Congratulations! You’re officially a father, your beautiful wife is pregnant and in a few months you’ll have a new baby in your life. But you’re not a Dad just yet. That title has to be earned. In order for you to properly understand my first piece of advice let me relate to you my experience.
I remember my first son being born, it was a very difficult labor for 24 hours and he finally had to arrive by cesarean. I almost lost my beloved wife during the surgery as well. It was truly the best day of my life and the worst day of my life all at the same time. I told my wife later that it was the scariest moment of my life. However, as an expecting father you should absolutely, positively be there for everything on delivery day, fear or not. We’ll get more into it in a later post, but schedule your time off work right now for labor/delivery, and for recovery.
Now when I describe the ‘scariest moment of my life’, it goes a little something like this. Looking back I know now that everything happened in a matter of less than 30 seconds, but those few seconds can feel like hours. You see, when my wife was on the table in the OR she stopped breathing. There was a complication with her anesthesia and her lungs stopped. The doctors were asking her this and that and she was trying to respond, but she couldn’t. She stared at me with mortal panic in her eyes and mouthed to me “I can’t breathe”. I was right there at her side and shouted above everyone “SHE CAN’T BREATHE!”. Thirty seconds later she was intubated and out of danger, but that also meant she couldn’t talk to me for the rest of surgery.
So that brings me to my first piece of advice for you expecting fathers:
It is okay to be scared.
Don’t hide it.
But don’t be paralyzed.
You might hear advice that sounds like “there is nothing to be scared of”, or “you don’t have to be afraid”. I say these are 100% wrong. You have every right to be afraid. Bad things can happen at every turn. Labor and delivery is a big deal, especially if your baby will be coming by cesarean. Do not be fooled, having a C-section is major abdominal surgery.
Fear is one of those things that we as “Manly MEN” aren’t supposed to display, we are expected to be Gibraltar for our families, for our friends, and nobody should see you be afraid. That is absolute bunk. The strongest man is the one who allows himself to experience all emotions.
So be scared. Why shouldn’t you. You’re entire life is about to change. You’ve never done anything you are about to do. If you can do things right, though, you’ll transform from just being a father into being a Dad.
Because any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.