Fatherhood.

It has been years since my life changing experience and it never crossed my mind to put my thoughts down in writing, until now.

It's hard to describe the feeling nor can one understand what fatherhood is until the man himself enters one. For every new father, there will be a sudden jolt of reality. It struck me as early as the minute my son was born and I knew my life have changed forever! But for others, reality may not hit for a few days, sometimes the changes are subtle, sometimes not so subtle.

It's felt strange how life suddenly changes and evolves around the newborn. The first thing that you will notice is that you start to talk about very different things than you used to. If someone would have told you a year ago that you'd be willingly participating in discussions with your friends about projectile vomit, breasts feeding, episiotomies, and the color and consistency of the contents of a diaper, you'd have laughed yourself silly. But you're doing it, right? And you're loving it too.

Speaking of love, you will also need to accept is that your relationship with your partner will be different. Before you become parents, you and your partner spend a lot of time together, nurturing each other and making your relationship stronger. But once your baby shows up, everything changes: now the focus of just about everything is on your baby. You barely have time to sleep let alone do the things that brought you and your partner together in the first place. If at all possible, try to carve out some time, even if it's only a few minutes a day, to spend talking with your partner about something other than the baby.

With that said, don't be surprise if you get depressed. Even though most people think that postpartum blues are a women's thing, plenty of guys get depressed after their babies are born. Our blues, though, aren't hormonally based like our partners', but may, in fact, have more to do with returning to reality. When you were an expectant and brand new dad, people paid more attention to you and probably cut you a little slack. But after a few weeks it's back to the grind at work, plus you've got to deal with all the bills, the sleep interruption, and the extra laundry at home. Futhermore, some men might feel that they are deprieved of attention as most of it are shifted towards the baby.

Fatherhood also made us men kiasi and kiasu. The first few months are simply littered with fears: that you won't be able to live up to your expectations of what it means to be a father; that you might not be able to protect your child or your family from harm, that you won't be able to adequately provide for your family, that you don't know what to do with your child, that you'll be too much or not enough like your own father, that you've made a horrible mistake. These fears and many others are a completely normal part of making the transition from man and husband to father. Some will go away as your skills increase; others will go away with time. But sooner or later they almost all go away.

Having a baby have taught me about planning and flexibility. Before becoming a parent, getting ready to leave the house meant grabbing wallet and car keys and making sure all doors were locked. But now, going to the supermarket with baby in tow takes as much planning as an expedition. That's assuming that your baby doesn't fill her diaper two or three times just as you're walking out.

Fatherhood does not come with a manual, its a life long learning process. Hence, ambivalence is a perfectly normal part of being a dad and you're going to have the same feelings dozens of times over the next 50 years. So get used to it now, it's a whole new world.


related link: Parenting post

Comments

Tina said…
New Dad? Congrats. Enjoy fatherhood. Wait until your baby reaches the age of 7.. lol..
MahaguruSia said…
No lah Tina, a few people are expecting or have entered fatherhood. I am just jotting down my thoughts that I have kept for years, so it can be shared. :)
Samm said…
Thanks for sharing your feelings. I know too, but sometimes just cant help feeling like this. It'll pass, i'm sure.
dSaint said…
nicely written man. thx for the tip. i guess communication is the key. heheh, if cannot talk to wife, talk to mistress lur. hor? ahaks!

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