(I’m writing something every day for #100days. This is post 28/100.)
If everything goes to plan, I’ll be a Dad for the first time in 61 days.
I don’t really know what to expect, or how to prepare.
But that in itself is knowledge, and I’ll just react as best as I can when it all happens.
The first time fatherhood got real for me was at the 13–week scan, when the ultrasound moved across Julia’s belly, and we saw this great black and white wave on the screen.
As the wave focussed in, we got glimpses of arms and legs and a little face.
And then a heartbeat.
You’re in that little hospital room and you hear the *chukah chukah chukah* of that little heart beating… and it’s alive! And it’s inside your wife’s body. And it’s something you made.
And it’s insane.
On the recommendation of my friend Dan, I read Brain Rules For Baby. In it, the author says a line to the effect: “If we all reacted rationally to the miracle of human development, we would spend our entire lives jumping and screaming in amazement.”
I think feeling joy at the sound of your first child’s heartbeat is expected.
But I had an unexpected moment of joy a few weeks after that experience.
I was thinking about our future son, imagining what it might be to hold him, talk to him, watch football with him.
And then I thought about how he might feel about his Mum.
And this flood, this rush, of emotion came through me, as I realised that his Mum was going to be Julia.
That in the panoply of life’s possibility, he was coming into a world, where, whatever happened, he would have Julia’s love propel him into the world.
In the Keating Interviews, aired on ABC last year, Keating talked about going into the world with the “a ton of love”from his mother and grandmother.
“You’ve got to go through life with someone thinking you’re special. You know, when you’ve got to get the sword out for real combat, I think having the love quotient working for you is very powerful…
It’s almost like wearing an asbestos suit — you go through the fire but you’re not going to be burned because someone loves you, you are complete, you are together.”
I’d never thought of my relationship with Julia as being, in a sense, a choice for my future son. But there’s likely nothing that will have a bigger impact on his life.
In ‘Brain Rules For Baby’, the author talks about how fathers who attend his seminars always ask — “What should I do for my baby to make sure they get into Harvard?”.
His response is always the same: “Look after their mother”.
I’ve said before that my greatest competitive advantage in life has been my own Mum. I go out into the world every day with that same belief that I’m “not going to be burned because someone loves me”.
In retrospect, that unexpected moment of joy should not have been a surprise to me. I should have known what it was going to mean that this little boy’s mother was going to be Julia.
But the moment it clicked, the moment I realised — he’s coming into the world to be loved unconditionally by the best person I know — was one of the highest of my life.