Becoming a dad

I just become a dad and writing down my things that helped me prepare and overcome stress. I hope you find them valuable.

...and how do YOU feel?

14 Oct 2019 ~4 minutes read » wellbeing

There is a lot of buzz upon arrival of a baby, especially when it’s the first one. Friends send a stream of congratulations and best wishes, our closest ones start to check-in hourly, and maybe you even get a mention at work. They are asking how mum and baby are feeling, offering help and support, and occasionally cracking a joke about sleepless nights starting. You know, the usual stuff.

Because childbirth is rather hard endeavour and both baby and mum would be exhausted and willing to rest (if they don’t look like it, it doesn’t mean they are not tired, they are just high on hormones so give them time to recover). As a partner, it’s our responsibility to handle public relations, and we’ll do most of the talking, social media, photos etc. I started to notify people and managing most of the traffic, letting my partner talk only to few dearest ones.

This was the time when I got surprised by a few of my friends. They asked how mum and baby are feeling, and gave the account of the story, with the level of details agreed beforehand with my partner, they asked me “and how do YOU feel?”. And they were genuinely interested, each of them for different reasons. Some of them because they know me well, and they care about my wellbeing, others wanted to learn about the experience of becoming a dad. So I responded…

I responded to them the best I could on the spot, and when I took a pause and gave it a proper thought, I was surprised by all the thoughts and feelings running through my head. I started writing them down. When I mentioned it to one of my friends, he strongly encouraged me to publish them. Initially, I’ve seen a little value in doing that, but I recalled my early days as an expecting dad.

During the pregnancy, I felt overwhelmed many times. There is an entirely new world of things to be learned, and I realised how hard it is to navigate. Obviously, moms and babies get a lot of attention, but there is little assistance for dads and partners out there. On one occasion, I went to a workshop that covered the whole being a dad thing under 10 minutes… with Q&A. It was deemed progressive…

I went through a few books helping dads understand pregnancy and childbirth, but I found their voice either shallow or quite technical. There are many excellent resources out there, but I really feel the world of daddyhood is more vibrant and more complex than they manage to describe. With few exceptions, the majority were considering dads as a secondary role in the play, and I wanted to immerse myself in this experience.

This is how this blog got conceived. I found becoming a dad as a marvellous and rewarding element of life. There is no substitute to that if you want to experience it. I intend to put tips and tricks that helped me to prepare and stay sane. I hope you will find bits and pieces you could use, or maybe (knowing that we all struggle, make mistakes and feel bewildered every now and then) it will make you feel a little less overwhelmed.

Lessons learned

Supporting a new dad doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Simple conversation and letting them know they can reach out to you can work magic. Simple things like exchanging few texts, or having a coffee together really matter.

If you’re a dad to be, really use your friends, family or someone you trust to talk about your thoughts and feelings. Your role as a dad is important, and your contributions to your family are invaluable. If you can, build a support network around you so you can be a support for your family.

If you know a dad to be or someone who just became one, reach out, drop a text, suggest a catch-up over lunch or coffee. Ask them how they feel about their new role, or simply offer your company.

So, tell me, new dad… how do YOU feel?

PS. I’d like to acknowledge all the people who reached out, asked how I feel and offered their time to listen to me. It means a world to me. Thank you… 🙏