It’s something you don’t think will ever happen to you. You know people at school that it has happened to, you’ve seen them walking around the shops pushing the pram but it won’t ever happen to you, you’re not that stupid…
My son is now 13 months old, I was 19 years old when he was born and his mum was 18 years old. When I found out I was going to be a Dad I was scared, eventually. At first the whole idea of being a parent wasn’t sinking in. I have two younger brothers, at the time one was 3 years old and the other was 1 year old, so you would think that me seeing what my Mum & Step Dad were having to do on a daily basis would set alarm bells off! They were not only looking after all of us, they were both out working too and yet I seemed to think I would be able to manage, how hard would it really be? I mean. You change a nappy, feed them then they sleep for hours, right?
Once we had the 20 week scan it dawned on me that this little person would be here soon and I would be looking after it; feeding, changing, cuddling and putting to sleep. What on earth was I going to do?
I went into panic mode and started arguing with my girlfriend, my family & friends. It was always over something daft but I was confused and didn’t know how to handle what I was feeling. Finally I opened up to my Mum and she sat with me and explained that I would be fine. Yes, it was going to be really hard work but when you become a parent a natural feeling kicks in and helps you look after the baby. She also told me that everyone would be here to help, practically and emotionally, and all I had to do was ask. After a few days I began to feel better, I felt a weight had lifted off me and I was feeling more positive about things.
I didn’t have a job so I wouldn’t be able to support my girlfriend and the baby. Our families were great and bought all the things we needed but the everyday items like nappies, wipes and milk should be paid for by me! Having and looking after a baby is not cheap, they say it costs a minimum of £1000 for the first year. I had been trying to get a job for over 7 months when my luck changed, I was offered an apprenticeship. Perfect timing as the baby was due in 2 months so it allowed me to start buying things and put some money away. Everything started to fall into place, which is just as well as my son arrived in late December, 3 days early.
Things have not all been plain sailing. It was hard adjusting to the sleepless nights and trying to figure out his cries, what did each one mean? Hungry? Tired? Nappy change? There was also the well-meaning intervention of family to deal with. We were asking for help when we needed it but were trying to do as much as we could, some people felt we were being awkward in not letting them babysit or take the baby out for visits. Explaining that he was our son and we didn’t want him going away for hours at a time when he was only weeks/months old was not easy but we finally got our point across without too many arguments.
It has been a strange couple of years as I now have a child and I have had to grow up a lot in short space of time. I wouldn’t change my son for the world but my timing could have been a lot better, having a child so young is not ideal and your life changes in so many ways. The next time you are going to have sex, be sure that you use protection and if you don’t be very aware about what the outcome could be, you won’t get a decent night’s sleep again for many years to come.