The moment you learn you’re going to become a father or mother is one you’ll never forget.
Let’s set the scene. ?
I was on the couch in our tiny cottage in Santa Monica, California. We had moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles only two years earlier. When we landed in L.A. we knew trying for a baby was the right move for us as a couple. We got a dog the first week we moved into our cottage, we were finding work regularly and we were really starting to feel like we’d found some sort of “home.” A baby was the next step in our adulting journey.
It happened pretty quickly. ?
My wife and I had discussed having children and we’d decided that there was no time like the present. So we spent about two or three months trying, and boom! One evening I remember my wife sort of casually saying to me, “I think I need to take a pregnancy test.” I vaguely remember saying something along the lines of, “Oh, really? Okay.”
As I waited, I was half feeling excited for this potential new life-changing experience and half feeling like there was no way this was happening.
There was a drugstore about a block and a half away from us. My wife walked with our dog to the store and I sat on the couch trying to calm myself. If I’m going to be completely honest with oh, everyone on the internet, well—I was bugging out.
How are we going to figure this stuff out? ?
The whole time she was gone I was playing scenarios in my head. I was comfortable being a freelance, contract-based employee, but would that have to change now? Does this mean we have to move? Where are we going to live? We’re happy where we are, and we can’t afford a larger place. Is this the end of our simple lives as we know them?
These thoughts ran through my head over and over and over and over.
When she came out of the bathroom to deliver the news, I was nervous and anxious in anticipation.
I’m going to be a dad? ?
The words “I’m pregnant!” came out of her mouth and a flood of emotions washed over me. Excitement, happiness, anxiety and of course fear.
Looking back at this point, I scoff at the fear I felt in the moment. However, this reaction is most certainly valid.
I was a contractor with a client base that constantly shifted. I bought and paid for my own health care. We lived in a tiny cottage with barely enough room for the two of us, let alone a baby. I was worried about how to make enough money for a baby. What schools he or she would get into. If we would be able to give the baby all that we got as children, only better (because that’s what you want to do as a parent).
There were so many unanswered questions in the moment—some questions that wouldn’t be answered for years and years. I had worries that I wouldn’t even have to think about until five or 10 years down the line, but I was worrying about them right away. But this is something I’ve learned to keep in check over time. Now, when I’m worried about something in the future, I remind myself that we have five or 10 years to figure them out.
In this life, nothing is answered immediately. If it takes years to define who you are as a person, it will also take years to define who you are as a parent. The only question that you need to answer in the moment is: Are you ready for these challenges?
I’m going to be a dad! ?
If you are ready, then make sure you focus strictly on the moment you’re currently experiencing—a shared passion with your partner about becoming parents.
Those feelings and questions that will surely come up for you, too: Express them to your partner. Tell her what you’re excited and happy about. Tell her about your fears and your worries. Tell her what has you stressed.
Being a parent will be the most important thing you do in your life. Make sure you’re able to share in all the things that being a parent brings with the person you’re sharing this journey with. Then, get SUPER excited! You’re going to be the best version of yourself for your child. You’re going to show them all the things you’ve learned and give them all the love you have to give.
Be human for your child. Show them excitement, empathy, appropriate emotional responses and that you are trying your best.
Just keep reminding yourself of this, and you’re going to be perfect.