When I was pregnant, and before many people knew, I’d tag photos of my husband with #whothatis from that 90’s song “My Baby Daddy” because, that’s just who I am and it was a fun secret between us.
My husband was a father from the moment he saw the two positive at home tests. From that moment he was excited, but for me he played it cool. He let me think it was a fluke and that there was no way that after years of trying it had finally happened. But he knew and he was all in.
It took two more at home pregnancy tests, and finally a test at the doctor’s office to fully convince me that this was really happening. It had happened! I was pregnant, and I finally allowed myself to be excited and to let it all set in. The whole time, he knew. He was thrilled and embracing his new role as Papa Bear.
It’s like something turned on the moment he knew he was a father. He became even more attentive, loving, understanding and he took even more care of me and our little growing babe. He would sleep with his arms wrapped around us, his hand protectively on my belly. He made sure I got enough rest, helped me figure out ways to ease my morning sickness, and figured out very quickly my subtle signs of pregnancy crankiness. We dreamed and planned together. He was all in at every stage. Later when the worst happened, he was all in then too.
He has been my rock through this whole process, from the emergency room to learn of the devastating news that we had lost our baby, and every day since. he’s been there. Not only has he put my feelings before his own, he’s held me, kissed my tears away, and whisked me away when life became more than I could bare. He’s been my safe harbor and kept me sane when I’d thought I’d lose it all.
Aside from all that, he’s also leaned on me. He’s allowed me to be there for him and support him as well. He’s learned how to work together, and communicate with each other through this difficult time where emotions are high and misunderstandings abound. Most importantly, through it all, through the difficulty of the past year, he has honored, loved and grieved our baby with me. Like any good father would, he’s missed what would could have been just as much as I have. Every holiday, every family gathering, every special moment, he’s missed her too, and there’s this unspoken understanding between us, that, this isn’t how it was supposed to be. It’s nice to have that, to have someone who understands where you are in life, in your grief, in your healing. It’s nice to have a husband who is also a caring and loving father, who continues to honor their child through grief and pain.
Just as Mother’s Day is difficult to mothers of loss, Father’s Day can be just as difficult to fathers of loss as well. I want Daddy’s to know that they are also important, and their feelings and grief also matter in this process, they are not any less than our own. Just because you did not experience the physical loss of a child (through miscarriage or stillbirth), does not mean that you are not experiencing a very real and emotional loss, that is valid and recognized. You are still a father and will continue to be a father.
To my husband.
You have been a wonderful father from the moment you found out you were going to be a father.
And you continue to be, everyday. Nothing will ever change that.
We are so lucky to be loved by you.
We love you Papa!