An overview of the experience of being a first Time dad-to-be

You sit on a hard chair in the doctors’ office. Your attention is riveted on the machine next to your wife. Wait . . . there it is! A regular high-speed thumping can finally be heard emanating from the complex-looking machine attached to your wife’s stomach. That sound is your baby’s heartbeat. And you feel like your heartbeat is about to pick up enough that it could catch up to your unborn baby’s in speed. The emotions of being a first time dad-to-be cannot really be compared to a rollercoaster ride. They can however be compared to the taxi-ing, lift off, climbing to jump altitude, and then positioning yourself in the doorway of the plane for your first experience with sky-diving. In other words, there is a lot of build-up, and probably a little second-guessing. And of course there is the pay-off.

The unforgettable moment when you first learned that you would be a father and would be sharing your wife with a child is very complex. Delight, joy and excitement are usually able to drown a quiet feeling of dread. Or a feeling of uncertainty in oneself. Or even a feeling of trepidation at how much life with your sweetheart is going to soon change. Many fathers-to-be find themselves zipping through these emotions even as they are hugging their wife in sudden joy.

Later, the feelings of joy still present, a first-time father-to-be will often start examining his own heart and soul. He will often start peering into his own childhood to try to get some models of being a good dad. The nooks and crannies of his psyche and emotional state will be exposed to this close examination as well. And all of this will be happening because dad-to-be is wondering, “Am I gonna be a good father?”

Then your wife starts showing. And her body starts changing. Both the novice and the experienced dad-to-be can take delight in this miracle that is happening before his eyes. However, the novice might also start wondering if these changes are going to be permanent- if they will ever have their new bride back. For these novice dads it is vital to understand that pregnancy and birth change a woman’s body, often for a long time. And this change is not a bad thing. Different, yes, but still gorgeous. Think on how lovely your wife is as she takes on this almost divine trust of bearing a child! With the right attitude, the novice dad-to-be can come through this process with flying colors.

Finally the day is approaching. There is no turning back, and there was no turning back from the start. But the moment where your life is absolutely changed and never to be the same again is arriving with the speed of, I kid you not, a Concorde and at the same time an old Model T Ford. Questions, at this point, are basically an overheard conversation in your head. Doubts surface long enough for a couple deep breaths before submerging back into the pool of fear and excitement and wonder and awe and fear again.

But then, unequivocally, there is no doubt. Your child, YOUR child, has made quite an appearance. The duty, an often delightful duty in fact, of being a father has just hit you with the force of a healthily wailing, warm-wrapped bundle in your arms. In my case, the emotion of that moment is simple and clear. I have looked into my graceful wife’s eyes on four separate occasions as I held our newborn. Awe. Sheer awe at her power and strength and wondrous awe at the fully dependent life I hold in my arms.

So back to that comparison at the beginning of this article: the parachute opened, you bent your knees, and made a spectacular landing. Everything is crystal and the moment is unforgettable. So cherish the entire process- that way that final moment will live on in your memory as the ending to nine months of wonder.