Editor’s note: After this column was written, Jared and his wife welcomed a healthy baby girl, Melanie Citrine, on Jan. 18. Congratulations!
My wife is 38 weeks pregnant. I’ll soon be a father. That fact is becoming more real to me every day.
I have many questions: Will I be enough? Will hemophilia hold me back from being a provider? Will epilepsy limit my chances of becoming a strong father figure for my child? I pray that as we get closer to the day I meet my child, I will have some answers to these questions.
A few weeks ago, we packed my wife’s bag for the labor ward. We’ve collected lots of equipment to make life easier for us when our baby arrives. We have a crib beside our bed and a stroller and carrier ready for when my wife and baby leave the hospital. Preparations are almost complete. We’re excited to be on the last leg of the journey toward parenthood.
I’ve been reading up on becoming a father, and it’s been reassuring to learn that it’s natural for a first-time dad to question his abilities. Anxieties rush in and fears of inadequacy cloud my mind. It can get pretty chaotic in my head.
I’m assured that I’m not alone in my uncertainty; no one is ever ready to become a parent. While I understand it’s normal for my confidence to be lacking, I would like to know that I will be a good parent despite having chronic illnesses. It’s not the right time for me to feel inadequate because my health is not 100 percent. I’ll soon have a child to take care of, and the focus should no longer be on me.
I feel empowered to think that I’ll have the chance to nurture a new person and teach her about the world. There’s one special thing I can show my child, and that’s the unique life perspective of a person with disabilities. My wife and I talk about the family culture in which we want to raise our child. As time goes on, we delve deeper into the values we want to instill in our daughter. We aspire to encourage attitudes of curiosity, respect, openness, and compassion in our family. We want each member to feel free to speak openly about any topic, including current affairs, sociological issues, and even philosophical thoughts.
Looking to the future, I realize that our child will be exposed to many unique experiences because of her daddy. She’ll know about blood transfusions and trips to the hospital. She may see her daddy fall down and lose consciousness. I hope that these experiences make her a compassionate and understanding person. I want her to know that I’m OK, that these things are a part of my life. It’s important for us that she is accepting of all people. While we hope that our child has a capacity for learning, we feel it’s more important that she is caring and compassionate.
As the days pass, I try to imagine what it will feel like to be a dad, but I know I won’t understand until it happens. It’s only a matter of days before I meet her and embark on a new adventure. I’m a little scared, but also excited to say to her: “Hi baby. I’m your daddy!”
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.