When people ask about my feelings regarding the baby’s upcoming arrival, I occasionally use the phrase “a bit terrified.” This response has disappointed a few mothers who struggle to understand how I could be terrified of a perfect little miracle. I would love to agree with them, but I remain a bit terrified. This miracle has to be raised by someone. While I am overwhelmingly excited about becoming a father, I cannot help but contemplate all the ways I could ruin everything. How do I hold the little guy without breaking him? How should I rock him to sleep? When will he figure out which parent handed down bad eye sight and countless allergies? Worries abound.
I have been reading various baby books over the past week, and I have found them helpful. At the same time, I continually question whether reading them heightens or alleviates my anxiety. They simply point out all the new ways in which my life will be unpredictable, and more significantly, uncontrollable. The what ifs continue. What if he can’t eat certain foods? What if he’s allergic to baseball? The worries go on and on.
Throughout my life, I have attempted to ready myself for the unpredictable. I actually attained Masters degrees in two separate disciplines, just in case my opportunities and interests change. By committing to every possibility, I prepare for the uncontrollable.
Thirty two weeks into the pregnancy, I hardly feel more prepared for this child than I was when my wife first told me that we were expecting. Unfortunately, there is no Masters degree in Parenting. I will have to face the unpredictable without fancy preparation. I will likely rely on common sense, some books, a little luck, wonderful family members, and my incredible wife. Nothing will ease my anxiety entirely, but the support certainly helps. Unless the Baby Raising Institute of America wants to enroll me in an intensive graduate studies program, the support will have to suffice.