The Surprisingly Emotional Side Of Becoming A Father
Dads get baby blues too, and that's okay!
I cried a lot after becoming a father for the first time. And I am not just talking about being there to see the birth of my son, Max, that’s a given, but even after that. The smallest things could set me off with tears welling up in my eyes. Everything from mundane, everyday objects to news stories about other babies or toddlers connected with me on a level I never expected.
My son was born February 1st at 11:17 a.m. and I had been there for everything, #ultrasounds, prenatal checkups, acupuncture and midnight Target runs for snacks and a weird seahorse shaped body pillow (I learned you can never have enough pillows during pregnancy). I saw him take his first breath and I cut the umbilical cord (is it weird that we saved the leftover piece once it fell off?). So after almost 34 weeks of buildup it made perfect sense that during his birth my wife, Julie, and I were emotional and cried happy tears when Max was finally born.
For the first few weeks of Max’s life, Julie and I lived in a crash course of infant care.
We were not quite mentally ready for just how hard it was to take care of such a young, delicate baby, for how much of a toll sleep deprivation takes on you and how you go from having all the time in a day to yourself to basically having no free time whatsoever.
To make things even tougher, neither of us had any family or friends nearby that were able to help out. No grandparents able to visit and pass on knowledge, no sister or brother able to watch Max for an hour so we can shower, do laundry or just cook and eat dinner. We were on our own and things were pretty hectic and overwhelming in the beginning.
When Max was one month old, Julie and I took our first walk outside with him fastened to my chest in a carrier. It was March, which where we live means cold and snow, so we needed bundle up with hoodies and jackets. While getting dressed I saw Julie’s lipstick on the counter and something struck a cord within me.
It had felt like we were holed up for so long, going from daily walks before Max was born to spending all day indoors, my psyche craved normality.
As my mind reminisced about all the times Julie and I would get ready to go out on dates, or out shopping or even just walking around Ikea (hey, we love their meatballs and cinnamon buns too!) I couldn’t help but feel #emotional. I had tears in my eyes when I went to Julie and said, “Hunny, it’s so nice to just go outside, to just do something normal again.”
It wasn’t limited to events in person either, suddenly reading distressing news about young children caused my heart to ache. Sure, those kinds of stories would make me sad before (who wouldn’t be?), but this was on a whole other level.
Stories like a little boy getting lost in the woods and befriending a cat, another was injured when he tripped and stabbed himself in the throat with a metal straw or a 10-month-old girl swallowing a water bead causing an intestine obstruction requiring five surgeries to fix all caused such a strong reaction within me. Imagining Max in these scenarios was heartbreaking. Being a father allowed me to relate in a way I never expected.
Another side I hadn’t thought about previously was the idea of if something happened to Julie or me, and Max had to grow up without knowing one of us. The mental image was #devastating. We have taken a ridiculous amount of photos and videos of and with Max so at least he could get a sense of what we were like, but that is a horrible substitution. Sometimes, in the early hours of the morning when carrying Max until he falls asleep, my mind would go down a rabbit hole imaging if I was in a fatal car accident tomorrow what he would be like in 10 years. He’s only nine months old right now, would he miss me? Somehow the thought of missing every single one of his birthdays crushed me.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom! Once Julie and I got the hang of taking care of Max and we had a good routine set up, the daily stresses faded away.
We are able to understand him and what he is trying to communicate better even though he can’t talk yet. His personality is starting to show and he is so #goofy sometimes, making him laugh will brighten anyone’s day instantly. Every day he gets smarter, stronger and bigger (man, he is so much taller), it is a privilege watching and helping him develop.
I knew becoming a father would change me, some of the ways I expected but the newfound emotions surprised me. My strong desire to continue the everyday activities that I previously took for granted touched my heart. The empathy that grew from being a parent caught me unawares. Max is still really young so it is exciting to think of all the changes he, Julie and I will go through in the years to come.
Has anything surprised you about becoming a parent? Share your story in the comments below.
Columnist | Gaming & Tech Whiz of Moody Melon Magazine
I am a game developer, technical engineer, an animator and entrepreneur with a forward-thinking mindset to bring cool ideas into existence. In my free time I read lots of news articles. I enjoy using my knowledge of the IT world to give my opinions on various tech-related topics.