When a woman is expecting a child, all focus is on the soon-to-be- mother and the nothing-short-of-a-miracle growing inside of her.
For the longest time; pregnancy, childbirth and parenting have been the onus of the mother, so it’s understandable that the poppa’s take a backseat.
However, in today’s day and age fathers have stepped up and parenting is what it should be: an equal responsibility (after all, it takes two to make a baby!) and yet still, the thoughts, opinion and needs of the Dad are often sidelined by Mommy and Baby, and when the Dad’s are brought into the conversation all questions are ‘How are they doing? How’s baby? How’s mommy?’
So, I decided to reach out to some daddies and backtrack to the time they were named ‘Daddy’ , giving them the attention they deserve.
Today we are chatting to four daddies with daughters, including my very own Daddydaims, below they introduce themselves.
So a bit about me, Chris Kilpatrick born in the UK and now lived in Canada for around 12 years. I am a 34-year-old dad of two amazing girls (4 and 2). My blog is the Dadventurist. It originally started as a project to be more mindful of spending time with my family and as a record of some of the fun we get up to. Now it is still that but also a place to connect with other dads and share some of the things our family have learned about life.
I’m James, a social media manager from England. I live in Vancouver with my beautiful, clever, generous and hilarious wife and daughter. In the spare moments I should be catching my breath, I write for SocialDad.ca – a Dad blog.
My name is Copley. I’m a divorced dad of 34 and I live in Johannesburg. I’m a business copywriter
and avid fiction writer. I also manage a blog on dating which is a little side project I’ve got going. I
have a three-year- old daughter named Lexi who means the world to me. She’s a beautiful person
inside and out, and I’d do anything for her.
Damian here – I am a 28 year old Sales Executive from Johannesburg, South Africa. I have a beautiful one year old daughter named Arabella.
Okay, now that we know a bit more about these dashing daddies – it’s time to get to it!
1. How did you feel when you found out you were going to be a dad?
Chris: I was elated, we had been trying for about a year and a half with no result and the week before we had decided to ease up on the baby scheduling and just relax. A week later we got a positive test and I think I jumped 6ft in the air I was so happy.
James: Incredible. As we had to go through IVF treatments to get pregnant it was a long and expensive journey. Every checkup was excruciating as I didn’t know if it was going to work.
Copley: I was super happy! I had fallen asleep on the couch in the middle of winter. My wife at the time came in at about 5am and told me that her pregnancy test showed positive. We had been trying for about 3 weeks, so I was ecstatic.
Damian: Happy but also worried, as this was an unplanned pregnancy! Tash and I hadn’t been together for very long before she fell pregnant, so it put a lot of pressure on us to decide if we were actually going to be something and stay together or not.
2. What were some of the struggles you faced during your partners pregnancy?
Chris: I’m actually very lucky in that regard. My wife has had two very chilled pregnancies. No morning sickness or anything like that. Lots of getting ice cream, and back rubs. I think the struggle for me was to soften my reactions to some of her out of character personality changes. It’s hard to be pregnant I imagine, tiring, awkward, nerve-racking, so for me to come home from work I realized I need to just let things go and step up to the plate even more to get thing done and keep the status quo.
James: Every step of IVF is a struggle. Whether it’s the meetings with doctors, watching my wife inject herself 3 times per day with medication, or watching other people get pregnant so easily.
Copley: I experienced multiple sympathy pains with my baby’s momma. I had muscle cramps, bladder pain, and all the same pains she would have on random days. The other problem was sleeping next to someone who could not get comfortable during the night. It was quite a challenge.
Damian: Because we hadn’t been together very long, we were worried that our families weren’t going to be supportive (but they were actually amazing!) We also had a premature labor scare at about 7 months, but other than that the pregnancy was smooth.
3. What was and is your most prominent fear about being a father?
Chris: This is a constant fear since my kids were born. The fear of missing it, and by ‘it’ I mean my kids and family moments. I work a full-time job that sometimes take me away and can have some crazy hours. I have to constantly adjust my thinking and the way I am planning to consciously not let my work take too much of those family moments away. Once you miss it, it’s gone, no take backs. So I don’t want to miss anything.
James: Not being able to support my daughter. I work all day and then blog once she’s in bed. Sometimes I wonder if it’s fear that drives me to succeed.
Copley: That my daughter will get kidnapped and sold into a life she doesn’t deserve.
Damian: That her life would be less than it should be because of my influence, that I perhaps break something in her by doing or not doing something.
4. How has your life changed since becoming a dad?
Chris: Honestly, its changed in all the normal ways. Less sleep, less time, more love, more stress, more special moments. Like any parent life changes immeasurably once a first and then second child comes along. Something that my wife and I made a conscious decision on when we found we were having kids was picking a few things that we would do our best not to change, Things that we felt were core to our mental health and happiness. We chose outdoor activities and travel, so we still cross-country skis and mountain bike kids in tow. You kids have seen more of the world then some adults. We live fairly frugally in order to fund these activities I think it’s an amazing trade off.
