As moms, we have a pretty good understanding of what it’s like to become a new mom. After all, we’ve been there, done that! But what about new dads? What is their experience like? Is it similar or wildly different than ours? Luckily, we found two dads willing to give us some insight into their experiences.
Micah is a dad to one little boy who is almost six months old. Brandon is a dad to a little girl who just turned four months old. They were very willing and excited to get to participate in this. Truthfully, it was so much fun! There were many laughs (some curse words that were edited!), but the guys agreed that they wish they had something like this before stepping into fatherhood!
Thank you, Micah and Brandon, for your help!
Confessions of a New Dad
What part of becoming a father were you most excited about before the baby was born?
This might sound weird, but I had difficulty getting excited until he was here. My wife was overjoyed with excitement as soon as we got our first positive pregnancy test. But I truly do not think it hit me until I held him. And man, did I sob when I held him for the first time! I was cliché as it is, excited about getting to throw the baseball with him or coaching his first soccer team. The excitement and joy I felt when he was actually born were insane.
It took me a while longer to get excited. I had a little gender disappointment when my wife told me we were having a girl. Like Micah, I was excited about throwing the football or watching football with my son but had to kind of re-adjust what that looked like with a daughter. I read SO many books about having a daughter or being a girl dad, and that’s when the excitement took over.
My father-in-law has three daughters (and one son). He was super excited when he found out we were having a girl. His first comment to me was, “You can do everything with a girl that you can with a boy, but a boy looks silly in an Easter dress.” I was most excited about the sports and how I can still coach her. But now that she’s here, I am excited about daddy-daughter dances and harassing her future boyfriends.
What were you most scared of?
I was most scared of having absolutely no idea what to do. I mean, it was another human being that I was now in charge of. It absolutely blew my mind that they had no test or qualifications to let us leave the hospital. They just handed us this human and hoped we would all make it. I was also nervous about the lack of sleep. My wife and I need lots of sleep to function, so I was concerned about how we would manage. But we made it work.
I second everything Micah says. I haven’t spent a ton of time around newborns. So I was really nervous about figuring out how to care for this little girl who didn’t know how to tell me exactly what she needed. I was also scared, or nervous, about the financial aspect. I am a huge financial guy and love keeping a budget and knowing exactly where our money goes each month. But that was impossible when she came. My wife was becoming a stay-at-home mom, so we had figured out the entire budget and where our money would go. And were we so far off! There are expenses that you do not even think about that come up.
Would you have included anything else in YOUR hospital bag?
I’m not going to lie. My wife packed my hospital bag. She had mentioned to me multiple times to do it, and then I never did. So she eventually did, and man, were we prepared! We had literally everything. We ended up only being in the hospital for like two days, so I don’t even think I showered. But I had enough stuff to stay a week. If I had to pack one thing I didn’t have, it would be my own pillow. I had a nice setup where I could sleep, not that I slept much. But my own nice pillow would’ve been a game-changer. I could’ve slept much better.
First, I am jealous that Micah’s wife packed his bag. I am pretty sure my wife would’ve let me go to the hospital with nothing if I hadn’t packed my own! I said this before we went to the hospital, and truly still think this: I would have taken my Xbox. There were two TVs in our room. If I had my Xbox, I could’ve watched some quality movies or allowed my wife to watch better movies. And let’s be honest, there is a lot of wait time, so I could’ve fit in some video game time (side note: he said he was joking, but it is still up in the air if he was!).
What surprised you the most about becoming a dad?
Honestly, how fearful I am about something happening to my wife. I wouldn’t survive without my wife, and now I am greatly more aware of this and think about it often. My wife tells me I am crazy, but honestly, I would not survive without her. She is always one step ahead. For example, if the baby starts crying, she already has the bottle out and is feeding him before I can even realize that he is crying. It blows my mind.
All the emotions I have felt since she arrived. I mean, I felt immense love like I’d never felt before, and that is still there. But there were a few days I was just down about the drastic change that has occurred in our life. I love this baby girl so much but was still mourning what our life looked like before, just as simple as going to get dinner real quick on a Friday night. I didn’t expect to have those emotions as well. My wife reassured me that they were completely normal. But it still makes me feel bad about feeling that way because we have a healthy, beautiful baby girl.
What advice would you give to other first-time dads?
You are going to learn a new level of love. I love my wife and my parents, but truly my heart grew immensely when he was born. Of course, there were things that I was scared to see or know about during labor. But truthfully, I did not care once we were in the nitty-gritty.
You might feel like you know nothing after birth. And my wife has TONS of newborn experience, so I felt like a complete idiot. But truthfully, the baby has no idea what’s going on either. You will learn and create a routine. The “rough part” will be over before you know it, and you’ll wonder how they are already four months old.