Thursday, July 23, 2009

Confessions of a new Dad

In a way this is a post I have been writing in my head for the last 9 months, ever since Geetha told me we were expecting. But somehow I've not been able to put any of my thoughts into words. Even now my mind is in a constant state of turmoil swinging from wild excitement to mind-numbing fear to brimming with an emotion I'm not even sure how to explain except to say it becomes kind of hard to breathe but in a strangely nice way. I'm probably not making any sense to the uninitiated but such is the mental state of a freshly minted parent. I now understand the knowing smiles my parents have been giving me all these years. It meant criticize us all you want now but we'll wait and watch you muddle about when its your turn.
My daughter came to this world ahead of schedule and gave us a taste of the sleepless nights to come straight away. She was diagnosed as being small for gestational age in utero and we couldn't find a reason. One of the problems with being a doctor when you are an expecting parent is that you immediately tend to look for the worst differential diagnoses, even though in some part of your rational mind there's a voice saying that you are over-reacting and it'll be fine. That voice is however easily engulfed and silenced by the irrational fears of a father. Never again will I show the slightest bit of impatience with a parent enquiring about their child. After a torrid week at the hospital where she scared us with her weight (1.78kgs), jaundice and a false alarm with neonatal hypothyroidism, we finally brought her home so that we could settle into the serious business of feeding her every second hour and hoping that all this effort is rewarded with a gain in weight. Never before in my life have I measured grams so assiduously. Every sneeze or cough, every sound she emitted commanded immediate and complete attention. If she craps we worry, was that enough, wasn't it a little too runny and God forbid if she doesn't crap on schedule then we also become scared shitless. All of it would actually have been funny if it wasn't all too real. And all talk of a big family maybe even a set of twins have all gone out the window. Twins!?! What was I thinking!
But it cant and wont always be like this. One day she will be bigger and hopefully soon, toilet trained. And then we'll have different things to worry about. Like where she's crawling off to next or will she walk those few steps without falling. And all too soon there'll be tantrums, school, sleepovers with friends, and, dare i say it, boyfriends!! But I'm sure it wont be all worries. There'll be special moments that only a father and daughter can share, trips that we can take, lively discussions about books, movies, life and love. But I'm getting way ahead of myself here. My baby still cant hold her neck up let alone look at another baby boy. So thats something I can worry about later. But its fun to imagine all the worrying I can do in the coming future. And if you think I have lost my marbles, then such is the state of a freshly minted parent.


Jaysamma said...

CONGRATS SANJEEV! ...... and well written :-)

Amit Malik said...

have lived thru this not once but twice , though second time a lot was expected and we were more ready but yet got surprised many a times. Each child is a new experience and pray you have many more