I can say times were different when I was growing up. Fathers were different. I can’t ever recall hearing of a stay-at-home dad or hearing of fathers being overly involved. When my son was born, my father told me not to make the same mistake he it did. He told me about being involved with my son and to, “make it count.” I think I was a bit ahead of my father and started making it count before my son was born.
My wife and I had tried unsuccessfully for years to have a child. We finally had to see a fertility specialist and spent our own money to have a dream become a reality. I remember the day I found out I was going to be a father. We were actually planning on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and had almost everything ready to go.
I have heard many special stories about how wives told their husbands they were pregnant. When you have waited as long we had, there was little time for anything special. She just told me, “I think I am pregnant.” I of course was in denial and said something stupid, “Are you sure?” She replied back to me, “Well you look and tell me what you think?” She handed me the pregnancy test and it was a positive. I don’t think either of us believed it until she took 5 more pregnancy tests.
We didn’t go to Yellowstone. We decided to stay home instead. Missing out on a vacation and non-refundable deposit wasn’t so bad; after all fatherhood wouldn’t wait. The vacation could wait, my future child and excitement couldn’t.
Even though I already had a degree in Social Work, during the pregnancy I read everything I could about parenting. I wanted to be the best father possible. I helped plan for the pregnancy, purchase necessities and tried to do as much as possible to know our child before he was born. I had read how important it is for a father to talk to their unborn child for early bonding. I wasn’t sure if it would work or not but I thought I would give it a try.
Late at night, I would read to my wife and unborn son in bed. Amazingly, he would react to me reading out loud. He would kick if my voice got excited or become still if I started to whisper. He gave me a life lesson before he was born. My son taught me that he is always listening to me. He hears me when I speak. He might not like what I have to say but he hears me because I am important to him. I now try to always do the same for him. I listen because he is important to me. I listen because I am his father.
The day Xander was born I was in the delivery room along with many other people. My son only cried for a minute and looked towards only two people when they spoke. My wife was the first one to hold him and her warmth and familiarity silenced his first cries. After their bonding, the nurses took him to start their exam. I was able to hold Xander’s hand and I spoke softly to him during most of the exam. The entire time I spoke, Xander never turned away from the voice he knew as his father.
I bonded with my child long before he was born. The things I did before his birth helped me to realize that fatherhood doesn’t have to be overly complicated. A child needs consistency, patience and love. The only complications a father will ever have are the fears of not being good enough.
Follow me on twitter: DadblundersView post...