Rewind to December 2009. My wife was 11 weeks pregnant, and I was going to be a dad for the first time. In June of 2010 (ironically, the due date was a day before Father’s Day) I was going to meet the baby boy or girl that I was already completely in love with…and then my world came crashing down.
Three days prior to Christmas 2009 and 11 weeks into the pregnancy, my wife and I lost our baby. I understand that bad things can happen during the first trimester, but that didn’t ease our devastation. I put on a brave face for my wife by saying everything will be okay, and I told my inner circle that we’ll dust ourselves off and try again – but privately I was a mess.
I didn’t eat, I lost a lot of weight, and spent a lot of my private moments in tears. I knew I had to move forward, but I didn’t know how. I would hear stories of deadbeat dads, lazy dads, and dads who frankly don’t give a shit – and I would become enraged. How in the world could someone father a child and not want to be involved in their lives? I’d give up anything to raise a baby.
After what seemed like the longest wait ever, I finally became a daddy in January 2011 and my world instantly changed for the better.
When I look back on the earlier version of myself, I can admit that I was cocky, selfish, vain, and moody. I held grudges, style trumped substance, and most of my sentences included “I” or “me” instead of “we” and “us.”
The combination of losing our first baby and the joy from our daughter’s arrival two years later made me take a deeper look at myself to determine if my behaviours were ones that a good dad would demonstrate. The answer was a quick and easy “no,” and I transformed faster than an Autobot.
This week as part of Never Forgotten: Mamamia's Pregnancy Loss Awareness Week we're remembering the babies we've lost. Post continues below.
Being the best dad I can be for my daughter and her baby sister are the most important priorities in my life. Nowadays I give back more, I ask for forgiveness for those I’ve wronged in the past, I smile and say hello to strangers on the street, I laugh more, I workout to stay healthy – not to flex shirtless in front of mirrors (sadly, I used to do this), I give more hugs than handshakes, and I listen more and talk less.
Sure, I’m still a work in progress (aren’t we all?) and I’m sure there are people out there who don’t like me (we all have those people in our lives) – but I figure if I’m aspiring to be the best dad I can be for my daughters, why can’t I aspire to be the best human being I can be for everyone who cares about me?