My wife and I are high school sweethearts. We have been enjoying life together for almost nineteen years. Over the years we have discussed the idea of having children. We had agreed years ago that we would not take the plunge into parenthood. With our decision to not have children, we ended up spending a lot of time with our nieces and nephews in order to fulfill the gap. After spending seventeen years together we decided to make the decision permanent, during the summer of 2012 I went to see a surgeon known as the “Vasman” for a vasectomy. As I sit in the operatory nervously sick to my stomach and thinking about the pain I was about to endure, I remember the Vasman telling me that he considers this procedure permanent, I acknowledged his statement and nodded. Little did I know that the decision my wife and I had made would only tempt fate.
One evening while my wife and I were enjoying our membership at the Kempinski health club, she complained of feeling ill. A few days later she informed me that she was late. We grabbed a pregnancy test, surprisingly it came back as positive. In denial and thinking that the test was expired and in some way faulty, I went to the drugstore and bought three more tests. Every test came back as positive. Still in denial, I went to the internet for help. I came to the conclusion that the love of my life had a rare form of ovarian cancer that was causing the tests to be positive. Off to the doctor, there it was, a pregnancy sack. I had some lab work and found out that my vasectomy had managed to reverse itself and my sperm count was back to a normal standard.
We had a few grim days as we reflected on the news. For a few days we were both in a fog, experiencing feelings of anger, sadness, confusion and happiness, it was a whirlwind of emotions. I think that we struggled with the news because this was not the path that we had chosen for our future. We finally realized that this was a gift; why were we having conflicting feelings, we are in a committed, loving and financially stable relationship with the ability to care for a little person.
Then came my interpersonal battles. I asked myself several questions; would I be a good father, do I have the skills to deal with this new challenge, can I provide the emotional support for my wife and the new baby, what about circumcisions, what about religion, on and on the questions arised. Unfortunately, my father and I do not have the type of relationship that we can talk about these things, it would just be awkward for both us.
In order to deal with these interpersonal challenges I searched for resources to help me. I discovered a go to resource, The Good Dad Project. The Good Dad Project is chalk full of resources; podcast, books, blog, workshops and articles. Larry Hagner acknowledges the fact that many fathers internalize their struggles, he mentions that fathers become distracted and stressed, and as a result many fathers do not get to enjoy the journey of being a Dad. I read Larry Hagner’s book, The Dad’s Edge. Larry’s book provided me with an opportunity and focus to move further as a modern day father. Today’s fathers are evolving away from being the tough, rugged and emotionless people that they were during previous generations. The days of children arguing about whose father could win in a fight are over. In some ways today’s fathers have more stress because we are expected to provide emotional support as well as provide for the family and be at every soccer practice. I have chosen to take the path to leaving a legacy of leadership, love, connection, and positive lasting memories. In order to accomplish this goal, I have chosen to become a not-so-macho-man; this means that I have chosen to lead by example and not be a beer swilling and cursing man, create an atmosphere that allows all family members in the household to share their feelings in a respectful environment, creating mindfulness, allowing myself to be vulnerable, show empathy for all living things and I have chosen a vegetarian lifestyle.
On June 6, 2013 we welcomed a healthy baby boy to our world, everyday afterwards has been an amazing experience rediscovering the world through my boy. So far the most scary time of fatherhood was after all the medical people cleared out of the delivery room, we were waiting for the nurses to come back with the large guidebook that would take four nurses to carry, they never came. We were left all alone with this new human being who relied on us for everything.
This blog will chronicle my experiences and journey as a modern day father. I will share my thoughts, insights and advice throughout my journey. This is the not-so-macho-man blog.
The Good Dad Project can be explored here