Monday, February 13, 2012

The Expectant Father

Yes, I am an expectant father. You don't believe it, do you?

From the moment I learned of  Vergil's pregnancy, I was very excited. Yet, I felt awkward about sharing my fears and insecurities. I trust this is only natural. What am I afraid of? 

I am afraid that I will not be able to protect and provide for my family. In many families when the first child arrives, there's this sudden if not temporary shift from two incomes for two people to one income for three.

And that's a tough burden to carry in today's world. The father has to be strong in ways he hadn't counted on before. He has to provide support not just financially but also emotionally: Our wife needs our help as she'll be undergoing dramatic emotional shifts, and  we have to be ready for her to lean on us.

I am afraid of passing out, throwing up, or getting queasy in the presence of all those bodily fluids. This sounds odd but this is real, as a matter of fact, I am facing this scenario.

I am afraid that it's not really my baby. Don't get me wrong, but if you asked other fathers whether they suspect that their wives had an affair, they too have the same thoughts. But this is normal.

I am afraid that I may die soon.Yes, I can't avoid thinking about the end of life.  I am not the youngest generation anymore. My replacement is soon to arrive and if everything works out right  I will die before my child dies. 

I am afraid that my baby or my wife dies. Childbirth is such a nerve-racking experience. Scary things can happen to the person we love most in the whole world.  We might lose the baby;  we might lose our wife and we have to bring the baby up alone. 

I am afraid to be replaced. Men often fear that our wife will love the baby more than anyone on earth — and exclude them from that intimate relationship. It's a very real fear of being replaced. It's true that having a baby can put a real strain on our relationship with our wife. It's also true that dads can feel left out of the powerful mom-baby bond, especially in the newborn weeks. But each parent brings different strengths to the partnership. The child usually relies on the mother for security, comfort, and warmth. The child looks to the father for his sense of freedom and separation and sense of the world. Of course, those qualities can come from either parent, but when all these strengths work hand in hand, it's fabulous.

I am afraid to visit the ob. Men are not used to the ob-gyn establishment. It's foreign, it's cold, it's something we don't understand well. Even as observers, many men feel embarrassed and inhibited around stirrups and gynecological exams. Hospital examining rooms and delivery rooms are not made comfortable for a father.