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An Open Letter To A New Dad

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It's one of those moments that you remember forever, when you tell your family and friends that you're expecting a baby. I still remember the warm and genuine embraces I received from my mum, dad and sister. I recall visiting friends with the sole purpose of breaking our news and thinking to myself 'they know exactly why we're here'...and of course, they acted surprised even though they weren't. Recently one of my dear friends and his partner broke the news that they are expecting their first baby and I can't tell you how happy Quigs and I are to hear the news. There's so much we want to tell them but I don't want to bore them shitless with war stories about my experiences as a father. Instead I decided to write my great mate a letter, one that he can refer back to when the time is right, and you never know, perhaps he'll write me a letter in twenty years time saying 'you were right'...actually, he's more likely to write a letter in twenty years time telling me how I could done the job better myself. But that would be OK, that's how he is and we love him for it.

Dear Knackers,

I can't tell you how genuinely happy and excited I am to hear your news. Like the epic squash court battles of old, where I would give everything I had to beat you, and I mean everything, I almost considered putting the hard word on Quigs asking her if we could go around one more time for a fourth child, just so I could beat you again. You know as well as I do that the answer would be a resounding no.

Ever since I've known you you've been a loyal friend. You've always been the first to offer a helping hand, no matter how grand the task, a quality of yours which is most admirable. But now your priorities will change, they have to. You can no longer put your mates or your family first. Your focus needs to be directed onto your beautiful pregnant partner and your shared future that she tirelessly carries. She needs your support now and forever. Sometimes she'll ask for it (such as "get me a fried egg and peanut butter sandwich") and other times she won't ask for it, which is the times when she'll need it most. I'm referring to the whole pregnancy, but particularly those last few weeks where even the basic tasks may seem so much harder for the mum-to-be. Understand that a pregnant woman can have great difficulty just tying her shoelaces, so imagine what other everyday tasks she may find difficult (but may feel silly asking for your assistance).

Sure you'll need to step up that support once the bub is born, but the most important thing that you need to do is to just be involved. Whilst she should have the final say with a lot of the decisions (particularly birth-related), don't let your lady go it alone leaving her to make all of the decisions. Ensure you're there to provide an opinion, be proactive and do your own research, show her that you'll be by her side for this whole journey...because my friend, it has only but started.

What type of decisions will you have to make? Which formula is best to use if you don't breast feed? NewbornWhat bottles are the best to use? Which car seat is best to use, and in which car? Where do you place the change table, the basinet, the cot? Is there too much light for sleeping or not enough light to change a nappy by? How do we establish a routine? Do we use a dummy? What bum cream do we use? When do we start solids...? Mate, the amount of new experiences and the decisions you will need to make are endless and can be quite daunting. Support each other and make joint decisions.

Be aware that emotions for you both will take you to places you haven't been before. Sometimes this can be intense and you will need each other most at these times. The first few days after birth can be extremely overwhelming, and this is where you really need to roll your sleeves up and show that you will be by her side through the difficult times, and not just for the good times. Take all the support you can get, but not necessarily all of the advice (don't worry, the irony of this article isn't lost on me). Every baby is different and what worked for someone else may not be the right advice for you. I promise you that decisions which seem hard to make initially will seem so unimportant when you look back on them in the near future. Back your judgement and feel your way through. You will make the right decisions, and like anything, if you don't you can recover and learn from it. Your baby loves and trusts you from the day she is born. She won't hold grudges and she will still look at you adoringly after you make a mistake – in her eyes you can do no wrong.

When you speak with others about their pregnancy, labour and parenting experiences, most will tell you that first three months will be difficult - you will get little sleep, you will lose your social life...yada yada yada. As a father of three I'm going to tell you to forget all that bullshit and just enjoy being a dad. It's a wonderful time and it will go so damn fast that you won't even notice the lack of sleep. This is an incredibly important period where you bond with your baby, but you'll find it's also a time where your relationship with the amazing woman that carried and delivered your first born will be forged stronger and stronger. Work as little as you can over this period and cherish every minute of it, even those 2am wake-ups, because before long you'll have a toddler to look after rather than a bub.

Don't make the mistake that many make on the day of delivery. That baby is yours and not the midwifes or the obstetricians. You should be the first to touch your son or daughter so do everything you can to receive the bub yourself, being the one to place beautiful baby on mums chest as quickly as you can. Unfortunately for us blokes, the baby has already forged a very strong relationship with mum before birth, and the best thing to calm bub after birth is to be in mum's arms, but that doesn't mean you can't hold her first.

Mate I know this may read a little soppy, a little non-blokey, but becoming a father changes you in ways you simply can't understand until it happens to you.

I'll leave you with my last two bobs worth of advice, which is simply – Be involved, don't be afraid. Accept support but not necessarily advice. Trust your own judgement and support your partner. Enjoy the experience, it's going to be the most beautiful time of your life.

Needless to say (I had to get that phrase in), don't limit the bub's IQ by selecting a footy team for her, give her the freedom of choice and a chance NOT to barrack for a team whose colours include poo brown. Oh one last thing, don't take your National Geographic mag into the delivery ward, you won't need it.

Last modified on Thursday, 16 May 2013 22:34

Bucky is a proud triple dad to three girls aged eight and under (Bookworm, Foghorn and Boo). He left the full time corporate world in late 2012 and he's not sure whether he's a SAHD or a WAHD, but either way he's spenidng more time at home with his family. Once upon a time Bucky played guitar for a garage band, now he can only play nursery rhymes.

Bucky would like to be an official chocolate, beer and scotch tester - please contact him here if you can help with this.Aussie Daddy Blogger Member

You can follow Bucky on nearly every social media network known to man, but maybe start with Twitter. You can also follow his dog on Twitter if you really like.

You can give Bucky Klout for "Parenting", "Dads" or "Social Media" here (Thanks!).

Bucky is a proud Aussie Daddy Blogger.




  • Comment Link Bucky Thursday, 16 May 2013 21:42 posted by Bucky

    Thanks Nicole :)

    Definitely testing times but the rewards are so great and worth every little sacrifice.

  • Comment Link Nicole Wednesday, 15 May 2013 19:10 posted by Nicole

    Oh beautifully written bucks. Many great and testing times ahead.


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