We’ve been through the seminar before we got married, and though we somehow learned a few things about starting a family, it is still way far from being enough. One important aspect of a family is – fatherhood.
One of the things I believe about fatherhood is – it starts and builds its foundations during the wife’s pregnancy and early days of the baby. And I believe that readiness to climb the stage of Fatherhood starts when you think you’re capable to be one then consciously without doubt decide with your wife to have a baby. It starts when you overcome the fear and worry of staying with your wife and helping her from conception and all the rest of your life. It seems easy just to read about it but there are a lot of complicated situations along the way you’ll never really thought could happen. And that may wholly rip you apart – nevertheless, you never will break your commitment to it.
I have witnessed a lot of situations and heard from other people how the wife felt abandoned by her husband during her pregnancy. There are many factors which may look reasonable but no matter which side you’re looking at, the father’s absence during the wife’s pregnancy is a valuable time missed and can’t go back into when it passes. Absence is absent. A father maybe absent because: he works abroad, denied his progeny and therefore feels he has no responsibility, is busy and spends long hours at work than being with her wife, is just plain immature and would rather choose to be with friends or do his hobby than stay and care for her wife, or had died.
I have written my story about my experience with my wife’s pregnancy in my blog last year – Expecting father. And what I’ve told there, was just barely half of how it really went during the rest of her pregnancy till giving birth- I mean the hardships. And I believe, that depending on how you’ve been with your wife during her pregnancy, builds the early foundations of fatherhood.
I believe that fathering a child starts when he or she is growing in the womb. Apparently in China, a person’s age starts at the moment he or she was conceived in the womb. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that life begins during conception. And since becoming a father requires a new life from the parent’s union, Fatherhood therefore starts when the child is conceived. At that period, during my wife’s pregnancy, I was told to talk to her(while she’s growing in the womb). So I did talk to her since we’ve known she was there. I sing two songs each night, prayed and assured her of our love and eagerness to finally see her. The child in the womb as well as the mother – needs a father’s voice, care and help. The past month was one of the best summer I’ve ever had. For certain reasons and circumstances I’ve never thought about, the house helpers/babysitters we employed were like transient travelers that come and go. This had put me into a series of a wearing and joyful learning experience.
I thought at first that, since I am on a summer break and my wife has to be at work, I have an inevitable task for my daughter. But as days passed, I have realized that: Firstly, taking care of your child isn’t a task but a gift. Avoiding it would be neglecting a precious gift from the Lord. Not all couples are blessed with a child of their own and or chosen to become parents. Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3 NIV) Secondly, I believe that taking care of your child is as sacred as being at the front-line of a different ministry of serving the Lord and both are pleasing to Him. In Colossians 3:23, it says – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.
And lastly, my wife who is now a mom, needs a lot of help. I grew up in a culture where women do most of the home chores and child rearing and its almost not acceptable to have men doing it. However, my wife can’t do all the work of taking care of the baby so I have to do my part and besides, she also has a job. A month ago, our house helper left us a couple of days before my wife will attend a seminar. Though we already had plans and an itinerary, the helper left with a reason and didn’t return for whatever reason. It was one of the worst times. All my plans for the coming week just remained to be a plan. In Ephesians, God commanded the men to love their wives to deserve their respect. I believe that loving her includes helping her with her tasks and de-loading some of her tasks. She needs a time for herself too and to rest. As a father, I too have a husband’s role. It is often said that two years is deducted from a mother’s life span for every child she bears. A husband therefore, as long as he can, must keep her wife from too-much and wearying chores. In Ephesians 5:25, it says – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
I can say that I have missed a lot this summer. We were unable to attend: the Summer Outreach in and out of Palawan; a number of invitations for a Boys Out and from friends. I cannot extend an extra time when out of the house. I was unable to make necessary preparations for the coming school year. I am almost baffled and can’t work except at night and besides, I have to stay awake and be on guard to tap my daughter’s legs to prevent her from waking whenever noises get through our walls.. And with all these, I still have to attend to her personal needs such as bathing and dressing her, changing her clothes and diapers, washing her when she poops, feeding and making her burp, etc… and seldom have to do it alone.
These could’ve been enough to cause one to go crazy but not. One of the things I truly cherish is the moment she shows me her smile and joy that surges blanketing all the tiredness like nothing ever happened. It was an answered prayer. When she was still in the womb, one of the things we prayed and talked to her about was that she will have a joyful heart and a bright face that smiles a lot.
As I type, my daughter is 4 months old and I am a year old father. There’s a long way ahead of me and I admit that I know only a few about fathering. There are many more stages that I’ll go through and surprises to experience. Parenting is tough, I know. But I believe that there is no situation that is too hard for us to handle. When God blesses us with a child for whatever reason and purpose, it is because we can.