As any new parent will tell you, nothing can quite prepare you for the first year of your child’s life. It’s extraordinary, exhilarating and downright exhausting! It’s beautiful and messy and frightening.
And while I’ve heard reflections from many new mothers about their journeys through the first year, I realized that I hadn’t heard as many from new fathers. Watching my husband, Dan, become a dad has become one the best joys. During the first couple of months of parenthood, our son was on oxygen and had reflux that often left him a little cranky (a.k.a. colicky). Dan was often the one to calm Logan, patiently rocking him or taking over midnight feeds so that I could rest. Dan’s servant heart was a lifesaver during those first days – and continues to be!
I decided to “interview” my husband to get his take on moments from the first year.
Describe how you felt when you first saw Logan.
It’s kind of hard to describe. But mostly I felt so overwhelmed with love, and the fact that this little person hadn’t done a darn thing to earn that love. I just loved him intensely from the start. It was so amazing to finally see this little person that you had felt move around all of those months. There was a new connection there for me. I was in awe of him.
What scared you the most about becoming a new father?
Everything. Honestly, I was really worried I was going to drop him at first. I was terrified that I didn’t know what to do. You just want what’s best for your kid, and you have to figure out how to do that.
Also, your post-partum hormones were pretty intense at first. I’m glad we got through that. I had to take deep breaths and really focus on supporting you in the way you needed during that time.
What was the first moment that you really felt like a “dad”?
There wasn’t really one moment where I really felt like a dad — it was more of a gradual happening. When he was in the NICU for those first few days after birth, I remember playing “I-Spy” with him, and singing and talking to him. Since then, I’ve always loved spending my time with him – he’s incredible. I guess being a dad just crept up on me.
What were the hardest parts of the first year?
Sleep deprivation. And more sleep deprivation. It was also a challenge to find a routine and some consistency throughout the first year. I’m definitely a person who thrives on routine.
If you could describe the first few weeks in three words, what would they be?
Exhaustion. Exhaustion. Joy.
How has life gotten harder since becoming a dad?
You have to be really willing to sacrifice your energy. Letting go of routines and free time has been the hardest for me.
Is there anything that’s surprised you about yourself since becoming a dad?
Honestly, I was surprised about how much I could worry about another human being. And how much I could love someone so much!
What’s one of your favorite things to do with Logan?
I love taking him to the park. I love finding new ways to make him laugh. He’s a lot of fun.
What were the funniest moments from your first year as a dad?
The first night we brought him home from the hospital, we couldn’t get him to sleep. We were trying to figure out how to use those Velcro swaddlers, and it just wasn’t happening at 3 a.m. I think we looked at each other and realized the ridiculousness of that moment – trying to figure out how to swaddle a screaming newborn!
There was another moment during the first couple of months where I was so exhausted that I literally fell asleep mid-conversation. We had just come back from dinner, and I fell asleep mid-conversation. I woke up almost an hour later. You decided to just let me sleep.
What’s your favorite thing about becoming a dad?
Well, I’m up early enough to see the sunrise most mornings – just kidding, not my favorite part. Just seeing the way he looks at me and smiles his little “stinker” smile. It just lights me up. There’s nothing that can beat that.