“Here is your daughter,” said the doctor. The magnitude of that moment hit me in so many ways when they placed her in my arms for the first time. I felt a wave of emotion and I knew that every area of my life was going to be changed by this little girl. The second thought I had was that no matter what happened, I was going to be her dad. No matter how horrible I was, or how far I ran, the reality was, that I was always going to be her dad. Then the next wave hit me and I went to the bathroom and threw up.
Being a dad is a big deal and how we take hold of it matters. The one fact that can’t be changed, is that you are a dad. You can be a good dad, a bad dad, a barely-there dad, a caring dad, but you are a dad. Don’t hide from it. Be open to being a student of fatherhood, dedicated to doing your best and prepared to learn what it means to be a good dad. Don’t let your past define you, your fears and insecurities cripple you, or your career ambitions consume you. It is good to feel the enormity of being a dad, but we all need help. None of us have it all figured out. If you're struggling to find resources, or just need to know there are other dads out there, please reach out to the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre to connect with our Dads' Program.
Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre. All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.