Being a parent isn’t something new, let’s face it…it’s been going on since the beginning of time. Some people are fortunate enough to experience this phenomenon in their lifetime, some by choice and careful planning, others have it thrust upon them out of the blue.
No matter how this life changing experience has come about, there’s no question that it really does alter who you are.
How do you prepare for this?
As society evolves, Dads are getting the recognition and opportunity to be able to celebrate being a parent right from the birthing room…and we should celebrate this and encourage it…after all it’s a family affair!! So how do our new Dads feel about this somewhat daunting experience they are about to encounter?I’ve had a chat with new Dad to be, Brad Illman, whose beautiful wife is due to give birth to their first child in the first week of November, and although I can sit back and excitedly count down the days, I was curious to see how my son is approaching fatherhood.
Tell me about your wife.
B: My wife, Steph, is a pretty cool chick. We’ve been married for over 4 years now and have a lot of fun together. She’s easy going, caring and always positive - will be a great mum!
How have you organised/prepared for the birth?
B: Honestly, we haven’t done a lot at all! We’ve purchased a couple of the big ticket items like the pram, cot and baby seat but other than that we don’t really know where to start!
Have you found out the sex of the baby before its born….?
B: To begin with we were definitely going to find out the sex. I was already imagining myself riding dirt bikes and kicking the footy with my son so I know I was desperate to find out if that was going to be the case. But then the weeks progressed and I had time to realise it really doesn’t matter what the sex is because I can do all of those things no matter what…or not at all depending what my kid is in to. A couple of days before our scan I raised it with Steph and we both decided it would be a lot more exciting to keep the gender a surprise. After all, it’s not the sort of surprise you get to experience too often!
Tell me your first thought when you found out you were to become a Dad.
B: ‘This is gonna be so much fun!’
Are you going to line up for the nappy changing duties?
B: I really want to be a hands on dad but I can’t confidently say that I will be putting my hand up for nappy duties - I’m not good with bodily fluids! I have this ‘trick’ with some other chores I’m not a fan of…I just make sure I do a really bad job and Steph takes it off me. Maybe I’ll give that approach a go..?
What are you most excited about teaching your son or daughter?
B: What blows my mind is the thought that my little human’s mind will literally be a blank canvas.
Isn’t it crazy that when you walk out of that hospital for the first time they’ve never even seen a tree before!??
What is your biggest fear as a new Dad?
B: I think I have the same fears as all new dads. The world seems to be getting more and more hectic and I just really want them to grow up with good friends and make smart decisions.
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given?
B: Nothing comes to mind just yet but this may change once D-day arrives.
What piece of advice would you give to first time expectant Dads?
B: Everyone seems to be very happy to dish out advice to new dads so I guess my advice would be to try not to get too caught up in what everyone else has to say. You realise very quickly that what one person says contradicts the last, and if you get too caught up in it all it will just confuse you.
How has your own father influenced your approach to fatherhood?
B: My dad is a great father and would do anything for his kids! Like most dads he doesn’t say a whole lot or share too much emotional advice. I feel like no matter their experience it is every son’s goal to be a better father than what their own was. I’ve definitely noticed a trend through generational change of a more openly loving and hands on dad and I certainly want to follow that trend.
What advice did your mum give you?
B: Slow down, take everything in and enjoy it!
What memory of your childhood do you hope that your child will experience?
B: A big family environment. I remember growing up always catching up with nanna, pop and all the cousins. I hope we can create that environment within our busy lives.
What memory of your childhood will you move mountains to make sure your child won’t experience?
B: Nothing in particular. I think every experience we go through during our lives shapes us in to the person we are today. I’ll prepare them the best I can.
How has your love and respect for your Wife changed?
B: It really is incredible what our ladies go through to make all of this possible. Steph set me up with an app on my phone that tells me every day what sort of symptoms etc. to expect (assuming I’m pregnant). I must have tuned out during that part of sex-ed at school because I really had no idea! ….Wow! I can’t say that I would be brave enough if the tables were turned so I am very grateful.
Parenthood….its not easy. But one thing is for sure, you will experience joy, pride, stress and worry like you’ve never struck before.
Is it worth it?...Yep every darned minute of it.
Will you get it right?...not all the time, but be prepared to learn as you go.
You will get better with the bodily fluids as you find yourself licking the ice cream before it melts everywhere and finishing off that soggy biscuit your toddler has decided they don’t want anymore!
Parenting stays with you even after your kids form their own families, you just have to try to take a back seat and let them figure it out the best they can…oh…and you never stop learning.
I am now about to embark on Grand parent school…wish me luck!!