In case you haven’t heard the news, my wife Rachel and I are expecting our firstborn child this August! Rachel is currently 16 weeks along, and we won’t find out the gender of the baby (whom I am affectionately calling “Lump”) for another month.
The last few months have been quite busy for us since we found out Rachel is pregnant.
- She works full-time as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
- I'm a full-time Ph.D. student.
- We're both actively involved in our church.
- Etc. etc.
However, the next few months also promise to be busy as well!
- I've got a dissertation proposal to defend.
- We'll be traveling for our siblings' high school graduation.
- (Lord-willing and baby-waiting) we'll both be in my sister-in-law's wedding this Summer (I'm the officiant).
And then? Then Lump makes his or her appearance!
3 Confessions of an Expectant Father
Anyways, this might be a bit self-serving, but amidst all the busyness, I thought I’d take a few minutes to write down some of my thoughts and feelings as I await the birth of my firstborn child.
(I’ve been inspired to do this by reading the extremely helpful The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be [affiliate link]. I highly recommend it to you if it’s relevant to your situation!)
OK, here goes:
1. I'm Anxious and Stressed
I’m not necessarily putting this first because I feel it the strongest/most, but rather because I’m the most embarrassed by it!
I’m anxious and stressed when it comes to my future as a parent, largely because the future has an annoying tendency to remain unknown! As a perfectionist - as a 1 on the Enneagram (check out The Road Back to You [affiliate link] if you don’t know what that means) - I don’t like such uncertainty.
- What if there are health complications with the pregnancy, delivery, or the baby?
- How will we navigate all of the complexities of parenting?
- What will our new schedule/life look like?
- How will we deal with the sleep deprivation?!
Furthermore, something that’s weighing particularly heavy on me right now is: How will I provide for my family?
Rachel’s been earning the lion’s share of our income for the duration of our marriage, first as a Registered Nurse and now as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, by the way. She’s crazy good at what she does, and her earning potential as an RN and FNP has been quite higher than mine as a seminarian and now a Ph.D. student!
However, with a baby on the way, we’d like for Rachel to be able to stay at home as much as she would like to as soon as possible after the baby’s born. And, as a Ph.D. student who wants to become a pastor-theologian (check out The Pastor Theologian [affiliate link] if you don’t know what that means), my earning potential isn’t exactly skyrocketing right now.
This is forcing me to get creative and try to come up with ideas for an extra source(s) of income (“side hustles,” as they’re called - check out Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days [affiliate link] to learn more). However, getting creative is hard work, of course!
Anyways, there’s just a glimpse of my stress/anxiety.
Thankfully, that’s not all that’s on my mind and heart!
2. I'm Thankful and Grateful
First and foremost, I’m grateful to God for providing the gift of a new life and entrusting it to our care.
Second, I’m thankful for my wife. Rachel is amazing. She’s going to be a fantastic mother, and there’s no one else I’d rather be a parent alongside!
However, I have also experienced a recent spike in gratitude for my parents. It’s crazy to think that, about 27 years ago, my parents were in the exact same situation, and I was the firstborn child on the way, about to change their lives forever!
27 years later, and I’ve been the recipient of countless acts of selfless love and generosity from Patrick and Donna Steele. I’m incredibly grateful for such loving and God-fearing parents (to say nothing of my loving and God-fearing in-laws!). I hope to pay the parenting gift forward, as it were, to the next generation.
3. I'm Pumped and Excited
Yes, I’m anxious. Sure, I’m grateful. But I’m also pumped! I’m excited to be a dad!
Rachel and I have always loved children. In fact, I’ve developed a reputation as “The Baby Whisperer” in recent years (we’ll see how long that lasts).
Now, we get to raise a child of our own!
Will we desperately need the Lord’s help at every step of the way? You bet!
Thankfully, we serve a God who is ready and willing to provide such help!