One of the more panic-inducing truths about having a baby is the fact that most of us have no idea what we’re doing.
We get it in theory, of course, much like we understand thunder logically follows lightning. You have nine-ish months of gestation; endure an undetermined length/method of labor and delivery; then shortly thereafter, dress your newborn in a preselected going-home outfit and take the baby home.
No one checks references or administers swaddle tests. A nurse simply watches you buckle a helpless baby into an unwieldy car seat, hands you a folder of discharge papers and newborn care pamphlets, gives you a perfunctory “Congratulations!” and shepherds you out the door and into the foreign land of parenthood.
It’s then you realize: you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.
Lucky for me, I married a baby guy.
From the moment he became a father, my husband knew exactly what to do with a helpless newborn. He delighted in perfecting the military-grade swaddle. He shushed and swayed with the best of them. He even seemed to instinctually know how to transfer a sleeping bundle from arms to bassinet without eliciting so much as a squeak from the transferee.
Even though he’d barely touched a baby before holding his own, fatherhood came naturally to him. He sat by our first daughter’s isolette in the NICU as she received care in her first hours of life, never once taking his protective hand from her small body.
Later, when I saw the snapshot a family member took of him through the nursery window, the truth crystallized for me.
Our baby may have been the one who’d just come into the world, but my husband was the one who’d just been born.
He stepped effortlessly into fatherhood—and never looked back. He’s an attentive, intuitive dad who’s grown right alongside our children. He’s the kind of dad who will be a pillar of strength in their lives, offering a guiding voice and a welcoming embrace no matter what.
And while I love watching my husband parent our older children now, nothing has been quite as sweet as observing him with our infants.
Each time a new life came into our family, he reveled in the baby stage. Whereas some men shy away from holding newborns, uncomfortable cradling the fragile creatures mewling for their mothers, my husband seemed to have been made with a baby-shaped hole in the crook of his arm.
It’s why it’s nearly impossible for me to entertain the idea that—even four kids later—we might never have another new bundle for his capable arms.
Some days, I still fight the feeling I’m stumbling blindly through this motherhood thing—but this man of mine was born to have babies.
And there’s nothing I’ve loved more than having them with him.
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