It’s been almost sixteen years since I held a newborn baby of my own in my arms. But come February of next year, that’s all going to change!
That’s right, I’m going to be a father again! We are extremely excited (and scared) about the whole experience, but excitement definitely dominates the emotional rollercoaster. It’s been many years since I have had the joy of planning the nursery, looking over a registry, and examining baby product reviews. It’s also been a very long time since I’ve had to think about baby colors and my last two babies, it was all about blue, but now we find ourselves looking at pink. Yep, a girl. Another interesting shift in the gears. I’ve never raised a girl before. I can’t believe it’ll be that much different than raising a boy, but I suppose I am soon to find out!
Personally, the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome (which I have) is, “Aren’t I too old to have a baby?”
I weighed on this for quite a while and I had a lot of time to think about it (as you will read in my previous posts about going through IVF).
It really came down to a few questions I had to ask myself:
- Do I feel like I’ll have the energy to keep up with the baby? – I hope so. I’m in pretty good shape, I’ll keep hitting the gym. I’ll keep running. I’ll do yoga and involve my child in all of these activities. Will I be the same athletic thirty-year-old I was back when I had my kids? No, of course not, but all I can do is keep up with my physical shape as best I can.
- How will I handle being in my late sixties when she graduates from high school? – This also boils down to the physical shape. People are living longer. I’ll hopefully be retired, writing full-time, and more relaxed than I am now. God willing, I’ll be around long enough to see her children and enjoy them.
- How will my children handle having a young sibling? – I’ve had detailed discussions with both the boys about this and they are both very excited about her. My oldest will be going to college next year, so he feels he’ll be more of an uncle in her life, which isn’t a completely unrealistic perspective. But I hope that as they grow older their relationship will grow.
This is my wife’s first child. This gives me a chance to impart my (so-called) wisdom of child-rearing on her and hopefully at least take some of the “unknowns” pressure off her.
Regardless of a father’s age, I feel it’s important for a father to find ways to help with his role in the pregnancy where ever possible.
With my first two boys, I did everything possible to try to help wherever I could. During this pregnancy, I feel even more so.
It helps to eliminate the stress, especially if your partner has an extremely busy work schedule (and yes, of course, I have an extremely busy work schedule as well… but this is a joint venture that we entered into together). Finding my strengths to harness her weaknesses are important. Being an extrovert and her being somewhat introverted, I have taken on the role of communicating with doctors to set up appointments, seeking out classes for Infant CPR, and working with my already established pediatrician to set up an intro appointment so that my wife can meet them. I have also tried to see if I could at least help jump-start setting up the baby registry so that she could see some of the essentials that should be on the registry. Then I sat down with her so we can see what we really do need that might be relevant and other things that might just be cute.
It’s very important when having a baby that fathers realize, we can do a lot to help. All we need to do is communicate with our partner. Make suggestions, and ask them what they feel would make their lives easier. Maybe it’s just researching things online and coming back with suggestions.
I am much more relaxed, enjoying the day-to-day growth of this new life that grows in my lovely bride and taking it all in a day at a time. Will it be easy? No. But I have no doubt, this will be a fascinating new chapter in our lives.