Becoming a father was one of the scariest experiences I have ever had. The initial joy felt after discovering my wife’s pregnancy was overshadowed by worries and woes of the future. Yet, when the day arrived and my son entered into the world, my fears were replaced by overwhelming emotions which I had never experienced. Many men go through emotional transitions and realizations at the birth of their children; some good and some, not so good. Regardless of these, here are 4 emotional realizations and transitions that I experienced; and am sure, that other new fathers experienced as well.
PATERNAL – I know it sounds a little cliche’, but I had never experienced these types of feelings before. When I saw my son for the first time, I realized that I am responsible for this child’s development. Whatever I said and did would directly affect who he would be in the future. This type of responsibility transcended those which were common to life (going to work, paying bills, etc…). I felt a connection to this new life though we had never had a conversation or enjoyed an afternoon outing.
PRIDE - No, I did not have the ‘proud dad of a son’ syndrome (OK, maybe a little!). The type of pride I felt was that of appreciation and future expectations. To me personally, it signified a complete entrance into adulthood. I also was overwhelmed with a sense of duty: I would be the best father that I could be. Not that I would try to be like or unlike any other father, but I would be the best that I could be. It gave me a sense of foresight that when I am old and gray, I could rest in knowing I did what I thought was best for this child.
PROMISE – Up until this time, my outlook on the world was somewhat bleak. With all of the many problems and ills of society, I could not see why anyone would want to bring a child into this world. However, I realized that new life brings new hope. If I bring him up in a positive fashion, the world may be a little better. And, I had renewed hope and promise that he did not have to be negatively affected by all that was happening in the world. If I made it through many things, he could also.
PERSPECTIVE – I never envisioned how much I would change at the birth of my child. I thought I would still be me, even though I was a parent. However, my whole perspective changed. It was no longer just me or at this point ‘me who was married.’ My approach and perspective to life changed drastically to accommodate parenthood and all of its dynamics. Now, the change in perspective has definitely been beneficial. It has challenged me as a man, husband, and father to be in tune with what occurs around me. Because I am reminded daily: “This child will be a direct reflection of who I am.”
There you have it! These are the confessions of a new father. Emotional transitions and realizations once frustrated me and I resisted them. Today (7 years later), I appreciate them all; knowing that they have changed me for the better and will help me to be a better father.