James: It’s incredible. She makes me so happy and I love every second I spend with her. Even when it’s hard and she’s throwing a tantrum, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Copley: I think it’s brought out a softer side in me. I used to be quite abrasive, but I’m learning that with little girls, you need to be gentle. It’s also made me a lot more patient with women than what I used to be.
Damian: So much! Before her, I was selfish and self-centered but now all I think about are my girls.
5. What has been the grossest experience since you were dubbed ‘dad’?
Chris: Haha, well the one that sticks out is sitting on the sofa and lifting up my oldest daughter when she was like 7 months and her throwing up all over me, include on my face. Then sitting her down to find out she had also wet herself and it was now soaking through my trousers
James: Really, really, smelly poos. I change a lot of diapers and I’m proud to do it. Doesn’t mean I like it though.
Copley: I was playing with Lexi on the couch one afternoon (her mom was filming this, by the way). I was launching my then six-month old daughter into the air, and lowering her down again. After about a minute, she projectile vomited some white goo straight into my mouth and all over my neck & shoulders. I must’ve spent an hour brushing my teeth afterwards I think I still have the video of that.
Damian: First nappy change! You think you know – but you don’t know! She has vomited on me and I have had poo on my hands before, but nothing compares to the shock and horror of that first nappy.
6. What baby care item really helped you and your baby momma in those first few weeks? And what item was a bit of a disappointment?
Chris: I think a baby carrier was great, we could still do things and the baby could be close to us. Big thing we never used was bottle warmer.
James: Everyone wants to sell new parents the new ‘must have’. For most family outings, you need a backpack, milk/ water/ formula, a change of clothes for the baby, a change pad, some wipes and diapers. Everything else is available when you’re out and about.
Copley: There were loads of awesome products. Bumbo was amazing. It really helped us when we needed to put Lexi down where she could still sit up and feel part of the room. It also helped strengthen her tummy and she was sitting up by herself in no time. Sudokreme is also a big favourite of mine. I still keep a tub of it in my cupboard, even though Lexi rarely wears nappies anymore. There were some disappointing ones too: definitely baby toys were a huge disappointment. If it didn’t have lights or play music, Lexi wasn’t interested in it. No matter how colourful or shiny, she would rather have sat and played with wooden spoons and egg-lifters than with any of the toys or teddy bears we had bought her.
Damian: Our bouncer was a life saver in those first few weeks! It had this low vibrate setting which she loved. She spent most of her time in it, and it put her to sleep almost immediately which was a big help to us. In terms of disappointments – dummies! From the moment she was born she never took a dummy, and we had stocked up on way too many. She either wanted boob or bottle, and had no interest in occupying her mouth with anything other than those.
7. What has been your biggest fatherhood fail to date?
Chris: Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the term fatherhood fail. I think as parents we all have failures, no one is perfect but we are all learning. The biggest myth in the parenting and the dad community is that anyone has it completely figured out. Let’s be honest at some point every day we are winging it. Sometimes we fail and sometimes it goes right but we are raising our kids and no matter what happens I see even the failures and wins.
James: When she was just learning to crawl, my daughter leapt from the change table and I only just caught her. It was shocking. Even though she was fine, it reminded me to have a hand on her all the time she’s up there.
Copley: Sometimes I feel that I failed my daughter by getting divorced. It was certainly not an easy decision, but a necessary one. However, because of the good relationship my ex-wife and I have, Lexi seems to be adjusting very well. Still, I really wanted my daughter to grow up in a ‘normal’ family with both her parents; but things don’t always work out as planned.
Damian: I think I feel that I fail every time I wish she was asleep or at her grandparents, or when I guiltily feel relived that she’s not around for a few hours.
8. What is the best advice can you offer to soon-to-be-dads out there?
Chris: Read my blog on exactly that subject (https://www.thedadventurist.com/fatherhood/10-helpful-tips-for-the-dad-to-be ). Shameless self-promotion aside I would say do your research look at challenges you may come up against and have those conversation before you are tired and stressed and emotional. If you talk early and often you can build a support system and a plan. You won’t be able to see everything scenario but prepare for the one you can think of and it will help more than you know!
James: It’s ok. Speak with kindness. Think fast, but react with love. Everyone has advice for you, but you only need a little of it.
Copley: Time! Time! Time! Get ready to dedicate lots of time with your child. I already miss my daughter as a baby, and one day I’m going to miss her at the age she’s at now. Be present when you spend time with your child. Give them your full attention. And I know this sounds cliché; but enjoy and appreciate every moment for what it is—because you’ll never get that moment back again.
Damian: It’s harder than I can express. People try and prepare you but nothing can prepare you for having a baby. You are winging it more than half the time! It’s also not as expensive as you are led to believe.
And there we have it folks! Straight from the Dads’ mouth.
As you can see, Poppa Bear’s also have a lot (of insightful things) to say
A huge thank you to Chris, James, Copley and Damian for taking the time to answer these questions.
Don’t forget to check out their blogs, they are a truly great read!