Dads, What Surprised You Most About Becoming a Father?

To celebrate Father’s Day this year, rather than post the standard (boring) gift-guide, we asked our community what surprised them most about becoming a father. Their responses might surprise you.

We’ve changed their names to guarantee anonymity. But real names or not, there are plenty of Dads out there that will be nodding their heads in recognition; the profound impact of becoming a parent is a universal experience. Of course, not everyone’s experience is the same but each is moving, hilarious and raw in equal measure. Here, we share the honest and heart-warming experiences of what was most surprising about being a Dad.

On Feeling Completely Exposed

Michael, 45 “Having a child is like watching your heart run around outside of your body completely unprotected.”

On Being Prepared

Chris, 34 says: “I thought I was prepared for fatherhood. I read the books, I watched the movies, I took loads of photos and supported my wife through the birth. But two things I couldn’t have planned for:

1. The first day back home with my daughter, I get up with the baby to give my wife a break. I carry my tiny baby carefully down stairs and that’s when it hit me, nature was calling (as it does when one wakes up) and I did not know what to do with a baby. I ended up holding her up high over my head while I peed all over the toilet.

2. Two months in I am hitting my stride, nothing can surprise me. I have changed some of the worst nappies, in some of the worst loos, and come though like a champ. One day I am changing an easy one at home, in the comfort of my own living room. Just as I’m about to wrap up: the dreaded whale spout, my darling baby girl starts to pee and simultaneously fart, spraying me right in the face with a noxious mix of fart and urine.”

On Instant Love – or Not

Ben, 28 says “I thought I needed to have this overwhelming love just wash over me. I felt… nothing for him. It felt like I was just supposed to one day have my whole universe in my hands. But I just kind of felt like ‘Um… cool. This dude just shows up and cries all the time, and I’m supposed to have this connection with him?’ It wasn’t until he was a about three months old and started smiling and stuff that I started to feel something. At nine months, he started to be really fun to be around and I knew I loved him.”

On Mortality

Jack, 31, says “When my wife told me she was pregnant…something I’d wanted for so long…my very first thought was Oh My God, I’m going to die. That’s something I was passively aware of, but not something I’d ever really cared about. Suddenly, I cared a LOT.

I’m going to be gone one day. Maybe without any warning. At any given second, I could die. And my daughter will have to carry on without her daddy for the rest of her life. Maybe she’ll be 50 when I die, maybe she’ll be five. Either way, I have to prepare her right now. I have to give her everything I have at every second, because it may be my last. My last second, my last words, my last chance. I have to be on the ball 100% of the time, doing everything that I can to prepare her for a world that I’m not going to be in.”

On Productivity

Will, 36 says “The soul crushing destruction of your productivity. My wife and I have a three and four year old. God help us if we need to get something done. Want to hang some pictures in your house? Let me run off with your hammer. The other one steals the nails. We had to assemble an Ikea couch today for our office as we could not get an assembled one through the door of the room. A one hour job took all day.”

On Imposter Syndrome

Lee, 34 says: “That my children, and everyone else, is convinced I know what I’m doing. I don’t.”

Chin up, Lee, none of us really know what we’re doing.

Thanks to all the Dads that generously shared the very human experience of surprising things about being a Dad.