It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the most nerve-wracking, yet exciting and wonderful, moment in my life. It was a moment that seemed to take forever to arrive (in addition to the standard 9 months, Kathryn went 2 weeks overdue), but when it did I knew that my life would never be the same again. And I couldn’t have been happier….
In this article I want to share with you how fatherhood has changed my life. Although this is a very personal article, I believe there are many lessons that anyone can take away from my story. The realization that I was to be a father was a catalyst for change in my life, but I am sure there are a number of different paths people can take to the outlook I have today.
When I reflect on my life prior to hearing the news that I was to be a father, many good things come to mind. Kathryn and I had been together over 2 years, and we were living a fun and happy life. But underneath this, I had a longing for something more. I was starting to grow tired of the big weekends that left me recovering for days, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself.
As I have previously written about, I did not initially welcome the news that I was to be a dad. I think the main reason was that I had all these other things planned for my life before I took the big step into parenthood: traveling the world (again), getting rich, etc. I experienced a few months of intense soul-searching before I finally came to be excited about the news.
Motivation to Change
How did I come to be excited about the news? When I think about it, it comes back to the way I changed my thinking. I did not discard my plans, rather I changed them to accommodate the new baby that was to come into our lives. A close friend of mine said me: “why can’t you have a baby and still travel the world and make money?” To this day, that has stuck in my mind and motivated to work hard towards creating the life I want. And I should point out that much of this “work” I refer to has been work I have done on myself (ie self improvement). I strongly believe that private victory precedes public victory. So I didn’t really know where I was headed, but I figured so long as I committed to improving myself then things would work out.
A New Life
On February 10, 2007, we welcomed our son Xavier into the world (yes, this post is a little bit late :) ). The following are some of the important ways that I have changed:
A sense of awe. It was when I saw Xavier for the first time that I truly understood what a miracle life is. To hold this little human being, with his little fingers and tiny feet, left me in awe of just how truly amazing life is. And this sense of awe has changed how I view my everyday surroundings, in particular nature. Often I will just stop and admire a beautiful tree or the snow-covered mountains here in Vancouver and think: “Wow – that is amazing”.
Awareness of my own mortality. I remember driving home from the hospital, on my own, a few hours after Xavier was born. I had so many emotions rushing around inside of me, but one of the most intense was a sense of my own mortality. I had never felt so alive, but by the same token I had never felt so vulnerable. I drove home particularly careful that night, knowing that my life now had a new meaning.
Meaning. I mentioned at the start of this article that I had been longing for something more in life. I now realize that I was searching for meaning, and in Xavier I found that meaning. Now, I don’t think having a kid is a prerequisite for living a meaningful life, nor do I want fatherhood to be the only thing that beings meaning to my existence. But what fatherhood has done is to help me understand what a wonderful feeling it is to live with meaning, and I now do things (eg write for this blog and volunteer) that also give me this same sense of meaning.
Connected to the world. I have always considered myself to be a bit different, and this has at times left me feeling unconnected to the world around me. But Xavier has connected me to the future, and for this reason I now care more than I ever have about the fate of the humankind and the world we live in. Whether the issue is the environment or politics, I realize that what we do on this planet today will affect the future for our sons and daughters, and then their sons and daughters one day.
A desire to make a difference. Because I now feel a greater connection to the world I live in, I want to make a positive difference. It is no coincidence that I started this blog soon after Xavier was born. I see this site as a manifestation of my newfound calling to help other people live better lives.
A Couple of Photos
The year has gone by so fast. In seemed like just yesterday that I was holding Xavier in the hospital right after he was born:
They certainly grow a lot in the year. Here is Xavier wearing his Halloween pajamas:
Yup, it’s been a big year of change. And I wouldn’t have it any other way…..
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24 thoughts on “One Year On. How Fatherhood Has Changed My Life.”
Here’s some unsolicited advice: Play with Xavier as much as possible…
Straight from the words of toddlers and young children themselves, the most likely answer to the question, “How do you know your Mommy/Daddy loves you?” is… “because he/she plays with me.”
As usual, I have a philosophical gem to go along with my unsolicited advice:
“It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity.” ~ Michel de Montaigne
Congrats on making it through the first year! It can be scary and exciting all at the same time. I have experienced many of the same important changes from being a father. It is an awesome and frightening experience. I often feel the burden of the responsibility. We are forming and shaping this little person’s life! Things I do now can have a lasting impact on my child and contribute directly to their future success or failure. Am I qualified? I doubt it, but I get up everyday and try again.
Congratulations! The first year of fatherhood definitely changes everything, especially when you look at that little person who relies on you completely and gives you the purest unconditional love. Over the years, I’ve definitely found that fatherhood has helped me to be a better leader in my work life, as well as compel me to get involved in the local community. It is a motivator to be a good role model. Great post!
Happy Birthday Xavier!
One only has to see that joy in your beautiful baby’s face to know that you two are doing everything right!
Only advice I can give you is –
You CAN have it all. But sometimes, not all at the same time!
