A couple of years ago, I was running a DaddyNatal workshop in Peterborough which was being filmed for BBC’s The One Show, which happened to fall on Fathers Day. At the end of the workshop I gave all the dads a card to celebrate their first Fathers Day. Having just done the DaddyNatal workshop with me, they understood why I did it, but I know many who would have said ‘Why did they get a card when they are not dads yet?‘ The point is, whether your baby has arrived already or is still waiting to arrive, you are already a parent, whether its a mum or a dad.
My first Fathers Day was actually about two weeks after the birth of my son. It was amazing, I felt like a ‘proper’ dad, which was a really great feeling after having been through some bonding issues. A year later, I celebrated fathers day again with Oren but also, thanks to Steph, with Willow also in mind although she was still a couple of weeks from making her arrival. The DaddyNatal journey had already begun by this point, but celebrating that Fathers day and thinking about what it meant to be dad to both a son and a yet-to-arrive daughter really started to make real to me what antenatal bonding was really about and why it mattered. This year of course I get to do it all again as Dad to Oren and Willow, but also of course, as dad to our unborn son.
I’m not going to write again at length about the importance of antenatal bonding, as it is already covered in this post When does a man become a dad? but also in further detail in my book The Expectant Dads Handbook. What I would like to suggest though, is the idea that Fathers Day is an excellent chance for us to celebrate expectant dads as well. It is a chance for us to encourage them to recognise their role as dad has already begun, to bond with their baby before they are born and start thinking about what kind of dad they are hoping to be.
If you are a mum-to-be reading this blog, or the friend of a guy who is expecting a baby, why not use this Fathers Day as a chance to celebrate and support his journey into fatherhood? You could do this through any number of ways, getting him a card from the ‘bump’ or a small gift such as a daddy t-shirt (I have a great one which says Sympathy Bump on it… not sure what Steph was getting at?!)
If you want a Fathers Day gift for the expectant dad which will be useful now, for the birth and beyond, as a special offer I have a limited number of books that I am signing with a personalised message – which you can order here. (Of course, if you don’t want a personalised message, you can also buy it from Amazon, WHSmith, Waterstones and most other good book stores, or for those who prefer to download, it is also available on Kindle and Ebook.)
However you choose to recognise your journey, enjoy it! I am already looking forward to Fathers Day and taking a little time to reflect on being a dad of three!