What fatherhood is really like, from men in the know: Dads


What surprised you the most about becoming a Dad?

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There is so much about parenthood that cannot be explained until you are parent yourself, and then you curse your friends for not warning you. How could they? We just don’t get it BC (before children). So we decided to check in with Dads to find out what surprised them the most about becoming a Dad.

 “…how emotional my wife was just before birth; and how unpleasant it can be seeing your wife in so much pain as there’s nothing you can do but stand by and watch!  I have to admit, that I as much as I was excited about becoming a dad, I was also dreading it: how the hell was I going to be able to afford it? But I remember holding Alfie the day after he was born and he looked up, smiled and laughed – also totally surreal – we bonded, and I thought, ‘everything is going to be okay’.

- Stuart Bell (dad of three, Australia)

“… was looking into my son’s face for the first time and recognising him. Partly I literally recognised myself in him – there is strong resemblance, but also because it felt so right, so natural. So I think I recognised myself and my son as a relationship right from the start. The other thing that really surprised me is that as my son gets older how my protective I am of him, but in surprising ways, like wanting to go and ask other children why they aren't playing with him!”

- Rob Broster (dad of two, South Africa)

 “…is how, despite my not being too much of a helicopter Dad, I still sometimes wake up at night and hope they are still breathing.  I am sure that with Rothko (my first born), I checked on him more than once at night during his first year of life, with Hiro less, but still I catch myself waking up and thinking, 'Why can't I hear her, is she ok?' and then go and check on her. It is amazing how strong that instinctive gene to protect is – or simply the huge amount of love we have for our kids.”

- Migo Manz (dad of two, France)

“…that these little people have pre-formed characters! No two siblings could ever be the same. Whilst personalities take time to form and show themselves, I was stuck by how the underlying character and tendencies of my kids was there from the start. My son is more together and gets up early – like his mom. My daughter sleeps in and is a bit all over the place – like me *blush*! It just is! I have also been surprised at how becoming a Dad has given me more empathy and patience for my own parents. Overall, the realisation of how much my parents love me makes me able to forgive them and see them as fallible humans (because as a parent, I know how fallible I am). It is healing.”

- Gregg Lister (dad of two, South Africa)

 “… seeing life through new eyes:   I am a somewhat cynical and hardened 40-year-old, someone who has seen, travelled and experienced a lot of life. To the extent that I was becoming jaded….even trips to the Amalfi Coast did not foster much excitement.  Having a child has given me a new perspective. I suddenly see the world through a child’s curious and captivated eyes. The way his eyes dance, as he experiences the world around him, have brought new perspective to my view of the world. That, and how I was brought to tears by the story of a drowned refugee child – three months ago I would not have cared.”

– Nigel Beck (dad of a newborn, South Africa)

“One Sunday morning, when my eldest child, Sarah was about 3 years old, we started arguing as I was dressing her. She wanted the pink panties on, not the blue ones, I just wanted her dressed.  My wife put her head around the door and said to me, ‘I bet 10 years ago, when you were putting your rugby boots on, you never thought you would be arguing with someone about what colour panties to wear!”

 - Malcolm Buchanan (dad of two, South Africa)

You see? You are not alone…

Share with us what has surprised you the most about becoming a Dad.