Revealing some fears about fatherhood
Written by: Christopher January 11 2012 This post will be […]
This post will be published on January 11th (check the date if you don’t trust me), and by now I’m sure Baby Spicer has bounced into the world. (Ed. note:Christopher wrote this before the New Year!) I’m not positive, because I’m still trapped here in the month of December. As I think about the January 4th due date that has now already passed when you read this, I feel a strong hope that my child arrives very close to that day. I realize my child can actually safely be delivered now and there aren’t any major risks for Baby Spicer to debut this December day. But I really, really, really want my baby to not go against his/her parent’s nature of being late (or at least not early) and hold off until the New Year arrives.
Let me clarify here. If my baby jumps out (that is what they do, right?) during the Christmas holidays then I will be full of joy and will be incredibly excited. It will be an amazing Christmas gift. But ever since I discovered I was going to be a dad and my child is due on January 4th, I’ve really hoped the baby would have a birth date in 2012.
There are two major reasons for this. First of all, I don’t want my child to have to share his/her birthday with the world’s most renowned and celebrated baby in the world (Jesus), because that basically signals the end of the poor kid ever having a birthday party. My second concern is that having a birthday at the end of December almost guarantees my child will be the youngest in his/her class. This means that for the first few years of school my child will likely be the smallest in the class, and there is a rather strong chance Baby Spicer may be a little behind in development due to being months younger than many classmates. But if my baby holds off until January, then baby doesn’t have to share his/her birthday with any major religious icons and will most likely be the oldest of the classroom pack.
I realize this little fear of mine is silly. No matter what day my child’s birthday falls on, I know he or she will be bestowed with a bounty of love and appreciation. I also know that even if my child is the youngest in the class, there is still lots of potential that he/she could make it to the top of the class (and by the time high school rolls around, no one will be able to tell the difference between a child born in January compared to one born in December). I know my fear is foolish. I know my baby will be loved and cherished no matter the date it chooses to saunter out (okay, this has to be how babies do it).
This silly fear of mine got me thinking about a few more ‘fears’ I’ve experienced over the last few months, and upon reflection, I realize most of them are just as silly.
I fear I’ll end putting the diapers on wrong (like on my baby’s head) or burp the baby in a way that cause its eyes to pop out or generally, fail at all the things I’m expected to do to take care of this little one. I realize this is a silly fear because even though I’m not the most suave or gifted man on the planet, I have held babies before and been able to avoid making them explode.
I fear I won’t be enough when my wife is going through labour. I want to be able to make the pain go away and let her know everything is going to be amazing. I sometimes get silly images of her squeezing me so hard my hand becomes a permanent disfigured claw. Ihear her telling me, “I did it, but it was no thanks to you.” Of course, this fear essentially creates a woman that I am not married to, and I know I’m going to be the support she needs.
I fear our home birth is going to be a disaster. I know it will be fine. We went to seminars and we’ve been told all the reasons it is safe. I trust the midwives who are professional and gifted. I still have images of my wife being raced away in a cab after complications arise (the ambulance was delayed by a pack of lions that broke free from the local zoo) and then suddenly we find ourselves stuck in an elevator where our baby is delivered by a 12-year-old paper boy while I cry in the corner. (I’ve watched too many 80s sitcoms.)
I fear I won’t get that magical moment when I first hold my child. I’m afraid that instead I’ll just be looking down at this little body and think, “I waited for this?” I know this is the silliest of my fears, and my wife will think this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever written. After all, I’m the guy who tucks his dog in to sleep and showers him with kisses every morning. I am really not a guy who suffers from a lack of emotional connections.
I fear that I won’t make enough money to support my family while my wife is on maternity leave. I’m a freelance writer, which is a pretty unpredictable business especially when you’re in the first few years. I am doing relatively well, but I am a few dollars short of making JK Rowling kind of money. (Few = 10 million or so.) I have that evil little voice that keeps saying, “All your clients are going to find someone else and you won’t even be able to afford pants.” I have scary images of wrapping my baby’s bum in newspaper and going out back to decide which weeds are edible. I know money concerns are a real fear that many have, but I also know that I am again being foolish (I have solid fall back plans in place).
I’ve got fears, but they’re not usually around for too long. My fears often get overwhelmed by other feelings. Feelings of excitement over the fact that a precious life is coming into this world. A life that will call me “Daddy.” A life that I will cherish and love forever. When I think about it that way, these fears don’t matter too much.