Ok, first things first, this won’t become another ‘dad blog’ (I’m considering a separate one but we’ll see). This blog has been, and will always be a blog about my journey with anxiety, any suggestions or tips on how I get through them, or general discussions babout anything mental health related. That said, I AM going to be a dad, and as this new information begins to sink in, various anxieties are creeping in – hence the post.
So I recently posted (here) that myself and my girlfriend are expecting a baby. If you’ve followed my posts and tweets, you’ll know that this journey wasn’t particularly smooth, having tried for 14 months without any success and various fertility examinations with one particularly embarrassing encounter with myself and a cup (whom, might I add, was rubbish at seductive conversation).
So imagine our surprise and elation when we try a test for the 15th time (you’re welcome, clearblue) to see ‘pregnant’. In fact, we were so surprised we did a second one just to be sure. We were so happy, I drove straight to my mums to tell her the good news (she got so excited her voice entered some kind of high pitched screech that only dogs could hear) along with my sister and niece. It was such a great time and special moment.
3 days later and to be honest the news hasn’t really sunk in. I know she’s pregnant, she knows she’s pregnant as she is now furious she has spots and a sore leg (I don’t know why that’s related but apparently it is). We’re really excited. I’m really excited. Excited and absolutely terrified!
Firstly, medical situations are very difficult for me. My girlfriend knows this and has done for some time, so to take pressure off of me her sister will be her birthing partner too so she has some support while I’m having a series of panic attacks at the mere sound of anything medical.
Also, what’s bothering me is the run up. All I keep hearing is ‘oh you’re going to be a dad! Your life has changed forever!’ or ‘wait until you have to keep going for blood tests all the time’ or my favourite ‘if you’re worried about money now just wait, you’ll be worried for the next 18 years!’
As appreciative of all of this optimism that I am, it is triggering things in me that I haven’t had to deal with for a very long time. We’ve always known the birth wouldn’t be easy for me(I know I know, she has the hard part), but as you know anxiety can’t rule you’re life. I can’t let anxiety stop me from becoming a dad, stop us from being a family or get in the way of ultimately just being happy. I’ll be honest with midwives about the situation to hopefully help. I just want to be there for my Girlfriend while she brings our little one into the world (while everything will obvs be my fault) and give her the support she will need.
Another problem for me is, what if I don’t get it right? My dad was good until I was about 10, until he royally ballsed it up by having an affair, rendering his children and their mother homeless while he was off making a new family. I know what ongoing affect this has all too well and I know my life will be focused on never letting that happen. I so want to be a good dad. The kind of dad who the kids come to whatever they need. If they fall over, I make it better, when they’re older and struggling at school, come to me and I’ll help them. If they’re getting bullied I want them to come to me and I’ll fix it. When they’re older and they’re starting out at uni, I want them to look to me for advice to get them through it. I want them to have everything I didn’t from a dad. I don’t want them to have to worry about anything, that’s my job.
I know a lot of these worries are normal and most blokes get it, but as you know anxiety can play odd games, and at the moment mine is looking to take control of the game, which leads me to my last point.
Change for me is a big trigger. When things begin to change my anxiety reverts back. I don’t know why, but when things changed at work it took me back slightly, when I moved house, I experienced anxieties I conquered long ago. Will this huge change in my life do the same? Will it take me right back? Will it ruin the whole picture of what’s planned in my head? I guess the only thing I can do, is focus on ensuring this doesn’t happen and I remain in control and I can be the dad I’ve always wanted my own to be. Supportive, loving, and just there when anything doesn’t seem quite right.
And focus, I will.