We live in an age in which we can’t survive without our phones. We rely on them for everything.
You name it.
I’m no different. Throughout the day I’m constantly scrolling, checking my text messages, email, social media and stocks. Every day. Rinse and repeat.
One of my favorite pastimes is looking at the thousands of pictures I have of my son in my phone. I’m constantly taken aback at how time has flown by and how much he has changed in a few short years. He’s approaching his third birthday yet it seems like yesterday when it was my turn to get up in the middle of the night to soothe his crying during those first few weeks of his life. I have photos of it all. I have no doubt I’ll be taking just as many, if not more, pictures when our second baby, our baby girl, arrives later this year.
A few weeks ago during my usual scrolling, I came across some photos from three years ago of me putting my son’s crib together. As a soon-to-be first-time father at the time, I was beyond excited about his arrival. Through these pics, I tried my best to document the process from the time we found out we were pregnant up until birth.
I should be jumping for joy, right?
Looking at the pics of the half-built crib, I did the math in my head to calculate when I was working on it in relation to how far along my wife was at the time. It hit me that in terms of preparation, we haven’t really done nearly as much at this stage of her pregnancy compared to what had been done during our first. The crib hasn’t been built. The nursery hasn’t been painted. The baby shower hasn’t been planned. In many ways, I’m walking around as if a baby is not coming for many months.
This has been bothering me for some time. I should be jumping for joy about this second baby, right? After all, I’m about to be a girl dad. I even told my wife I felt like I wasn’t holding her belly as much as I did the first time around. She’d definitely noticed. The excitement is there, but it’s not where I feel it should be. And where it should be, I’m not exactly sure.
As I admittedly struggle with this, I’m doing my best to give myself some grace. I’m understanding that things don’t exactly have to be like they were with my son. Just as life was different then, life is different now, and that matters. I wasn’t a parent three years ago. As we prepare for our daughter’s arrival, I still have to parent my son as he works his way through his own development. My wife isn’t the same as she was yesterday and that matters as well.
We don’t often talk about the psychological challenges that fathers go through during pregnancy, but they are very real. The feeling of uncertainty, the irritability, the stress of wondering will everything get done — and will it be paid for. The excitement of being a new dad has been replaced by the indifference of becoming a father of two. And that’s OK. I’ve been reassured by other parents that they’ve experienced similar feelings in their respective journeys.
I have plans to start painting the nursey soon. Once that’s done, I’ll get the crib together. Only this time, I go at my own pace, and not feel bad if I don’t meet some mythical deadline.
And I’ll be sure to take pictures of it all.