Fears of Fatherhood

From a soon-to-be Dad

No one ever talks about the emotional toll one endures standing 0n the precipice of fatherhood. Rightly, the majority of the focus is toward the mother, the one doing the difficult task, literally bearing the responsibility. Still, I can’t help but feel isolated, wondering if other men have similar feelings at this crossroads? For the sake of my own sanity here are some of the uncertainties…maybe some of them will be familiar.

For starters, my boys will look to me for certainty and truth. (Yes boys, twin boys…) But the frightening prospect is the older I get, the more aware of my ignorance I become. How am I supposed to give insights and assurances when I barely know what its all about myself? On a good day I might feel I touched on some small morsel of truth. To be sure, I know much more than a baby. But at some point I fear my kids will see the gig is up, and realize their old man won’t have the answers for them.

Also, I worry about the demands that will be made of me. Not so much the responsibilities themselves, but whether or not I will find joy in the midst of them. I want to revel in this experience, not endure it. So many parents seem to just be making it through. That, to me in particular, sounds like a form of death.

And maybe I’m lucky to be first thinking about this now, but fatherhood has furthered my awareness of my own mortality. This is a really new feeling for me. Maybe this is age, or the enormity that is becoming a parent, or the fact that life continues to barrel forward whether or not I’m “ready” for it, but I have a larger awareness of the temporal state of my time on this planet.

Of course, not all of these fears are bad. They have their upsides too. They bring a whole new clarity toward the shared experiences I want to have with my future family. They have forced me to take stock of my own life, to be introspective, and ask how I can be more intentional in making the most out of each moment. They have further revealed weaknesses within me and presented me with another, in a line of challenges, towards the unattainable goal of self-mastery.

I’ve likened the feelings to the beginning of a roller coaster, the building anticipation with each click as you get higher up, the excitement, but also the fear as the cliff approaches, and that future becomes the present - the point of no return.

One thing I know, I’m in for a wild ride.

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