Guest Written by Johnny Brazil
“The feeling you get when you see your baby for the first time is indescribable.” “You never knew you could love something so much.” “You have no idea how much your world is going to change.”
These are some of the clichés we’ve all heard a thousand times from parents. As much as I hate clichés, they’re all true.
When my wife and I got married we did not want to have children. We wanted to spoil nieces and nephews and just be happily selfish. As time went on children became a more popular topic in our household. Eventually, eight years into marriage, we decided we wanted to have a child.
Being a man while your wife is pregnant is a peculiar situation. You have an understanding of everything that is going on with your wife. You see how she’s changing and read about how the baby is changing. You know that a baby is going to be coming out of that belly. But you don’t have the same connection as your wife. This made it difficult for me to truly share the emotions my wife was experiencing.
All that changed when I saw my child, and I instantly realized all of the clichés were true.
An overwhelming flood of emotions hit me like water from a breaking dam. It was impossible to keep my composure. The immediate love I felt for someone that I had never really met was hard to comprehend yet made so much sense. The love for my little girl is unfathomable, yet, continues to grow every day. I did not know it was possible for me to love someone so much. I was also abruptly struck with the fact that I was responsible for this baby’s well being. This emotional rollercoaster took place in the first seconds of seeing my baby girl. The feelings I experienced seeing her for the first time were unlike any emotion I have ever encountered — love, joy, fear, courage, excitement, and confusion all weaved into a tennis racket that hits you in the face — and it was truly the best moment I have ever experienced.
I used to think it was silly watching parents freak out over the smallest thing their baby did. Yet, almost every day, I’m excited because she looked at something and grabbed it or because she nearly held a bottle while she was drinking from it. I love this tiny person so much that her nearly accomplishing the simplest task is as if she made it to Everest basecamp.
The cliché of “having no idea how much your world is going to change” is very true but it’s also my least favorite. Your world will change—a lot — but you can still be you and do the things you love. Seemingly simple tasks, errands, and chores now require more preparation and planning. Running to the store is no longer a matter of grabbing the keys and wallet, getting in the car and going. Now, it’s check the diaper bag for essentials, get the baby in the carrier (while sniffing around to make sure the diaper is fresh… enough), grab your keys and wallet, load the baby, drive to the store, get the baby and diaper bag out (if she fell asleep try to do it gently), get a buggy or lug the baby around the store, try to avoid strangers who seem to think it is totally ok to poke and grab all over your baby, get the baby and whatever you went to the store for loaded up, go home, unload the baby… and the store items… and diaper bag. Errand still accomplished just with a few extra steps.
People expect the biggest change to be that having a baby makes everything more difficult, but what I’ve found is that having a baby can make the ordinary seem special.
My favorite hobby is fly fishing. Instead of giving up on my hobby “because I have a baby,” I’ve found ways we can enjoy it together. When she was about a month old I put her in a carrier, strapped her to my chest, and went fly fishing. It was the first of many such trips. She wiggled and squirmed, looked around as much as she could, and eventually fell asleep. That trip became one of the best fishing trips I’ve ever taken.
The tears I shed the first time I saw my baby girl, the heartwarming love I feel anytime I look at her, and how she makes me look at my world with a whole new perspective confirm all of the clichés. I was slightly annoyed with how right everyone was because I thought that I was an exception to the clichés about parenting. But, as they say, you won’t understand until you have a child of your own.
Guest Written by Johnny Brazil