Being A Parent
When my partner started this Guest blog series I wanted to contribute aswell by writing a piece for all the dads out there who might relate to my story of fatherhood.
These last few weeks have got me thinking what does it mean to be a parent?
I think you become a parent as soon as you see the blue line on a pregnancy test. Your mind goes into overdrive. The first thought is shock, joy and happiness then me personally I was thinking have we got enough money? do I need to go get another job to support myself and my family now because there is now going to be someone who depends on your money to feed and clothe them. Another thought that goes through your mind is about where you live is this house suitable? do we need to move? do we need a bigger and better car? I put the pressure on myself to be the one who could suddenly and solely become a daddy overnight after living what I look back on as a carefree life up until then.
All sorts of thoughts go through your mind like what will they look like who will they take after then you start thinking of schools and school classes and clubs they will attend. The first time we found out we were having a wee baby girl I had the chess club (of all things! we aren’t exactly what you would call a “chess club” kind of couple!) in the local school picked out and had looked at the website to see the uniform she would be wearing. This might sound crazy to a normal person on the street who has no interest in kids which to be honest this was me people used to show me pics of their kids and I used to glance and say “oh that’s nice”. I was one of those people who used to call kids “IT” and never held kids or even looked in their direction.
Our story is a little different from most other people’s pregnancy as we did not get to hear our babies first cry when she was brought into this world. Francesca was tragically stillborn after passing away while Charlene was in labour. She was clearly made for better things than earth. But still at that time I classed myself as a parent as I had went through the motions of being a daddy, like excitedly going to every single scan and every pregnancy class going. I feel I was more prepared than a lot of other parents to be but unfortunately it was not meant to be.
Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come.
We arrived at the hospital to be told we are really sorry there is no heartbeat.
At this point your life changes forever you are one of those families that are now a statistic of “Stillbirth” a term I had honestly never even heard of. None of the classes even said “oh by the way you might not walk out with a baby you might walk out with just your partner if your lucky”. So instead of preparing the house for the wee ones welcome home arrival with balloons and banners and loads of visitors to see the new baby we had to get our heads round to actually planning a funeral for our wee one. Something that again no baby class will ever teach you how to do. I just think especially in this day and age this is not something a parent should ever have to do in planning their own babies funeral. Somehow we got through the funeral with the help of our families and their support.
So fast forward 3 months after the funeral to the 26th of May and Charlene announces to me at 3am on Saturday morning that she is in fact pregnant again. Mixed emotions went through my head at about 100 miles per hour but the one that kept reappearing was will what happened before happen again? Will we get this baby home with us? that thought should not even cross your mind when your partner says they are pregnant.
The big question on my mind was will I actually be classed as a “PARENT” this time hence the title of this story as being a parent is generally classed as having a baby with you that people can see. The big thing for me was will I get to do the parent kind of things that people take for granted like get to stare at their baby as they sleep and hug them and hear them cry. So fast forward again another 6 month of fear, anxiety, stress and happiness and countless trips to consultant meetings and scans and the wee man Leo is finally born and here to cherish in all his glory all 8lb 5oz of baby boy.
Charlene had an elective section as the consultant had advised that they would not let her go overdue so would look to schedule a section at 38 weeks but due to the stress Charlene was feeling as the date drew closer he had agreed to move it forward to 37 weeks. So on the 15th of January we were booked in for the section so think we got about 15 minutes sleep between us that night.
So at 11.44am on Tuesday the 15th of January I was handed this little baby boy into my
arms and my world changed forever again and I thought this must be what it feels like to be a parent having this tiny person in your arms and now you know you need to look after them for the rest of your life.
The days that followed I wanted everyone I met to know I had a wee boy and get the
balloons and bunting out and turn up with the biggest teddy bear I could find and take them up to the hospital and give them to my partner and son. I stopped and thought about what it was like for me leaving the hospital the last time with no baby and I did not want someone going through what I had seeing the celebration of a baby if they had endured the pain we had went through previously so we decided to keep it low key. I did not want to pass a “parent” who did not get to take their baby home as if I was rubbing their faces in my joy. So getting back to the title of the story Being A Parent does it mean because I never got to take my first baby home that i wasn’t a parent or did I become a parent when I took Leo out of the hospital? Im sure people have many different views on this but I think as I said before as soon as that test says pregnant then you become a parent in your own way and gear your life around this person and no matter what happens in the pregnancy then you have become a parent and this should be celebrated.
…….And that’s the end of my rabbling on.
You can read more about Steven and my journey at https://www.instagram.com/forfrancesca_/