When I first met my husband, he didn’t know if he wanted to have children. As our relationship grew deeper, I probed further and found that it wasn’t that he didn’t want to be a father; rather, that he was scared of being one. When I saw him play with his three young nieces—hide and seek, countless board games, even letting them put makeup on him—I knew he would be a great dad. I am just not sure that he did at that point.
As my pregnancy with Lucas progressed, my husband grew more excited and more afraid. That awesome responsibility of being a first-time parent really began to hit him—as it did me: those fears of the unknown, the What will I do, How is my life about to change? I could see these anxieties weigh on him, just as they did on me. In addition, I think that dads put even more pressure on themselves as their provider instinct kicks in, and they think about the rising cost of raising a child, especially through college.
When my son was born, I had never seen my husband so smitten. Like me, he was immediately in love and awe of our precious young son. But also like me, he was overwhelmed and bit frightened by the daunting task of taking care of a brand- new baby as first-time parents.
One of the most amazing things about having a child is that for most first-time parents, you and your spouse have this huge common goal and mission: raising a healthy, smart and kind human being. As we navigated new parenthood together, we often talked about how scary it was not to know exactly what our young son needed. Even with the stresses of early parenthood, in many ways I feel like having a child has brought my husband and me closer than ever before.
That being said, the first couple of weeks weren’t easy, especially since I was breastfeeding. Our son was so dependent upon me for food, and with feedings every 2–3 hours, this left everyone exhausted and edgy. My husband busied himself with cleaning, putting all of our baby gear together, running errands and faithfully watching our son, so I could nap at times between feedings. Even so, I could tell it left my husband feeling a bit helpless at times, as the time-consuming and vital task of feeding fell onto my shoulders.
I will never forget the afternoon we watched a DVD version of the book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Dr. Harvey Karp. All of a sudden Daddy had soothing “tools.” He learned to swaddle, rock and sooth our baby—in all honesty better than me. Once he had these soothing techniques under his belt, I could see his confidence as a father grow. Eventually, when we decided to supplement our nighttime feedings with a bottle, my spouse gladly stepped up to the plate, and I could see the bond between my husband and son continue to grow stronger.
As Lucas grew by leaps and bounds and began to interact more—smile, grab, chuckle in delight—the love and adoration that poured from my husband’s heart astounded me. Lucas began to recognize and turn at the sound of his Dad’s voice, smile when his Daddy picked him up onto his shoulder, and I could tell he felt safe and very loved in his presence. In fact, when I went back to work to finish 8 weeks of the school year, my husband arranged his work schedule to be home with our son two days a week. This truly blew me away. Though he was nervous at first, these days worked out great. We named them, “Lucas, Daddy Days.” It was a true inspiration to see them bond and thrive, and to feel my son was in the best hands possible when I couldn’t be there.
It has been a delight to watch my husband take on this new and different role as Dad. He has blossomed into a fantastic parent, a truly amazing father, a much better father than I think he ever imagined he could be. When I think of the man I married, the father of my child, the immense Daddy love that flows forth from my husband to my son, I couldn’t feel more proud and blessed. I truly have a partner, a man who walks with me and grows with me as a parent. That doesn’t mean we don’t encounter hurdles, but it does mean we are growing and evolving together, and my son is very fortunate to have such a devoted, loving and fun father!
Dear Baby Lucas,
Today is Father’s Day. We celebrated by giving Dad an awesome Star Wars T-shirt and card just from you, and another one from me. He really loved his gift and cards. You are really lucky to have such a wonderful dad. He adores you, and you two have so much fun together!
You will be 5 months old in just over a week now. We can’t believe how fast you’re growing. You are wearing 9-month clothes and are nearly 17 pounds! Many people say you look like you might be a football player one day. I pray you will play soccer. However, Dad and I both agree we want to support you in what, if any, sport you want to pursue.
Your big new thing in the past couple of weeks is making high-pitched squeals and calls. You are babbling and talking to yourself in your own special baby gibberish. You are also mimicking, especially when your Daddy talks to you, and it nearly sounds as if you are saying hello in response. It’s so cool to see you discovering your voice and testing it out!
The other big milestone is, we began feeding you some rice cereal a few weeks ago. At first you didn’t know what to think. But after some practice you enjoy this mushy white stuff, and even though sometimes more comes out of your mouth than goes in, we can tell you are starting to like it.
Your father and I delight in you each and every day, and it seems like every day is a new discovery. We are so happy to be your guides on this journey through life!
We love you!
Mommy & Daddy