What am I supposed to do with this new being in my house?
17 days ago my wife delivered our first baby. We’ve had such a wonderful time leading up to the birth. The planning, the anticipation, the baby shower, the books, oh the books! My wife had a fairly easy pregnancy and we’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while. She had a long labor, but finally delivered and we couldn’t be happier… I guess?
It’s an interesting experience to say the least. Here I am, a dad, but I don’t quite feel like one yet. My wife read all the books and I figured I’d use my instincts. I assumed that some weird sensation would wash over me and I’d all of a sudden feel like a dad. Boy, was I wrong. I still feel like me, just a regular guy. Does this happen to all new dads?
Don’t get me wrong. I was the first human being to touch my daughter’s head and I am acutely aware that giving life is a miraculous thing. I know that every moment of every day I’m over the moon and grateful that we have our little munchkin in our presence. I am so looking forward to watching her grow and doing father daughter things together. I’m excited about teaching her and being there when she falls. I’m just having a somewhat delayed reaction of feeling like a dad.
I mean, I know it’s my daughter in the crib and I know that’s my wife’s breast she’s feeding from, but I just don’t quite feel like a dad, and I’m going to say yet, because I assume that weird sensation is coming. In my mind, dad’s have authority and they provide guidance. Dad’s are the man of the house, they are safe and the protector, unless of course, dad isn’t around in which case mom takes over those roles. And obviously, roles are, can and should be, shared.
My view of a dad is the rock that guides the water down the stream. He allows his children to roam, but when they stray too far from the pack he brings them back and sets them on a better path. Moms, of course, can and do, do the same. I’m just not sure I’m really guiding anything at the moment. I feel like we’re holding on for dear life with a raw nerve at our fingertips.
I’m keeping the house clean, I’m filling my wife’s water bottles, keeping her fed, and making sure to hold the baby when my wife needs to pee. I rock the baby and soothe her when needed, but only to buy some time while my wife showers or returns a few emails. I feel like a care taker in a way, but not quite a dad. Again, I’m not disappointed at all. I’m sure all of this is going to change. In fact, it’s changing by the day, by the moment. I’m just noting my recollections as a brand new dad.
And then there was this morning. I sat on the couch having some skin-to-skin time with my daughter. It was one of the most amazing two hours I’ve ever had. It’s quite incredible to have this little one grow right in front of our eyes. To feel the softness of her skin and to witness the purity of her being is indescribable. I guess my dad duties will wait and for the moment I’ll stay present and enjoy the beauty.
Originally published at teddymcdonald.com