I’m excited to share the below article with you today where my hubby, Phil makes a special appearance. Since I’ve been sharing so much about our lives as first-time parents recently, I asked Phil to open up about his experience with fatherhood too. Truth be told, it took him a while to answer these questions because his journey into fatherhood was not as easy as he had hoped. Fatherhood initially felt extremely overwhelming and it took him a while to work through a lot of unexpected anxiety. Now that he’s found his new normal, he’s opening up about his journey below in hopes that it may help other dads and dads-to-be know that they’re not alone. Without further ado, here are Phil’s confessions of a first-time dad in his own words:
1) What were you most excited about in terms of becoming a father?
I think I was most excited about having the opportunity to take everything I’ve learned and apply it to fatherhood. I was excited for the opportunity to help guide a life in all the right ways. I was excited to experience what it’s all about, in all ways. I was excited about teaching morals, values, principles and all the good this world has to offer, while making sure she was always aware of the truth in this life and was conscious of how to avoid some of the mistakes I made.
2) What scared you the most?
Failing. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be a good dad. No one’s ever really ready, and I worried that maybe I wouldn’t be who I needed to be for her. I still worry about that everyday, which is important because it continues to make me monitor myself and my actions to ensure that I am being the best man and father for her.
3) What do you wish you knew before your wife went into labor?
I wish I knew all the ways things could go wrong and how to help guide her through that process.
4) What tips do you have to share with parents-to-be in terms of what to pack for the hospital?
Oh, man! Where to begin? You definitely needs snacks..the food is horrible. Comfortable clothes, music, a speaker, something to help pass the time (movies, games, etc.), baby book to start filling out, a way to record everything and definitely someone to document it all.
5) If you could go back to the birthday of your daughter, what would you do differently?
Honestly, nothing. I know my wife would have just had the c-section and avoided all the labor but I wouldn’t change anything.
6) How did you initially adapt to fatherhood? What surprised you about your new role?
I did not adapt very well at all. While I was excited about my new role and having Naiya, I was uncomfortable, nervous and on edge almost all the time. I didn’t recognize myself or my relationship with my wife and that made me extremely uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like anyone understood how I felt and I was so worried about how I was feeling. I thought I was wrong for not feeling super happy about everything. I felt like something was really wrong with me. I felt alone with the whole world around me.
Everyone was always saying how excited and happy I should have been but I didn’t feel that way. I felt disconnected from my child, my wife and myself. I didn’t recognize myself at all. I thought I would be great. I thought I’d love my new role and adapt easier but I did not.
It took months to connect with my daughter and feel a new sense of normalcy again. It was all very sad and life changing. I still don’t think even people in my family and my wife’s truly know what I went through. My new goal is to make sure that every new father knows that someone is there for them and that they’re not alone. It’s a very sad place to be and I don’t wish that for anyone. With that said, I am completely in love with my child now. Everything has changed and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
7) What has the hardest part about fatherhood been for you so far? How about the best?
The hardest part has to be the first few months. No sleep, crying, screaming, repeat. IT IS BRUTAL. The best is when I finally felt that strong bond and connection with my daughter. One day it clicked and my heart was hers forever.
8) What has been your favorite stage of your daughter’s life so far? What do you most look forward to in the future?
Now. This is the best stage. I really look forward to when we can talk, sing, play, travel, and I can teach her so much more about the world.
9) What have you learned about your wife in watching her become pregnant, go through labor and become a new mom?
She’s my hero. PERIOD. Take that statement and make of it what you will. I have never admired someone more than my wife.
10) At what point did you feel like you started to find your new normal as a dad?
6 months, when everything calmed down and routine took over. I started feeling like myself again and #dadlife was born.
11) What advice do you have for other dads who might be struggling with finding their new normal in their new roles as fathers?
Talk, talk, talk. Don’t shut down. Seek help. Find friends to talk to. Don’t give up.
12) What are your greatest hopes for Naiya?
I want her to be her and live her greatest life. Practice good morals, values, principles. Don’t hide behind fear. Take leaps of faith. Believe in herself. Inspire others. Crush life! Enjoy life! Find peace, balance, and joy in more than success! Know her value to us and this world.