You may have noticed things have been pretty quiet on this site of late. That’s because my wife gave birth to our first child recently. It’s been just over a month since my son was born and it’s been quite an adventure to this point. I’ve had many new experiences during this time and I’ve learned a lot already. Here are a few things I’ve taken from my first days as a father.
I will never look at my wife’s body the same way. Watching my wife give birth and subsequently nurse him (or at least try to) have changed my view on the female body forever. All this time I thought her body was for my enjoyment–turns out her lady parts serve a much more meaningful purpose.
Seeing my son for the first time as he emerged from inside my wife was actually a pretty amazing experience… I’m not gonna lie. I teared up when he first came out. The process certainly wasn’t pretty, though. Seeing her vagina get used in such a way made me view it in a non-sexual manner for the first time.
My wife also has had trouble breast feeding and spoke to several different lactation consultants. Every time, I sat there while another woman caressed my wife’s engorged breasts. Normally, such a thing would turn me on but, in fact, the opposite was true. Watching another woman try to squeeze milk out of my wife’s breast with my infant son inches away was extremely awkward to watch. After one particularly long visit with a lactation consultant, I told my wife, that for the time ever, I was tired of looking at her breasts.
I have the urge to become the Facebook user I always hated. We all have friends who posts pictures of their kids on Facebook ad nauseam. I always hated that before I had children and I swore I would never be like that when I had my first child. But it’s extremely hard not to! I want to post every cute picture of him and brag about every little thing he does. So far I’ve managed to keep it to a minimum but it’s very hard to avoid going overboard.
I have gained an enormous respect for single parents. I’m one month into fatherhood, and I can confirm that raising a child is hard. My wife and I have been good at sharing duties, but it’s still extremely difficult to balance everything. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to raise a child by yourself. If you were raised by a single parent, go give him or her a hug. He or she deserves it.
Forget everything you read and what people tell you. If you are expecting your first child, you are certain to read lots of books and articles on raising a child. And you are definitely going to get advice from tons of people. Every person you talk to will tell you about a product you must buy for your child or a best practice they swear by. You’ll throw out most of what you learned within a few days after the child is born. That’s because every child is different. Half the stuff we were told we had to buy he doesn’t use. Lots of the methods we were taught in baby class or told by a friend are useless for our child. You’ll figure out what’s best for your child as you go.
The “sleep when your child sleeps” rule is a good idea in theory but it rarely happens. Building off my last point, one piece of advice I heard a lot is to sleep when your child sleeps. It makes sense in theory. Since you will certainly lose out on sleep at night, it’s best to get a nap at other times when he is sleeping. But rarely does that happen. When the baby is sleeping during the day, that’s when you have to do all the crap you couldn’t do the rest of the day, like eating, cleaning, and shitting. Just face it. You’re FUCKED. You will be tired for the next several months. The sooner you accept that, the better you’ll be able to handle it.
I stressed out during my wife’s pregnancy for no reason. I was EXTREMELY nervous for nine months. I just felt the burden of raising a child approaching and it wore on me. While a woman feels a bond with her child during the pregnancy, it doesn’t really happen for most men until the baby’s arrival. That’s how it was for me. Once he arrived though, I felt that bond I was hoping for and all those worries didn’t matter. I don’t mind so much changing a dirty diaper or getting up at 3 a.m. to give him a bottle because it’s MY child. Certainly being a father has been quite a challenging experience. But as they say, anything in life worth doing, isn’t easy.
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