Pampers’ new campaign, #PowerOfBabies is all about how having a baby has the power to change you completely. I completely agree. Since becoming a dad, I’ve become a lot more patient, thoughtful and confident. I have a much cooler head when things go wrong too.
This is all thanks in no small part to Dylan, Xander and Amelie. They have all taught me a lot and changed me as a result. This all goes right back to day one when Dylan arrived.
It was almost seven years ago and he was a week overdue. There had been a few false alarms and even when Kate went into labour, her waters didn’t break. This contributed to the feeling of it not being yet, but maybe there was an element of me not feeling ready.
However, soon after 2am, he was born. He came out with his cord around his neck, but I remember thinking that this must be fairly common and that he would be okay. Sure enough, he soon started demonstrating his lung power. He was fine.
I’m not sure how I did it, but I put my feelings to one side. I needed to be sure that both he and Kate were okay. Thankfully, all was well. When I held him for the first time, I think I must have still been on alert. I was amazed at how long he was and by his little hands and blinking eyes. But the emotions didn’t come immediately.
A couple of hours later Kate and Dylan were moved to a ward. Apparently, I counted as a guest and had to go home as it was outside visiting hours. My parents came to collect me but I started walking towards them to get some fresh air. That’s when it all hit me. A few hundred metres from the hospital, I stopped in my tracks.
It was a complete jumble of emotions. I felt relief that everything was okay, joy that Dylan had arrived, pride and admiration at what Kate had just been through and – to be honest, anger at the hospital for sending me packing so soon after a life-changing moment. Above all, I felt love for my little family.
A couple of years later, Xander was born. This was an entirely different experience. I knew what to expect. Or at least I thought I did. He caught us off guard by arriving a couple of days early. Even so, everything felt so much more relaxed – even for Kate.
The labour was much shorter and he was soon with us. This is where he confounded expectations. He snapped his cord on the way out. He has broken something pretty much every week since, so this was clearly a warning from him!
I was still guarded with my emotions, but they hit me a lot sooner. Before he was born, I had worried about whether I would love him as much. When I first held him though, I realised what a silly fear that was. Of course I instantly loved him equally.
Amelie’s arrival in 2015 should have been the calmest. We had planned a chilled-out home birth and had everything in place. Soon after the midwife arrived, however, things changed. Amelie was in breach. To make matters worse, our local hospital couldn’t take us. We had to go to another one almost an hour away.
There, we found ourselves in a tug of war between one surgeon who wanted to try a tricky delivery and another who wanted an emergency C-section. We wanted the latter as there seemed less of a risk. We were overruled only for the head of surgery to turn up at the last minute and side with us.
I was grateful at this last-minute intervention but furious with the first surgeon for wasting time while Kate was in pain and wanting to put her through a complicated birth to boost his experience. I didn’t let Kate see how angry I was – keeping a lid on it is another thing that parenthood has taught me.
Soon afterwards, I was holding Amelie for the first time. Both she and Kate were fine, but it had been dramatic and scary. I thought about how perfect she was despite the ordeal she had been through and felt so grateful that both mother and baby were safe. Again, the overriding feelings were of love, pride and joy.
I have three amazing children who have been teaching me things since day one and in their own inimitable ways. When I look back on myself before being married and having children, I often think of myself as not quite the finished article.
I am now though and owe them all a massive debt of gratitude.
How has becoming a dad changed you or your significant other? Share your own stories and images using #PowerOfBabies for your chance to win a special day out and a hamper of Pampers goodies.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.