So it’s been 2 weeks since our Lucas was born and we made our way back home. It’s been a crazy adventure so far, full of love, smiles, crying, lack of sleep, and diapers…so…many…diapers. I knew that babies pooped a lot, but WOW do they poop a lot. I feel like I finish changing a diaper when I hear him going again. Thanks Lucas! It’s crazy that it’s already been 2 weeks though; I swear…time is already flying! I’m just going to briefly talk about the many emotions I’ve gone through these past 2 weeks, since I feel like I’ve been on a roller-coaster!
First, I’d like to say that I am extremely blessed to work for a company that now gives all parents (whether it’s a birth or adoption) 6-weeks of paid time to bond with their child. I haven’t had to worry about going back to work yet and it’s been extremely valuable to me as a father to be here for my child and wife as we adjust to our new life. Although I know that Lucas mostly needs his mom right now (I can’t really breastfeed), I have made it my mission to take care of mom for the most part by cleaning the house, getting food ready, and of course doing my part with Lucas as much as possible. At the same time, Spring semester has started back up again for my part-time MBA (class twice a week for 4 hours at night), so it’s been nice to not have to worry about work and school simultaneously! Okay so let’s get to the emotions part!
The biggest thing I have felt since our trip to the hospital for the birth of Lucas has been disbelief. I don’t mean it in a bad way, but it’s still so hard to believe that I am now a father. Sometimes it feels like I’m still dreaming or that Lucas is not real and I must just be imagining it (wow I sound crazy). This disbelief is then followed by a “warm, fuzzy feeling,” which is me being overwhelmed by love for my son. Still can’t believe it, but looking at him brings me so much joy and happiness, which then drives me to go over to my wife, hug and kiss her, and thank God for the family we’ve grown into. I gotta say, this kid is so funny too. He makes me laugh with the many facial expressions he has, and his little cries (funnier during the day, because at night I just want him to sleep!!!). I’ve also tried my hardest to listen to all the advice I’ve received from other parents and soak up as much of these small moments as I can! Lucas is definitely spoiled; he spends more time being held than in his crib, pack ‘n play, or any of his rockers (Grace and I are going to have some big guns!), but we both know this stage won’t last forever so we’re trying to take advantage of every second! If you follow me on social media, you’d think that everything is a fairy tale and that the transition has been nothing but smiles and good times (again that darn social media!), but there’s also been some struggles!
The day we were discharged from the hospital, I started feeling a bit anxious. I kept thinking “How are you sending us home with a living human being to take care of? There are no nurses at home!” I’m pretty sure I didn’t go above 30 mph when driving back home…sorry everyone! That first night was also rough! I don’t know how much we actually slept, but it was not much and to be honest it was a pretty frustrating night. I remember taking Lucas to his room to change his diaper at maybe 2:00 am, already tired from the past 3 days at the hospital, and knowing he had just eaten (so he couldn’t have been hungry), thinking the whole time “how can I make you stop crying?!?!?!” I felt like crying (while he wailed) as I tried to rock him to sleep. I knew it wasn’t his fault and that everything was so new to him, but I still felt extremely frustrated that I couldn’t calm him down and honestly a little angry. He finally went to sleep (we figured out he likes us to hold him and walk around the house until he falls asleep), and the next morning I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at myself for getting frustrated at a 3-day old who had no control over anything. I told my wife that I felt like a bad father for getting annoyed and frustrated, even though I know things must be crazy inside his little head as he tries to make sense of this whole new world. Luckily, my wife and I have been talking about all the emotions we’re experiencing and it has helped us lean on each other and push through. These feelings of frustration and then disappointment at having those feelings haven’t gone away (these tend to happen during the night). The voice that tells me I’m not a good father keeps whispering in my ear during these times, which is honestly the most frustrating part of it all. It’s been very helpful to hear from other parents who have shared their frustrations and encouragement—knowing that I’m not the only one who has gone through these emotions has helped me get over those feelings quickly and start enjoying my time with Lucas (even when he’s crying non-stop!).
I know this post seems like I’m talking about just negative things, but I think it represents the reality that social media likes to avoid at all costs. Life isn’t perfect, and I know that as a parent I will fail a lot (although I hope not too much!), but I will always strive to be the best father I can be to Lucas, the best husband I can to my wife, and the best friend and family member I can be! I’m hoping other parents out there can relate to the craziness of bringing a newborn home (especially first time parents like me), and I hope that instead of bottling up our feelings, we can feel confident to share what we’re going through and know that we’re not alone in this journey.