Meditations and ruminations
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012 8:15 pm
Having spent the last nine months anxiously awaiting the birth of my first child, I became an expert at automatically carrying on conversations regarding the miracle of birth.
The unsolicited advice I received never strayed far from the promises that having a baby girl would “change my life” and that “there just isn’t anything quite like it.”
After a while the conversations began to feel cliché, and my reception of any advice became half-hearted as the long wait to experience my own child’s birth generated plenty of impatience.
Finally on Dec. 26, my daughter Evelyn was welcomed into the world and I can tell you that, well, there just isn’t anything quite like it.
I was present during the entire process and, afterward, I had time to reflect on what I had experienced and, now, would like to put into my own words just what it is that makes having a child so special, so unique.
For those who do not currently have children and haven’t formulated your own opinions, I believe more important than the intensity of emotions post childbirth are the range of emotions felt in such a small amount of time (easy for me to say, being the father).
Never before have I wanted to scream, cry, laugh, cheer and breath a sigh of relief at the same time. You’re on one hand ecstatic that you and your partner have finally reached the end of a long journey, but perhaps frightened at the prospect of beginning a much longer one. You’re relieved that your child arrived healthy, yet sad at knowing the trials and tribulations that face your offspring, the same as any human being may face in their lifetime. Feeling all these emotions at once leaves you in a kind of daze.
I’m, on average, a young father – only 21 – and having just recently graduated UT Martin in December, I’ve done a lot of growing up in a short amount of time. If anything rivals the immediate emotions of witnessing the birth of your child, it’s grappling with the notion of being a father, something every man tries to do leading up to his child’s birth.
No man is ever totally successful at preparing well beforehand, no matter how hard he tries. As for me, I’ve done what I can do, but a quote by Clarence Budington Kelland sums it up pretty well for me, “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.”
I’ve been fairly successful in my life. Scored well in school, got into college with scholarships and graduated early. I forged new friendships while maintaining a healthy work ethic in school and in my jobs; really, I played as hard as I worked.
Never before, though, have I had such a strong sense of responsibility, of self-worth. Growing up listening to slogans like “Be All You Can Be” and living in a time where everyone goes to college to get a career, I realized that those are just my tertiary goals; my career now is being a father and that alone is a full-time job.
Contact Spencer by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.