Fatherhood - Perspective of a new dad

Fatherhood - Perspective of a new dad

How did you think your life would change before baby arrived?

You are always told that life will be different but you are not really prepared for exactly how different. I knew that my priorities would need to change and that I would need to put the baby first.

My parents were so supportive of me and I want to give my children the same opportunities. I appreciated that we would not be able to do all the sorts of things we used to but really want to make sure that I continue to play my sport and allow my wife some time to herself in the future.

 

How has the reality of baby arriving compared to your expectations?

It is different to what I thought.  I had focused a lot on getting through the pregnancy; we have had a difficult journey to get to this point and you get the sudden realisation that the nerves and worry are not going to go away when they are born.

It has taken me away from my wife a little – we do not have time together anymore which I do miss – I know with time we will get some of this back but it wont be the same.  This makes me more pleased that we waited a few years before trying so we could have time together.

Spending time with the little dude is suddenly the most amazing thing in the world – watching him grow and change even in the first couple of weeks. You can survive on 3 hours sleep! More hands are better than less!  Support from family and friends is vital to survive You eat a lot more biscuits!

Have their been times when you have felt redundant or sidelined?

new-dadNot massively yet although I think it will get worse now I am back at work, as he will become more used to his Mum as he will spend more time with her.

I found the birth very, very difficult.  I was very scared going in to it that there was a chance I could lose one or both of the people I love the most in the world.

No one really talks about birth for the partner and there is very limited sympathy around.

My wife’s labour was relatively traumatic (30 hour labour, epidural and forceps) and the thought of it now still really upsets me.  The nurses did a great job of looking after my wife, but there really is no support for the partner.

I had never seen my wife so exhausted and in so much pain; knowing that Evan was also in pain and the pair of them were hurting each other was awful.  My wife was also looking for support and as you have done for the whole of pregnancy, I am saying things like ‘this is normal’ and ‘you are doing really well’ when I have NO idea whether this is the case or not.

Other than that, so far I have been very ‘hands on’ with him – I am doing nights so get to spend some time with him then.  Coming back to work has been hard; I miss him and my wife a lot.

 

Do you feel it is harder to bond and develop a relationship with baby than it is for your partner?

Not so far – being off work and my wife breast feeding has meant I have spent time with him; he likes sleeping on me and seems to calm down quicker with me – I think it is my heartbeat – he actively looks for it when I hold him.

 

What's been your role in feeding?

Looking after my wife – she needs to drink and eat.  I am often getting biscuits, bottles of water and feeding her yoghurt.  It’s a good time for her to eat, as she can’t do anything else.
Breast-feeding is really draining for her so I need to look after her.

Burping – he can sometimes get confused when his mum burps him as he smells the food so I take this role.  It also means at night that she can get 20 minutes extra sleep.

 

What, now that baby is here, has been the greatest joy of fatherhood?

Premature babyIt’s amazing to think that you made the little person in front of you.  It’s a funny feeling really – Generally I fell awesomely scared and petrified but also so grateful to have him in our life – I guess that is the joy bit.

People always say ‘you must be so happy’ I am not sure that is the right emotion but I am not sure what is the right word.  When you have wanted something so much, I can’t help but love every minute with him.

It’s amazing to think that you made the little person in front of you.  It’s a funny feeling really – Generally I fell awesomely scared and petrified but also so grateful to have him in our life – I guess that is the joy bit.

People always say ‘you must be so happy’ I am not sure that is the right emotion but I am not sure what is the right word.  When you have wanted something so much, I can’t help but love every minute with him.

 

What impact has babies arrival had on your relationship with your partner?

I am incredibly proud of what she is doing day by day.  The pregnancy and birth have not been easy for her and she is doing so amazingly well.  You become more of a team than lovers I guess at the moment.

I see her but I don’t really spend time with her.  I miss holding her – pregnancy kind of prepares you for that as she gets bigger its more tough.  I feel like we will need to re-invent our relationship as he gets bigger.

 

What have been the key ways you have been able to support your partner?

Early days but I have tried as much as I can to be cool calm and collected when she is not – and vice versa – we are good at that. Burping has been helpful Taking the night shifts Supporting her decisions with regard to daily stuff Reminding her that I am so proud of her Trying to do as much as we can together

Parent & Co would like to thank the contributor for his frank, honest and enlightening insight into his first few weeks of fatherhood. We hope it is thought provoking and recognises the challenges for dad's in the first few weeks and importance of considering a father's needs at a time when they tend to be ostracised.

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