Fatherhood Friday · parenting

Fatherhood is an emotional rollercoaster

It’s Friday again, meaning another Fatherhood Friday post. I started this last week after discovering Dad Blogs and this wonderful thing they do every Friday, called Fatherhood Friday. So since I’m loving this whole being a dad business, I’ve decided it is only natural to make my Friday post about Fatherhood.

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It is amazing how things change on an emotional level once I became a dad. All of a sudden there is this little person that is helpless and totally dependent on me. He can’t do anything on his own, and can only express himself through cries. With practice, and patience, I’m now able to discern what they mean (kinda), but it is still so limiting. Then there are the times he just randomly starts crying and I have no clue what is wrong. He’s this tiny little thing, yet has complete control over my emotions.

When I met my wife, I didn’t just fall in love with her, it was a process. It was a choice (of sorts). Even now, I choose to love her. When times are harder, I continue to choose to love her, and when reciprocated, this is what makes a relationship work.

All that is thrown out the window when it comes to Bean. When he was in the womb, there was this detachment because I’d never met the little guy. But as soon as he started coming out, I was overcome with emotion. I was instantly in love with him. He’s mine. I helped make him. And let me tell you, those first few weeks were absolutely gut-wrenching. I had no idea how to deal with this new feeling inside of me. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. I was now totally responsible for this little person, whom I had just met, and was now one of the most important people in my life. I didn’t choose to love my son, it was thrust upon me, and it is such an amazing feeling.

I also feel more emotionally vulnerable. Now I know this isn’t a very manly thing to admit to, but as I’ve never been a very manly man, I’m okay with that. I mean, I’ve always been a softy when it comes to mushy things. I’m a romantic at heart, and cheesy to the core (sometime my wife loves to bug me about). Shows like Grey’s Anatomy make me well up without fail on a weekly basis, and I can’t handle emotional conflict in movies. But since becoming a dad, it’s as though these feelings have become magnified.

On Tuesday I learned that Layla Grace had died. She had stage 4 (highly aggressive) neuroblastoma, and had been fighting it for a while. Her parents kept a blog about the process LaylaGrace.org and were also on Twitter (@LaylaGrace), where I followed it occasionally. She had finally succumbed to the disease, and it totally ate me up inside. I couldn’t imagine having to go through that.

I mean, it was hard enough watching Bean have a cold. He started showing symptoms on Friday, and by Saturday he was coughing and had a runny nose. It was so hard to watch his little body cough, and feel the congestion in his chest as he breathed and not have any way to help him. So there was lots of cuddles, and sleeping (which was good because he was also a cranky little guy). That was hard enough, and knowing that he’ll be sick plenty more times in his life makes me sad. So I couldn’t imagine watching him slip away from me like Layla’s parents, and lots of other parents out there, did.

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11 thoughts on “Fatherhood is an emotional rollercoaster

  1. What an amazing post.

    I am not a mother yet. But I know what it is when you refer to the vulnerability of the baby that makes us melt all the time.

    I think the ‘baby’ link is stronger with women initially, because the baby is growing inside them. But once outside, the baby is of the couple’s.

    You are a good father.

    And I pray that Layla Grace is in eternal peace. Many hugs to her family.

  2. Incredible post. Perfectly captures the gamut of emotions we go through. We dads are a sensitive bunch, and I think that get’s overlooked a lot of times.

    My boss’s son died of neuroblastoma at age 3. It went into remission for a short while, but then came back full-force. That was the most gut-wrenching part, to have that hope ripped away from you. I don’t think I ever hugged my kids so much as I did seeing my boss’s son going through that ordeal.

    Hope your little one feels better soon.

  3. Just went through a week of high fever and crankiness with my son who is thankfully better now so I hear you. And I too cannot fathom what losing a son or daughter (more so now that I am a dad) is like. Great post and good to know that as dads we can be parents and not just “men”.

    A get well soon for your little one. Luckily they are much more resilient than we are πŸ™‚

  4. First time my little girl got sick I was very upset, I felt somehow I had failed her by not protecting her from germs…I know that painful feeling of watching her cough and not being able to do anything…Then she got better and the smiles came back, the nose stopped running. I’ll forget about the whole mess until the next time she gets sick and I get that same feeling.

    Parenting is tough…great post!

  5. Nice post.

    I was an emotional wreck for a few weeks after my first daughter was born and I still tear up more easily than most men are willing to admit. But then, I think there’s something wrong with men who can’t cry a little now and then.

  6. Hey man,

    Absolutely dead-on post. Exactly what I’ve been going through and feeling since becoming a dad. So glad you wrote about it too because it seems lots of new dads experience this but probably don’t feel really comfortable sharing it.

    I think it’s important to note to that as man, we’ve been “trained” to be able to fix things. However, there’s just some things we can’t fix: colds, teething, and sometimes worse – no matter how much we want to.

    I think a lot of understanding our own vulnerability and acknowledging that our life can change in an instant at any time. That’s scary and what makes seeing children and their families suffer so gutwrenching.

    Again – so awesome of you to acknowledge this and write about it. Best to the little one as well πŸ™‚

  7. I’ve had the same thing! Ever since my boy was born I’m like some kind of mega-sensitive big girl’s blouse!!

    Great post!

  8. It is so true how we are opened up into the intense worry and concern when we become parents. We vacillate between reason and hyper worry when our kids get sick. “Of course they are OK, right?”

  9. Thanks for all the comments! πŸ™‚ It’s kinda nice to know that I’m not alone in this, and that being emotional isn’t emasculating. I’m glad I found this Fatherhood Friday thing. It’s like an online version of my wife’s mom group. πŸ™‚

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