Anticipation of the biggest change in my life…

Dad; a proper noun that I only knew to use towards the guy who raised me and was my inspiration for what to aspire to when one day I would take on the name. The name always held a happy connotation because my dad is my best friend and the most incredible role model. So, why once it was my turn to have the name, did the anticipation throw me into a tail spin that drastically cracked my mental state?

Let me bring you back 12 years ago when I was 16. I was a relatively quiet kid, had good friends, and was considered a bit of jokester to most of my friends. Best of all, I just started dating my first real girlfriend. Had the butterflies and all that mooshy crap that all “The Notebook” lovers enjoy hearing about. Sorry if you are one of them, I’m sure it’s a great movie. Anyway, me and my girlfriend wound up going to the same college (not intentionally so don’t get judgey on me!) and also just happened to be in the same dorm by random selection. And yes I know what you’re thinking; we did indeed study together pretty often!

After having a life changing freshman year ( I wont bore you with the details, you know how freshman year is; FREEDOM!), I came back for my second year, and suddenly my counselor said I need to pick a major! The nerve of that woman. She even told me binge drinking, partying, and watching Netflix was not part of the curriculum. I was floored, and also petrified. While sitting in a communications class, out of no where, my first anxiety attack happened. I started questioning everything. Do I want to keep going to school? Do I want to keep dating my girlfriend of now 3 years? What major should I do because it defines my future? Do people like me? The list went on and on. This eventually resulted in me taking a leave from school for a month. Once I started going to therapy, I was able to get a hold on everything, choose my major of Psychology (things really do come full circle), and graduate happily ready to pursue my career.

Why am I boring you with my bio? Just wanted to give you some context on my previous anxiety issues. So let’s move on. Jump forward to being 27, I’m married for 2 years to my same girlfriend from high school and college (now the best wife on earth), have 2 perfect shelties named Penny & Ted, and a house with a great career.

One day, my wife presents me with a pregnancy test in my hand while I’m sleeping. Nothing like finding out your life is flipping upside down first thing in the morning!

Don’t get me wrong, I have ALWAYS wanted to be a dad, and this was honestly the best news I have ever heard, so naturally I was on a bit of a high of emotion! As I came down over the next few weeks, the reality of what was happening starting to sink in. I know most people have heard of morning sickness and it being a thing for the first few weeks/months of pregnancy, but how many people have heard of all day sickness lasting 9 months? Well if you said yes, then you and my wife have a lot in common, and I can connect you both so you can reminisce.

Due to having to watch her constantly be sick and uncomfortable, I felt useless, and something about that snapped me right back into anxiety mode…but worse. I started having panic attacks from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep again. Thinking of how I am going to provide for a baby, care for a baby, care for my wife, not be able to just get up and go when we want, not have alone time (yes, referring to sex, but also intimacy in general) was a lot for me to take in. Then on top of it, feeling bad about how my anxiety and attacks were effecting my wife made them even worse! That was one hell of a catch 22!

After seeing how it was effecting my wife, as well as my work (yes, I had several attacks at work and it was definitely noticed), I knew I needed to get help. I wound up seeing a therapist who was amazing. We met 1-2 times a week, and she helped me see how I was overthinking things, and taught me techniques for coming out of my panic attacks. I also went on anxiety medicine which worked wonders.

It took SEVERAL months, but towards the end of my wife’s pregnancy (or should I say our pregnancy? Idk I feel like we are a team in this even though she birthed the baby), I finally started feeling like myself again. When it was finally go time, it felt like everything I was worried about previously just didn’t matter anymore. We rushed to the hospital and I was able to keep my wife calm the whole time. After several hours of amazing labor time, our beautiful daughter was born, and guess what? She looked just like me! That was the moment when all fears went away and I knew nothing else mattered but this little girl (and my wife and family of course). It’s crazy how something so incredible and so tiny at 7 pounds 10 ounces can build up a massive amount of anxiety, but the lessons I have learned from having my daughter have made me a better person on so many levels.

I know I joke (as I am hoping comes across in my writing), but I am an extremely large advocate of getting a grasp on your mental health and seeking help when needed. Just because I am a man doesn’t mean I don’t feel the need to talk about how I am feeling from time to time. No need to be ashamed of that.

I hope you liked this post! Keep visiting my page for more fun stories about my experiences as a 1st time dad!

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