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P: Parenthood (Guest post)

April 18, 2015

From the Dad himself…

The more I read what is out there (anything on the internet must be true) I realise that my experience has not been that out of the ordinary. I just hope to be able to do a better than average job with A though. 

S and I have tried to avoid “walking” into the next “stages” of life as expected by social norms. Like for instance we got married at what would be considered a tad late, but when it felt right. We also managed to evade giving into the constant nudge and wink hints of “now that you are married, when do we see the baby”. (I really must go easy on the quotes). A good five years later we thought we felt ready to take the plunge. 

What surprised me was that I thought I was ready, but started getting cold feet when S was carrying A. I had always been good with kids, preferring their company to that of adults, given a chance. Kids have a non filtered view of the world and all it takes is to treat them with the respect they deserve. I always found this very appealing. So, here I was thinking I am all ready for parenthood but the flaw in the sample set was that I hardly spent more than a couple of hours with other kids or had any experience in dealing with an infant. I started fretting on how I would deal with it and on the permanent changes to our lifestyle. If we would ever be able to do trips on short notice, or if we would be able to do any bike trips at all. If we would ensure we gave the kid a good life. I kept myself distracted with work, and when I got the chance, in buying stuff for the arrival of the little one. 

I tried preparing as best as I could, but then given that I am more an experiential kind of person rather than a theoretical one, this was a challenge. I tried gathering inputs from friends and colleagues, but it was all a mixed bag. The feeling of being unprepared kept rising. So I concentrated on making sure all the things under our control were handled. Like the hospital, insurance, house, office work, etc. 

D day arrived 2 days later than expected. S had to have a C section and I was doing the stereotype pacing with these thoughts of unpreparedness and of biting off more than I could chew. That is when I heard the baby’s cry for the first time when the nurse brought A out of the operation theatre. S would have to stay there for a couple of hours. My first thought was to ask the nurse if S was ok and then thinking my God this baby has a powerful set of lungs! The nurse took her vitals and then it was time to hand over the baby to us, which meant me, given that S was in the Post op. 

That moment stays etched in my mind. As a trial run, I remember trying to hold a friends infant a couple of months earlier and being all uneasy and tensing up. But at the risk of sounding stereotypical, the moment the nurse put A in my arms things just came naturally! I held her perfectly and felt this gush of unconditional and pure love. A all wrapped up looked like the most beautiful thing in the world at that point. I knew things would be fine and we would learn from each other.

8 months later and I am thoroughly enjoying this parenthood business. It feels just right. I am sure it also has to do with the life experiences I have had so far in preparing me for what it takes, and a few years earlier I may have been a different kind of parent. But right now I enjoy spending time with A. I enjoy being there when she is trying something new. It makes me appreciate human life even more than before. It makes me think how wonderful this whole process is and how natural it is, and how much we overthink it. It makes me appreciate and look at my parents in a whole new light. 

Fathers of course have it easier than mothers, especially in the first couple of months with the frequent feeding schedules. I remember being amazed that babies can be so demanding. In between feeds whenever A was awake I would love lying next to her and talking to her. It almost felt like she was talking back through her eyes. Everything else took a back seat after this. 

Putting A to bed every evening (almost) has to be one of the most satisfying and destressing activities ever. She senses when I am not at peace and she drifts off only when I am calm. Walking around the house with her on my shoulder, is strangely enough when I feel most connected and the most love for little A. That feeling of love for another human being did take me by surprise initially, and it still does. Like when she gives me a smile or squeals when I am home. Or she is drifting off to sleep, and just before she closes her eyes, she gives me this big smile. Moments, like S says, that fill your heart and it overflows or explodes with that much love. 

I am looking forward to when she starts talking, walking and the many many other things she eventually will do. I want to walk with her in a park, show her my favourite places, teach her, be able to share laughter, learn from her and do so many things together. I hope to be a parent who is open and be a guide, friend with whom she can open up. There will be moments of pain, but may they be far apart and few. 

Parenthood I guess is like the Matrix. No one can explain it to you. You must be in the Matrix to understand it. 

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