As a first time parent, during the months leading up to Nitara’s birth, I was nervous about a lot of things. I had a lot of questions about how we were going to bring the baby into the world. How would I pick her up the first time and not drop her (my God!)? How will we soothe her when she cries incessently? How will we put her to sleep? How would we know that she is healthy and secure?
As the birth drew closer, I worried about which diapers to buy and how do I put them on the baby? How would I know the baby is not going hungry, would I be so lost in myself? I feared realizing one day that everything I’ve been doing was wrong. Someone would one day look at me with horror and say, ‘That is not how you do it.” Will I understand things on time to be as caring and effective a Dad as I want to be?
I was seeking answers to all these and many other questions much before Nitara was born. I felt uttrely unprepared and unfit to be a dad. I did know, deep inside, that being an otherwise nice and loving person, I would also be a good dad and when the situation came, would do the right thing to protect and care for my family. The only trouble was that this was not a small decision, like buying a gadget that if I did not operate it correctly, or dropped it in week 1, I would lose only money. This was a baby. A human being with its own life, rights and future. Babies, unfortunately, didn’t come with an instruction manual.
But then the day arrived. Nitara came into our lives and minutes later, as my wife fell asleep, the nurse handed over the tiny little baby into my arms and told me how to hold her. I realized that I already knew how to do that. I looked at my baby’s face and knew instantly that I held her right and that she I and both knew there was no way I was ever going to drop her. And a lot of other doubts in my mind were instantly resolved and I was at peace with myself. It seemed like I already got my answers that day.
As days turned into weeks, months and years, it kept on happening that we seemed to know how to do right by our baby, how to take care of her during different phases. Though it was terribly difficult at times, like when the newborn wouldn’t sleep all night or when her first cold laster longer than we thought, it was never a disaster. We travelled a few times together and realized that, in reality, things were better than our worst fears.
The other day, we were watching This is Us and there was a brilliant scene of a guy (No Spoilers!), nervous about the upcoming birth of his first child the following day, runs into another and expresses his fear and doubts and then this is how the other guy answers:
“I will tell you one thing. I have five kids. And before the first one was born, I was all questions, too. Can I? Will I?
But what they don’t tell you is that babies come with the answers. They come out, they look up at you, and you at them, and… …they tell you who you are. You’ll see. Tomorrow you’ll have all the answers you need.”
When I heard this I realized it was so true. They don’t have instruction manuals, but they do come with all the answers.
What has your experience been like? Let me know by leaving a reply below.