52 Weeks of Fatherhood: Week 1

Set on a collision course for the single biggest moment of my life, and still barely able to look after myself, I decided to chart the highs and lows of my first year as a dad… Welcome to 52 Weeks of Fatherhood.

Despite my wife’s best efforts, pushing through sickness and total exhaustion, our darling daughter didn’t want to come out that way. There was only one thing for it… out the sunroof.

Under the bright lights of the operating theatre, hearing the words ‘knife to skin’, it all become very real. I was seconds away from becoming a parent.

As I peered over the curtain to see my daughter for the first time I struggled to grasp reality. ‘That can’t be her, can it?’ I thought. It was a wonderfully strange sensation. This little person that I’d been reading stories to for the last nine months was suddenly thrust into the world. She was now my responsibility and would rely on me for everything.

Perhaps I was overcome with emotion, but all of a sudden I felt extremely unprepared. Despite attending two separate sets of antenatal classes, when I had to dress Liberty for the first time, I didn’t have a clue. It’s all good when you’re practicing on a plastic doll but nothing prepares you for dressing a wiggly, squishy, miniature human.

The next two days in hospital were a breeze. Maybe this parenting thing isn’t so tough after-all? The first dirty nappy that’s like tar? No problem. Dressing and washing? Not so bad. But then this wasn’t reality. As tough as it was going home every night, I was able to sleep soundly in my own bed, void of all responsibility (and late night feeds). That was about to change.

The next few nights at home were a real rollercoaster. The night she cried solidly for 3 hours from 2am really put my limited parenting repertoire to the test. Is she too hot? Is her nappy dirty? Is she getting enough food? Am I starving my child?!… It certainly sounded like it. These long stretches of turmoil are easily outweighed by the joy she can bring from a simple smile. It really is amazing.

It’s in these moments when she’s quiet and content that, dare I say it, this feels so easy and I can’t wait for what’s next. I just have a feeling that two weeks paternity leave won’t feel like long enough.

The best thing this week

Making it through the first week unscaved

The worst thing this week

The steep learning curve… where’s the instruction manual? (not that I’d read it)

What I’ve learnt this week

My little finger can silence the loudest of baby cries.

Weekly stats

71 Nappies changed
Baseline 84/wk

21 Hours sleep
Baseline 56hr/wk

10 Happiness
out of 10

6 Stress
out of 10

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