I believe there's a fundamental difference between being anxious and having anxiety. I'm more anxious to be a father than anything I've experienced in my life, in a good way. With that comes more anxiety than I've ever experienced in my life, not necessarily in a good way. Learning to cope will be a struggle, but there's not many things more gratifying, calming, and ultimately rewarding than hearing your baby's heartbeat for the very first time.
Like many milestones throughout my wife's pregnancy, I have been anxious. I'm excited about this journey we are undertaking together. I'm excited and humbled to be able to pass down the things I've learned in my life to my child, who will be equipped to go out into this scary world and do good things and be good to people. I also have anxiety.
I have anxiety because I know conceptually that fatherhood is of vital importance to any child's life and I want to make sure, more than anything, that I am the best father I can be and I do this thing right. I have anxiety about bringing a child into a world full of so many people who would rather get a like on Facebook than help a community in need, who fears constructive debate and would rather walk away than talk to someone with a different opinion just because their background is a little different. I have anxiety because I want to be perfect, but I know in my heart that such a feat isn't possible. I just hope I can be imperfect perfectly.
The morning we left for our eight week appointment, we were ecstatic. You read about things you'll learn and hear in this appointment, but the truth and reality transcends anything that can be read in a blog or social media. Part of us still couldn't believe that such a blessing could be true.
The ultrasound technician spoke the magical words we had been waiting for, "Yep, there's definitely a baby in there" and the words I had been waiting for, "...only one, though!" It was a blessing, confirmed. Then we got to hear the weirdest, coolest, and most magical sound in the world. I can't even think of how to describe it other than it was very fast and very healthy, which is everything we had hoped for.
It's amazing that a baby smaller than a blueberry can have a heart beating 168 bpm. It's a surreal moment that I'll never forget. After hearing that, all I remember of the rest of the day is that I was physically present. My mind was mentally still playing that sound.
We had our appointment with our doctor, who told us all of the things you read about - what to eat, what not to eat, things to read up on, etc. I was still smiling ear to ear over the ultrasound. We made our follow up appointments and were on our way.
That night was something special. We were able to tell close family, other than our parents, and very close friends. The reactions were about what you'd expect. A lot of people said, "I knew it" and even more said some variation of, "What the ..." with an expletive or two thrown in. This journey is beginning to get very real.
I've expanded my reading and listening material to Harvey Karp's book Happiest Baby on the Block. I've been told that I was unfortunately not the happiest baby on the block, so I figured I could make some room on my bookshelf for it and learn about these 5 S's everyone keeps mentioning.
I'm sure as the pregnancy progresses, I will continue to be anxious and have anxiety because that's just the way I am, but I will also continue to pray. I pray each night that God continues to bless my family, my friends, our health, and that through some divine revelation, God will send me a sign that just maybe I'm starting out on the right path.
Just the other day I was thinking about our baby in the midst of a rainstorm. The rain suddenly stopped and a double rainbow formed. I'll take it as a sign of good to come.