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  • Writer's pictureJacob Hansen

On Becoming Dad: A Journal Entry From 2013

I originally had this posted on another blog I used to have back in 2013. But because this post was so important in my life I figured I would repost it here for my own memories. This was written a few weeks after the birth of my sons (fraternal twins). ---------------- People often told me there is no experience like having a child and boy did I figure that out in a big way. Experiences like this are rare and sacred so I have decided to record it now while the memories are still fresh.

An Experience Like no Other.

It's like a dream. One day you are going along with your round bellied wife and the next you have a child, you are a father and your world and perspective is totally changed. The experience itself was exhausting but while in it you have so much adrenaline you cope with it. It's like you lose track of all time. I remember forgetting what day it was in the course of the week that we spent getting the babies here and getting both of them home. The whole time I could not help but think "Wow people have done this for thousands of years?"

Needless to say having a child gives you a new respect for the sisterhood of mothers. There is a bond as old as time between women who have born children. The experience is so intense, so painful and so exhausting, that to think people once had babies in caves and mud huts blew my mind as we sat in the hospital. There also is a deep respect I gained for mankind in general. We all came into the world this way. We all came as innocent defenseless infants. This commonality echos the truth that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all connected and all have come from the same source. It was like I suddenly saw us all as I believe God sees us; as his babies, all equal, all innocent the way we were on that first day in the world. Through life's experiences, pains and joys we mold ourselves into various types of people and seek various ways to contribute. We become doctors, nurses, businessmen, politicians, teachers, and on and on and create this incredible network of people that working together form the phenomenon that is the human family dealing with our existence on earth. I came away from the experience fascinated and grateful for the miracles we humans are.

The connection to the boys was in a way instantaneous, but in other ways was not at all. Some parents talk about how they instantly feel connected to the baby. I did not feel that. I was more shocked than anything. That shock stemmed from me trying to process the magnitude of what was going on. Mainly, that these were my sons, these were the two spirits entrusted to me who would view me as I viewed my Dad. That immense responsibility morphed over the next few days and weeks to a desire to hold them, to be with them and make them feel safe and loved with me. I wanted them to know they were loved and that they had a Dad who would fulfill his obligations to them with all his heart. So it was not love at first site, but rather love that has come and continues to come as I contemplate my responsibilities and desire to bless these innocent boys as we come to know each other through the many years ahead.

Family and The High Stakes Game of Life.

The importance of family was seared into my soul through this experience. I felt as though Papa Dan, Grandma Lyle and many other relatives were present in some way during all of this and that they too were excited to welcome these newcomers to our family. The divine design of fathers, mothers and grandparents who love one another became so real and so validated through this experience. The experience cried out that life is a divine cycle that seeks to bring people to this world in the best way possible if we would only follow its course. Some babies come with loving parents waiting for them happily. Others come to single scared girls unsure of how to care for them. Others are not wanted at all. The power of procreation, its connection to family and the respect it merits flooded my mind. Poor choices can drastically alter this divine plan and cause immeasurable harm to others.

I realized that my entire life I was being prepared for this moment and that all the standards, the discipline and the guidance was given to protect my ability to be happy myself and bring others into a happy family unit. It killed me to think of less prepared fathers who, for fear or apathy, abandon an innocent child and its mother. It killed me to think of how through poor choices and attitudes innocent babies can be seen as a burden instead of a blessing. It was a strange mix of feelings. The great joy of a baby arriving with loving accepting arms there to greet them and take them in and the other thought of other innocent children entering this world already abandoned due to the poor choices of others. Truly life is a high stakes game and I was grateful that I had been prepared.

Gratitude, Tears and Angels.

Another thought I had consistently was gratitude for health. Having the chance to spend time in the NICU of a major children's hospital, and dealing with the possibility of your baby having a serious life altering illness is a humbling experience. I gained a deep penetrating empathy for those who deal with sick children and a gratitude for my health and the health of my babies. I felt like every day I should wake up and give thanks just for being able to stand, breath and hold a baby that is healthy and happy. I also felt like hugging and crying with each of those other scared parents in the NICU dealing with so much more than me. The empathy I felt was intense, it was real and it taught me how the cloud of painful and terrifying experiences has a silver lining that creates a sincere love and concern for others.

I also did something I have not done in a long time....I wept. After, I was sure I was alone with Wyatt in the NICU I broke down and let all the emotion out. I prayed through those tears that he would be ok and that if he was to suffer some major disability or illness that I would be able to accept willingly the responsibilities I would be given. There is something strangely therapeutic about weeping. It is such a raw human experience in which your body and your soul connect in this powerful emotional event. Oddly enough in the days following this experience I could not help but think of the simple scripture "Jesus wept". It seems like a simple statement, but it conveys the fact that, despite his divine nature, Christ was a human being with all the emotion and pain that accompany that. Thinking of him weeping for his children, as I had just done for mine made me keenly aware of Christ and his nature in a way I had not previously felt.

In this experience I saw some terrible sad things while in the hospital and how low the human family can sink. However, I also saw humanity at its finest. I saw loving grandparents and relatives there to help. Church members, who barely knew us, offering meals and help. I saw doctors and nurses pray over the bedside of my baby who they just met. I saw the professionalism, respect and care of so many of the health professionals around us. Even our humble hospital room janitor seemed to be an angel as she told us that she had prayed the night before specifically for our baby in the NICU. Truly they were like angels. I am not a superstitious person, but there were individuals I met in the hospital that I sincerely questioned if they were actually really angels. I have heard miraculous stories about angels in hospitals and after meeting a few of the nurses I could not help but think to myself, people are not like this, people are not this genuinely loving and concerned for complete strangers. I have heard stories of metaphorical angels and of actual angels and I can only say that in this experience several times I was not sure which I was dealing with.

As I thought about and continue to think about the future, it is overwhelming. My life has fundamentally changed and will never be the same. I know their is a long road ahead and there will be much still to experience both good and bad. In all of this I have come away a better person. More aware of others, more empathetic, more grateful, and certainly with greater faith in the reality of our spiritual natures and the reality of and reasons for God's plan for the family. I can only hope to be equal to the task ahead, my greatest work in this life, the work that bears the title "Dad".

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