Exactly one week ago my baby boy was born. He is our firstborn and our journey to have him almost cost my wife her life a couple of years ago, but now we have him and he is our joy and the treasure who makes our lives complete.
We paid a heavy price for him – I’m not talking money – and now we have him.
Due to Covid restrictions I wasn’t able to spend any time with my wife and baby boy other than the first two hours of his life. I held him and told him how much I love him and promised to be the best dad I could ever be – and I meant it.
My wife and I came home with him just 5 days ago and he was even more tiny and delicate than I remember him being and his tininess terrified me. How could my fat sausage fingers care for somebody so sweet and vulnerable?
Thank God the in-laws - his grandmother and grandfather - were there!
They were her strength when I failed. I love him dearly and wanted to be with him and wanted to support my wife and do everything that I could.
But I couldn't
I would sit with him and watch him with gentle eyes, but my fear paralysed me. It took a great deal of effort to do anything. I wasn’t shirking my responsibility, I was just so terrified of hurting him and in my fear I failed to support my wife as much as I should.
I knew every time I needed to hold him I needed to support his head and neck and I needed to step up with feeds and changing nappies as well as everything else. My wife can’t do everything – as amazing as she is.
And she shouldn't be expected to.
Our little boy is our baby and that means as a co-parent I have a shared responsibility to love him and take care of him.
I love our little boy so much and had to force myself to break my paralysis.
My wife still has a baby type of doll from her childhood just in case we had a little girl and I resorted to practicing on the doll on Saturday night with my Father-in-law’s help. He truly is incredible.
Then yesterday I took the plunge and forced myself to be hands on. I took him when he needed his feed and changed his nappy a couple of times during the day and I started to carry him. The first time I took him from his bed to feed him and I held him and really enjoyed him and then I put him back to bed and put him to sleep. By the time I left his bedroom I was in floods of tears and sweating profusely.
But I had done it!
I haven’t made it yet, but massively feel better than I did.
I regret that I let my family and especially my little boy and wife down, but I have broken the paralysis and now I know what I have to do and I can only get better.
After all holding your precious baby and loving your amazingly strong wife has to be the most incredible thing a man can ever do.
I am sharing this because I have shared many of the amazing bits on Noise but wanted to set down in writing the struggles I have faced and how that impacted my family.
Finally, I want to encourage others. To be terrified is probably quite normal, but you cannot allow your fight or flight response to take over. Your baby is your baby and your baby is your responsibility. Take time and set yourself to do things and do things right with the guidance of loving family members (or friends if your family are not so close).
Fear is a part of life, but if it takes over it can paralyse and not only steal what your baby needs, but also rob you of precious memories.
I have loved my little boy since the moment we conceived and my wife and I are soulmates and incomplete without each other and now I am ready to be the daddy and engaged husband that they both deserve.