“You’re going to be a father” (I remembered the first time I heard those words). I froze. My new life flashed before my eyes. This moment that I had been planning for was finally here. Within seconds of hearing those words, my mind went racing with thoughts. “Should I ask if she is sure, should I be happy, be sad?” I also criticized and argued with myself because I had not gotten to the point of ‘success’ before this bomb hit me.
After all the many thoughts, I hugged her and prayed. I breathed and then allowed it to sink in. Before I even utter a word, I instantly assessed, reassessed and I hoped. I then asked for guidance and support. Gradually I achieved this peace and was able to accept the fact “… forward ever backward never”.
I remembered my ‘training’. Having the experience of being the guardian of my niece and my nine godchildren, has taught me the ropes to parenting. Prior to this experience, my days were spent observing dads who ‘failed’. I did not want to emulate the same behaviour. During those times, I could not help but to think about the dream I had for my children, whenever the reality would be. I had plans to owning a home, a car and, was quite ambitious to anticipate getting even a six-figure salary.
The truth is the words “you’re going to be a father” have scared many. The father world can be a scary place. A place where we men struggle to navigate successfully, especially when we are about to be called ‘Dad’ in such a scary world. Why?
The thought seems to bring ‘the world on our shoulder’ (anxiety) and yes, some may argue you were doing the deed so prepare for the seed. I wonder and consider the extent to which many tend to go. How many in the heat of intimacy alongside a Bob Marley’s Turn your lights down low playing softly or Kartel’s rampingshop beating loudly are thinking this could lead to bringing a baby into the world.
For the most part, the news, “you are going to be a father” means joy…but then with everything ahead, it can be overwhelming. Truth is…every day different occurrences in our lives has the potential to make us feel overwhelmed. We just have become conscious and hone the self-council to take it one day at a time. There is no book on parenting to make any parent perfect the process. It must be lived- on the job learning: on the job training. It is a wise choice to engage in reading, seeking advice, and making various observation and preparation in many ways, however, do not be hard on yourself. Do not try to impress anyone.
Instead, I encourage every father to enjoy each moment along the way. Keep learning through the experience of fatherhood. The challenges will come. Be supportive to other fathers. Your better days are coming, experiences are not over. Many fathers before you have played their role many will come after you to do the same. It is a process. Let your child or children feel your presence.