So, you’ve had the positive pregnancy test and the wheel of life is now turning whether you like it or not. It can be a daunting experience for many men who have no idea what’s coming. Mum may be elated and full of joy and you may be in a panic. Or it can be the other way around.
You may have no point of reference like I did. My relationship with my dad was a write off, I went into fatherhood with no one to get advice from, my own experience left me rudderless. I was left with the question ‘what the hell is coming?’
The day of our dating scan when we discovered that we were having triplets I burst into uncontrollable laughter, my wife the polar opposite, she was crying and shaking at the thought of carrying three babies. It was a pregnancy that took its toll on her and looking back now it was my positive attitude and show of interest that got us both through it. At least until the day they arrived.
Since getting sober, and before meeting my wife, I have tried to live by the principles of love and patience. I had made the commitment to outgrow fear and face life on lifes terms. I treated the pregnancy in the same way. Rather than panic at the prospect of having three newborn’s I was excited. It meant a life changing chapter of my life was ahead of me. The more I could show my wife support and involvement the easier her life was carrying our daughters. Sure I had a few doubts and fears but my wife didn’t need to hear them. To her I had to be emotionally strong.
And my approach towards the pregnancy paid off. In staying out of stress and worry she was able to just focus on the the job at hand. She knew that from me she could rely on me in the most stressful of events. And then they were born, and I was thrown into the flames of new fatherhood. Pretty soon sleep deprivation and stress became challenges of every hour. I had to work a physical job during the day and deal with the triplets at home. It became the most stressful time of my life until the girls started sleeping through the night.
But through all the pressue and insanity of early parenting I still did my best to practice patience. I knew that stress affected the babies and that my wife still needed me to be emotionally stable. I wished I had a dad to ask questions and get support from but I was on my own. Instead I eventually found support from online communities found on Facebook. And to be honest I struggled badly in the first six months. I had financial concerns. Our house was now too small and I felt as though I was failing because of the mental state of lack of sleep and rest.
But I did get some things right through it all. I stayed as involved as possible. Even though my wife was breastfeeding I could still help. I stayed awake at night and pacified the baby’s that weren’t feeding. I helped with baths and dealt with the witching hour after work and allowed my wife to go upstairs and rest from her day. I did my best to support her and had the humility to ask her what I could do when I felt at a loose end. She had already done the baby deal with my step daughter. My wife had a natural motherly intuition, she knew what to do in the times I felt lost. If I didn’t know what to do I would ask her.
Life did get easier when they began sleeping through the nights. Once sleep deprivation was out of the way I could get back to daily meditation and practicing patience and tolerance. There were times in early fatherhood that I didn’t think I was going to survive it. Times I felt like a failure but I stuck at it despite the pressure on me. And my involvement payed off. It was as good for me as it was for my daughters. I bonded with them just by being present with them. Even now I do bath time and the bedtime routine on my own. It’s my chance for quality time at the end of their day. It’s precious time for me and them.
So if you are expecting, or are in the early day’s of fatherhood my advice would be to stay involved. Be a show of strength and stability for your partner. And above all practice the principles of love and tolerance under your roof and you will begin to raise a healthy family. One that will be able to rely on you.