The very first thrill - or maybe creeps (lol) - is when the mother of your child takes the test and the pregnancy is confirmed, even though you knew it was coming at anytime. When I knew I was going to be a father, I just went like "Oh boy! And what now?" I confess I could feel no happiness at that moment but just fear and uncertainty about the future; I was frightened and didn't know what to do, didn't know if I was ready to handle such responsibility, ready to take really good care of a baby. My wife was a mix of happiness and fear so she couldn't snap me back to reality. It took me a while to figure the whole thing out.
The following weeks were full of congratulations, celebrations, hugs, kisses and wishes. The following months were full of ultrasounds, shopping for baby stuff, arrangements for the baby shower, visitors and photos. (You might have to put up with those friends of hers that will act weird and display excessive affection and support so watch out for that! lol)
Though it may sound boring, it is important for fathers to be present for as many ultrasounds as they can and give their wives all the support they may eventually need. Not only for that but also to feel that emotional rush of seeing the growing fetus - that will soon become your baby - on the screen. You will never forget the first time you see it, believe you me!
Before you know it, you will be shopping for baby stuff everytime you go to a mall. And I advise the parents-to-be to start doing their baby shopping very carefully and as soon as they can so they can make good deals. The prices can vary wildly. Shopping for baby furniture is the hardest and the most expensive part of it, specially if you have a specific theme in mind as we did. We wanted our baby boy's room theme to be "The Little Prince". We had to work hard on it, visit lots of baby stores, spend a great amount of money but it all looked really beautiful in the end. We bought the crib at Oito Baby, the robe over the internet, some room items at Tok & Stok and Planeta Bebe and all the baby gear such as stroller, car seat, bouncer, jumper, playard, in the USA (way cheaper than here).
Here are some pictures of the room:
Gustavo's Little Prince themed room
The walls were painted baby blue and plaster
was applied on the walls and ceiling
This amazing Little Prince painting was done by
my friend and great artist Charles Carvalho
After the baby is born, the couple must be aware that their life will never be the same again. Don't be surprised if you find yourself suddenly closer to those friends of yours who also have kids, friends that you never had that much of contact before; it comes with parenthood. lol
Long story short, you will no longer be able to do all the same things you used to before your wife got pregnant and those relaxing weekend getaways will be gone, unless you have a nanny and take her with you wherever you go. Once you are aware of it all and think you can handle well, then I think you may make an excellent parent!
I can say that, despite all the hard work and sleepless nights, I'm really happy and excited to be the father of this cute, smart boy named Gustavo Coutinho Nascimento. All the tiredness is gone when I hold him in my arms and he gives me that cute smile, when I get back home from work totally burned out and he looks happy to see me. I often look at his face and try to imagine what he will look like in a couple of years' time. I think about the fun moments we will spend together, about how thrilling it will be when he starts crawling and when he learns how to walk, not to mention other special occasions. Of course, I didn't know how to be a dad but I picked up the skills and I'm still picking them up. All I know is I will always be there for my boy and will do my best to protect him from evil. I want to raise him the best way I can. He's turning 4 months old on Tuesday.
I tell you I never knew true love until I met the woman of my dreams.
I never knew true joy until my Gustavo was born.
And that's what it's like to be a father.