In my finding my own mental wellbeing through meditation I became aware more than ever of the impact my emotional state has not only on me, but those around me. It is an understanding I placed at the centre of my role as a husband to Stacey and father figure to Frankie. I became a father figure in Frankie’s life when she had just turned six, so there was a whole chunk of parenting that I had missed. The really hard part.
Then the triplets came along and our world turned upside-down. The emotional rollercoaster we were set on in those early days was always going to take its toll on me as I adjusted to a situation that I had no experience of. I had never changed a nappy in my life, or had to function on so little sleep. I feared for the strain it was putting on my marriage and was hard on myself for becoming overwhelmed with a situation I wanted from the first scan.
I was unable to meditate and stay conscious of the rising fears and doubts within myself because every time I closed my eyes I fell asleep. Without the meditation I was sliding into trouble, and that only brought more fear.
I had expectations of myself as a father and wasn’t living up to them. I began to resent myself. The changes were immense and brought more emotional pressure on my family than I could ever have imagined it would. And all I wanted, was to be consistent everyday as I was before the birth. To keep spending time with Frankie as I did before the trio came along and promised I would. I had an idea of how I wanted it to be for us all and I felt I was failing at my role. I was losing my emotional stability and finding self-pity.
It was a while before I awoke to how self-centred I had become in the expectations I had. I felt the cloak of depression descending on me because my wife had changed and I felt so distant from her, Frankie was also struggling to emotionally adjust and I was too tired, too lost in myself to be of real use. And worst of all I was making it all about me.
Yet all that had happened was that I had become a new parent, thrown into trenches with no experience and consumed by the demands of three dependant newborns.
It was my wife that brought the stability in the early days after she had struggled so much with the pregnancy. It was her experience and intuition as a mother that kept the family afloat as I adjusted and found my feet as a new dad.
My mistake was, and always has been to put expectations on myself and others, it only brings resentment. And it was a mistake I made again going into fatherhood. And being hard on myself just created more problems for me and my family.
We did pull through as a family as the babies settled into their routines and I let go of my expectations, wants and needs. When my focus shifted back to taking care of those around me and when my conciousness returned I was able to find my place again. life became easier for all of us . It was never going to be easy. But looking back I didn’t need to make it harder. Living a day at a time is enough, especially as a first time dad.