According to science, we have 5 days left till the predicted due date. That’s roughly 120 hours, give or take a lifetime.
So naturally I should be feeling some sort of way right about now.
Well I do…
… I feel uneasy.
While I’ve been jumping through hoops these last few months to create this space to write about my thoughts, redecorate the house, establish the nursery, finish my Bachelors degree, apply for a Master’s program, pay off all the bills, make sure insurance and health issues are in order, and take care of preggo pants (the wife)– I haven’t really sat down and expressed my deepest fears with anyone. And since this blog is self-righteously named The Scared Dad, it’s time to address what I’m most scared of.
I was talking to a friend today whom, like many, is anxiously awaiting the birth of my child. She and I go way back, and she and her husband had just had a child of their own. This child changed them, and changed their dynamic and brought out the best in them. Although I’ve seen this with my own eyes, I’m not saying this with my words or observation. Saying that their child brings out the best in them, is their own declaration. Both hubby and wife have rejoiced in the life of their child and have told me many times how much of a good thing the baby is to them both as individuals and as a family. And I can tell, having their baby has brought a very specific swagger to them both.
I have another friend who had his first 3 years ago and his second just recently. And while getting used to being a father took some emotional life out of him, he stands tall and proud to be the father of his two beautiful, smart children. And while being the seemingly perfect father came natural (it seems), I could tell, and I felt many times that finding that well-balanced niche between being a father and being yourself is a struggle, yet if he were in front of me right now he would tell me how instantaneously your life changes when you see your child for the first time.
Over and over, and through and through, expecting parents hear stories of how great kids are and how they instantly change your life for the better. All we hear as expecting parents are accounts of how ALL parents instantly fell in love with their children from first sight, and how they knew–THEY KNEW– that they would do anything… even take a bullet for their newborn.
I worry I won’t.
I worry I won’t have this immediate feeling of pure enchantment.
I worry that this instantaneous overwhelmed unconditional love is something I’m not capable of.
And as I know I will take care of this child till my dying day with every ounce of protection, knowledge, love, and discipline he deserves, I’m sincerely scared that I won’t bond with my baby the way everyone describes it to be.
As ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve looked into this. This is a common fear, as well as a common experience with many people. There are mothers and fathers all over the globe who feel the same way, and have asked the question aloud.
What if I don’t bond with the baby?
Well there is no answer. There is not a guaranteed, “you will.” There are, however, many people who will sell this to you; “Oh don’t worry, you’ll instantly fall in love… you just wait till you see his little face…” or, “are you out of your mind? OF COURSE you’re going to love your baby.”
But I feel like these are false promises like– “there’s no greater feeling than sex,” or “Django is a really good movie.”
I have a friend who just married the love of his life. She’s got two kids from a previous relationship, and he loves the shit out of those kids. How do I know… because he’s not the kind of guy who would pretend to love kids to get in someone’s pants. They got married before the wedding because he wanted to legally be their father as soon as he could. That’s a very respectable thing to do, from the outside in… but to him it was the only thing to do… because it’s the right thing to do.
While I know the right thing to do, I still worry. I know that I will have a very special relationship with my son. I know this. That is not my fear. I am so militant in emotion that I deal with pain, death, and sorrow differently than most, as well as pleasure, excitement, and joy. My fear is being so calloused, and hardhearted for the emotion of love, that I will miss this moment in my life… that maybe I’ll force it, and have to secretly live with the façade that while I love my child, I didn’t love him from the first time I saw him.
So while this may be ridiculous in the nature of your thoughts… this is really a taboo that’s never talked about. Because realistically, it’s really a deep and dark stigma that nobody wants associated with them.
But as I finished my conversation up with my friend… she shone a light in my darkness with this…
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Posted in Did He Really Just Say That?, Fearwith 8 comments.