You're the Dad Now
Although a man learns what it means to be a dad from his own father, it’s not until the birth of his baby that he starts the most important journey of his lifetime—building a relationship with his new son or daughter.
To many men this time is a rollercoaster of emotions—new fathers experience an overabundance of joy, frustration, love, fear and hope, especially during the first 30 days. That first month is something that will be like nothing most men have ever experienced. Even if they read all the books and get advice from other fathers, most new dads are still unprepared for what will happen.
“Somebody once told me that you probably won’t get a good night’s sleep for the next 18 years,” says Michael Diamond, a psychoanalyst in Los Angeles who has written and lectured about parenting for almost three decades. “Dads should realize their lives are going to be turned upside-down. Hopefully they will be involved enough to help feed the baby and change the baby and help their wives through a very, very difficult time.”
For Ed Kalotkin, a physical therapist in New York, becoming a father last year was something he was looking forward to ever since his wife Michele told him she was pregnant. “I did everything an expectant father is supposed to do—I talked to doctors, I read parenting magazines and I spoke to my friends who had kids,” he says. “And still no one can prepare you for what it is like because everyone’s experiences are a little different. I didn’t realize that a newborn requires constant attention. It was hard work, but worth every second!”
Getting through his those first 30 days was one of the hardest and most rewarding times for Ed. “Michele and I talked a lot about what we were thinking and we made sure that whenever once of us felt too stressed or overloaded with things to do that we worked on things together,” Ed continues. “I’ve seen couples fight over the silliest things after becoming new parents, and we made sure that we didn’t let little things annoy us. Having a best friend for a wife was a big help during this time because we knew how to communicate.”