firm but loving rules
It was nice to see all the dads stand up at Mass on Sunday to receive a special blessing. It's a yearly ritual, but one I found more inspiring than usual. At the end of the service, I walked up to a "future" dad (wife is due in Sept) and asked why he didn't stand up. He replied "the baby isn't here yet." While that is conventional thought - dads have to wait longer than moms who start bonding with baby while in the womb - I don't really see it that way. Why you ask?
My pro-life roots If a baby is created at the moment of conception, then that is when life starts right? If the dad helped create that life, isn't he the father of that baby? It would be hard for me to consider myself pro-life and then think that one day, when/if I become pregnant, I will have sole responsibility for that life and no one else is part of it. The dads are a part of the process from day one and should be respected for that.
So, I came home that night and told my husband that, had I been pregnant, I would have given him a card. I would have thanked him for creating life with me and protecting both of us. I imagine one day he will do this by supporting my often unsuccessful quest to eat healthy by gently reminding me of the importance for the baby to receive good nutrients. One day he will massage my aching feet and comfort me when the "pregnancy hormones" drive me crazy or to tears. He will take the time to plan for the child and support me in any challenges I might face from nausea to labor complications. He will be another great model for me and others of what it means to be a dad (and husband) even before having a cute baby to play with.
Just because the fun of bonding with a baby that can be held can't start yet, doesn't mean you are not a dad. I wish more people might see it like that and give men the respect they deserve. To say you're not a dad until the baby comes really negates anything you did to help in the process of forming the little one from conception to birth. I haven't put my husband through it yet, but I'm sure there are some fatherly love and sacrifices involved in the process :-) So thank you to all dads and especially mine. I know you loved me from day one - thanks for supporting mom through the trials and triumphs of giving birth and raising twin daughters.