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Parenting

Brief thoughts on my first 6 months of fatherhood

Birthday Cake
Photo credit: Omar Wazir

My daughter is 6 months old today. It’s hard to believe how fast the time has gone. And yet, somehow, the day she was born seems like a lifetime ago. I can barely remember life without her.

I’ve been reflecting on what the past six months have been like. They’ve been hard and they’ve been tiring.

The first six weeks, in particular, were very difficult for more than the usual reasons. The sleep deprivation that went along with that especially difficult time means I can hardly remember it.

Hardly remembering things due to a lack of sleep seems to be the trend during the early months and, from what I’m told, the early years.

The difficulty of those early weeks—which I won’t get into here—is one of the reasons we’re thinking Dee may be our only child (though no final decision has been made, so please don’t bother trying to convince us otherwise). The other reason is one that’s occurred to me only recently.

I can’t imagine ever loving anyone else this intensely.

I don’t know how parents with more than one child do it. Not the hard work of raising them—though I wonder about that, too—but how do you love more than one child without diluting that love? People do it. I know they do. But I don’t know how. I can’t imagine it.

It’s funny, because when Dee was first born I felt overwhelmed and confused more than anything else. When I returned to work after a few days away for the birth, people said, “You must be so in love.”

I said I was. But the truth is, at the time, I was mostly just freaked out that my wife and I were suddenly responsible for this tiny person.

While I bonded with her almost immediately, to the extent that I knew I had to keep her alive, it took a little while to really feel connected. To feel that she was mine. To feel like she was more than just a biological imperative.

But once that bond was solidified, there was no going back. The love I feel for my daughter is completely different from any other love I’ve felt. It’s special.

Because it’s special, I want to give Dee my all. If we stop at one, I can do that. She can be my one and only. She can be my favourite and I don’t have to feel guilty about it. She can have my undiluted love.

And while I may well feel differently if we decide to have another child, I can’t even comprehend that right now.

Right now, I think that stopping at one will allow our small family to have an intense and undivided love. Right now, that sounds like the best thing I can imagine.