[Disclaimer – This series of posts is about my personal journey into fatherhood. There are an infinite number of ways to be a good father and parent and I made the choices I felt were best for me and my family. I do not rank or judge other peoples’ parenting choices so please respect mine.]
As I sit here with my son nestled tightly to my bare chest in one of our baby wearing carriers I can’t help but wonder how I got here. I mean, I understand how I got here on planet earth (basically the same way he did), but how did I become a father? I keep repeating the words “I have a son. This is my son” to myself and even after almost 11 weeks it still seems surreal. There’s no class to become a parent, no final exam, no certification or prerequisites. And yet over the course of the entire pregnancy and the last 10+ weeks I’m now a baby wearing, cloth diaper changing, nose booping dude who sings and dances with his son in his arms. Seriously??? The same dude who not too long ago was playing drums in a heavy metal band and riding his bicycle across the entire state? That guy?? I ask this in the best way possible – What happened???
I owe much of my journey to my wife. Without her I would not have found the books, movies, and other educational material to be the parent that I am. She’s so much more intuitive and natural at this; it’s amazing watching the interactions between her and my son, even during their struggles. I know I would have figured out how to be a good parent eventually, but a lot of the things I read I would not have ever done despite them making so much sense, mostly because I just plain hadn’t thought about them. Having all this awesome background knowledge has given me the tools I need to make better parenting decisions grounded in logic and facts as opposed to gut feel and urban legends. That’s a good thing for an engineer. 🙂 Specifically, I’m talking about books like Origins, The Baby Book, and Great Expectations; the movie series The Business of Being Born, and our Bradley Method prenatal training classes. To me there was no better way to become an involved father than to gain as much knowledge as possible from the moment he was conceived. To give him the best possible start I could in life was and continues to be my prime goal. I am blessed with the good fortune of physical, emotional, and financial health, and I definitely want to use those to advance him in life as much as possible. I want to look at him when he finally strikes out into the world on his own and say, “Son, I’m proud of you, now go make this world a better place.”
I want to give a HUGE shoutout to the Bradley classes and our instructor, Melissa Lee. Bradley’s entire focus is husband-coached natural childbirth, which is what we wanted from the very beginning. But wait, husband-coached? Me? Yeah buddy. It remains to this day the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, which is not meant to minimize what my wife went through in any way at all! I can legitimately say that I prepared for his birth and that I was there helping bring him into this world.
But would all this preparation help me out once he arrived? Would things go as smoothly as I had hoped? Would my training and confidence help me weather the storm of being a first-time parent? Would I be able to stand with the weight and responsibility of raising another human being on my shoulders? That’s what this blog is for, to figure all of that out, so definitely stay tuned. I’ll reassess at 3 months with Part 2. 🙂
PS – Feel free to ask me any questions about any of the material I referenced, or just weigh in with comments! If you don’t feel comfortable posting here you can just email or Facebook me. 🙂