I’m a new dad myself, but I haven’t thought much about what I should or can be doing to make the world a better place for my child to live in eighteen years from now. This is good perspective to have though, and I appreciate you sharing it.
Although I haven’t commented much on your blog, I do appreciate you sharing this experience. I’m also looking to have kids in the next year and I’m getting very excited. It looks like a lot of fun and you look happy too :)
Personal Development Made Simple
Thanks Stephen. If your experience is anything like mine, you won’t have any regrets. :)
i can understand that you are really excited and all that but, its not easy specially for the mom,
it will get alot harder as the baby grows up, some parents do find it really difficult, im not posting to tell you to stop making it out to be so easy but there will be people out there that will read this and think oh yeah i want a baby its sooooo easy, i was a struggle at birth when my mom had me, i wasn’t a mistake but she thought she could cope with me because she listened to people that made her think it was so easy, i was in care for abit but when i got to 15 my mom sat me down and she told me why she couldnt cope and how people were pushing it across as “easy” :)
Having a baby will really make you say that life would never be the same. I appreciate your decision to change your life for this little soul. I subscribed to your posts already. You inspire me – the style of your writing and also because you have an inspiring life. Godbless!
Peter – I can only echo what others have said. Congratulations on your son’s birthday and your own anniversary for being a father!
I’m not a dad yet, but a lot of my friends are. I’ve asked them what it’s like but this post was the most revealing.
A belated happy birthday to Xavier and congratulations on your first year as a dad. I have two boys myself, 5 and 3, and one thing to expect is once Xavier’s sibling arrives is get used to two different personalities.
It took me a while to enjoy being a father. The key to my enjoyment is realiasing that my sons will learn from me a role model and that I will learn from them. When I see my boys smiling in the morning when they come into my bedroom it’s one of the bext feelings. I’ve had the extra challenge of my wife having post-partum depression.
Finally I give a big recommedation to the following two books: “Between parent and child” by Haim Ginott and “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. What I learnt from these books has been invaluable in communicating with my boys.
Xavier is beautiful!
All the best to you and Kathryn.
Happy Birthday a bit late, Xavier!
And congratulations to both of your parents.
Ever notice how, after you have a baby, people will greet them and sort of ignore you? Kinda like you’re just there to hold the baby for them, or something!
Congratulations, and a second baby will bring you an amazing realization–even though you love baby #1 with all your hearts, and of course each other as well, you will love baby #2 just as much. The heart seems to grow with what is available for it to care for.
Peter, your life is so similar to mine. It is refreshing to find others on the same like path. Our little Easton is a few months older, but he is the joy of our lives. They can just make you melt with their huge smiles and little giggles.
p.s. Xavier, you have a great month to be born in. My wife and I both are February babies!
This is a lovely post Peter. Sometimes I wonder how it will be like when I become a father but I believe I’ll never know until that day comes. For now, reading posts like these is the closest I’ll get to knowing.
hi there not sure if this blog is still active but ill tell you very briefy my story. My wife gave birth to my son luca on the 5th of november in extremely traumatic circumstances. For a while it was touch and go for both of them, i have never been so scared in all my life i lost all control over my nervous system at one point and collapsed in a heap. my wife had to be rushed in to surgery with my-self being cared for by mid-wifes ( which now feels embarrasing but at the time i couldnt do anything about it ). 5 mins after he was born he was brought to me and while i was excited to see my boy i never really gave him the time of day because all i could think of was my wife still in surgery. Eventually she emerged looking dreadful but alert enough to ask how i was something i couldnt believe and and will always find touching. that night will always bring tears to my eyes with emotions mixed but when i look at the beautiful boy we have created my heart warms and his gorgeous face takes my horrible memories away and over time hopefully gone for-ever. Luca i love you more than life it-self and will love you un-conditionally till my heart takes its final beat.
I don’t know if this blog is still active but I just found out today that I’m going to be a father. I googled “how fatherhood changed my life” and this blog popped up. Thanks for writing it. I’m very excited about a dad and I’d like to share my story if you don’t mind:
My first marriage ended on Christmas Eve, 2001, when I learned that my wife had a secret abortion. I was devastated and I didn’t think I would survive the ordeal. It’s been a long road but I finally overcame the sadness and I am now remarried. This afternoon my wife told me she was pregnant and I am filled with happiness combined with a little sadness. I am a little sad because I am reminded of how sad I was about the abortion but I know that my new wife (we have been married less than a year) is a wonderful, wonderful woman who has a heart of gold and will make an excellent mother.
I can’t wait for my new life to begin with this new family. Thank you for posting this so we can all learn something from your experience.
I don’t know if this blog is still active; if so, lemme say that it was a beautiful write-up and it really made me feel good. So thank u! I was looking for some hints and guides to give me a good start to something I was plotting and planning to write about the changes my son brought into my life and your article gave me a good start.
It really is a blessing to be a father of a child… I too have a son who is 21 months now. May God Bless Ur Family All the Way!!!