad.
Stop & sit down for a minute, and let that sink in. Just breathe. Maybe get yourself a Beer or Whiskey. Take a moment. You are already walking the first steps on the longest, craziest journey of your life. You’re going to be a dad, so here’s to you champ. Congratulations!
After a whirlwind romance, or after weeks or months or years of trying everything from ovulation calendars to super foods to IVF or even surrogacy or adoption. Whether by fortuitous chance or by complete surprise, it doesn’t really matter how you got here anymore. You’re going to be a Dad. Somewhere out there in the world, there is a little jellybean sized blob, attached to the wall of a uterus, sucking on your wife’s’ blood supply & growing larger every day. You My Friend, are entirely responsible for that Uterus sucking blob. And yes, I used the word ‘Uterus’. This one thing I can guarantee – pregnancy & childbirth give you a biology lesson that you will never forget, no matter how much you may want to.
By now you’ll have probably gone through the shock and joy of the baby news, and currently be switching back and forth between the 3 axis of impending Fatherhood.
1) ‘Delusional denial’
(I don’t need to worry / plan / think about it – babies can’t be that hard right?!)
I went through this stage pretty early on. Some of the warning signs are “Sure Honey, I know we need to paint the babies room, but can we do it later – the baby doesn’t arrive for another month or so.” This ‘delusional denial’ comes from two places. Firstly, it’s one part good old “Male procrastination : If I don’t think about it – maybe someone else will deal with it.” Secondly, and often more importantly it’s one part “Fear of the unknown : I don’t have mental capacity to deal with this right now otherwise I’ll freak out!”.
That Dad’s advice:
Make no mistake, babies are a lot of work – but in all honesty, keep some of that delusional optimistic denial on-board. I think it helps with parenting.
2) ‘Overwhelming self doubt’
(Hyperventilating in a corner whispering ‘I can’t do this / I can’t do this’ over and over to yourself)
This one is bad. The self-doubt will keep you awake at 3am with feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. Those on the receiving end of a ‘surprise’ baby announcement are far more likely to be affected, and here’s why. Self doubt because it has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to be a father to your child, it has everything to do with our long developed and reinforced cultural stereotypes that as ‘Men’ we need to be in control of our environment, and the provider of our household.
That Dad’s advice:
Check your budget – you’ll be ok. You don’t need fancy things – babies don’t care how much their designer blanket cost. Honestly, they just want to be fed & hugged and rocked to sleep. And fortunately as your parent drive kicks in, that’s the exact thing you’ll want to do. You’ll do just fine champ.
3) ‘Horrified resignation’
(Life as I know it is about to terribly MESSED UP!! It’s OVER!)
Well, there’s some truth to this one. Yes, life as you know it is about to be shaken up in the most traumatic way. There will be spew and poo and fingerprints on EVERYTHING. And trust me, you just won’t care. Roll with it.
That Dad’s Advice:
There’s no way around this one buddy. There will be no sleep, lots of screaming & dirty clothes, and a planned walk to the café will take more strategic planning than the D-Day invasion. But hey, just roll with it – let your plans slide & just enjoy the haze of parenthood.
Honestly, you’re going to be a dad & that’s awesome. You’ll figure it out. You always do.
So kick back with a drink in hand, & have a look around the That Dad Life – read a little about my journey through pregnancy and the early days of parenting.