The Neurotic Dad

by Justin Carrier

Neurotic dad Justin Carrier

Photo courtesy Elisabeth Nixon Photography

DAD

… It is amazing how one little word can bring out the greatest fears within me. Before my wife was pregnant, I was convinced that being a parent was absolutely what I wanted to do. But was I really ready? Fears begin to creep in when you realize that in just a few short months, you will be the person that your child will depend on for every step of their life. Will I know how to change a messy diaper? How do I keep from screwing this kid up for the rest of his life? Will I be able to give my child the love and nurturing my own parents gave me?

Before I get ahead of myself, I should explain that if there are two virtues I need to improve upon, they are patience and flexibility. I’m the type of guy who has a plan for everything and, while I haven’t scared my wife off yet with my love of Excel spreadsheets, I think I’ve come close a time or two. My scheduled, detail-oriented personality has served me well in the business world but I discovered very quickly, however, that schedules and pregnancy do not go hand-in-hand. And even though my wife and I didn’t plan on a baby right away, we also didn’t really try hard to prevent it. Clearly, it didn’t come as a great surprise last November when the little stick showed two pink lines.

I think
I drove our
OB/GYN
more insane
than my
wife did.

Early on in the pregnancy, a civil war ensued in our home. My wife thought it would be a great surprise to wait until the delivery to find out the gender of our baby. As you can imagine, this was strike one for my personality. I literally thought if I had to wait until the delivery to find out if we were having a boy or girl I would die. Despite my best begging, pleading, bargaining and attempts at blackmail, I lost that battle. We had three elective 3D/4D ultrasounds, and I spent hours studying the pictures and videos trying to spot something that would give me a sign.

If that wasn’t enough, I soon had another lesson in patience. I recently earned a promotion at work that involved more travel and coincided with an important day, our due date. I knew I could hold off traveling for a little while, but I began to worry if the baby took its time in arriving, I would either miss the birth or not have enough time to spend with him or her before hitting the road again. I think I drove our OB/GYN more insane than my wife did. Each visit without a lot of progress toward delivery made me even more neurotic. Soon I was preparing eviction notices for the baby, trying to convince my wife to stand on her head (What? That should have worked!), walking with her miles each night and doing anything I could possibly think of to help get our baby to pack its bags and come on out.

Our doula, Kristi (yes, babyourself’s fearless leader) tried to assure me that the baby would come when it was good and ready, and that it would all work out. What I really needed was a schedule. I began whispering in my wife’s ear at night how wonderful scheduled inductions were in the hopes that subconsciously it might help her see that scheduling our child’s entrance into this world wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Big surprise, she wanted no part of it.

On July 30, nine days early, our beautiful baby boy, Andrew, was born. In spite of my neurotic need to plan this whole thing out, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Kristi helped my wife achieve the natural child birth she wanted and I got a beautiful and healthy baby boy, and it ended up happening nine days early.

Each day since the birth has been another lesson in patience, another lesson in flexibility, and another lesson in how such a little person can make such a big mess. I’ve had to throw my schedule out the window and adapt to nearly everything. While I certainly wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything in the world, I’ll pass along a little advice to other dads out there in my boat. Grab a beer and your fishing pole, take a deep breath and realize that this is one time where planning is futile and patience is a must.

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