How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Fear of Falling

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Fear of Falling

Sometimes, we don’t realize what we’re ACTUALLY afraid of until we experience that which scares us, like the fear of falling when you’re waking from a dream.

As a younger man, I remember the first time someone asked me to hold their baby. I was so nervous and uncomfortable. Why did they ask me? I couldn’t concoct a fast enough reply. It would’ve sounded like, “Erm, well, I don’t like to… if you could… well… I…” but I just shrugged and luckily someone cut in line and scooped up the little monkey.

Who would give a kid to a kid TO HOLD?! ARGGG…

I’ve admired children my entire life and usually sided with them. They’re untethered, unassuming and unencumbered by the bullshit of growing up, failing or the darkness otherwise smudged across the story of their lives. And adults know better when they are unfair. If a child seemed like they’d been wronged, I was quick on the draw.

But the act of holding or carrying a baby scared the piss out of me.

Over the subsequent years, I learned to carry things like bags of flour, bags of apples, bags of groceries, various sizes of weighted plates and even pets. You could say I did some unconscious on-the-job exercises for the next time that I’d be offered the chance to hold/carry a young human child. The next time would be different.

It was Thanksgiving 2004, and my sister had just birthed her second child. We drove from Los Angeles up to Marin a few days prior, but having gorged ourselves beyond repair, we were set to head back down South. We decided to make a pitstop at my sister’s home in Palo Alto. I was still timid about the idea of holding a baby, let alone my blood relation. Fortunately, and I’m not exactly sure how but I think she was sick and sleepy, we decided to lay my niece on my chest.

That’s when my admiration for children and babies became unyielding love.

I could feel her breathing body placed delicately over my heart, sound asleep. A fire lit inside me and I knew I could protect someone so much smaller myself. I wasn’t afraid of dropping babies. I just didn’t know if I could be a father. I was afraid I wouldn’t let them go once they held onto me.

So, don’t give your fears too much credence. They’re smug advisers who want you to fail, and usually have nothing nice to say. And more importantly, the whispers they drip in your ear, aren’t what you’re actually afraid of.

First time holding my son

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Just kidding about the Hollywood part…

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you today by LifeLock, a leader in identity theft protection. This post is my own opinion and my crazytalk doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of Lifelock or its staff.


7 Responses to “Fear of Falling”

  1. Curiously, I had a similar fear. I didn’t as much have a fear of holding babies, but had a fear that babies wouldn’t like me. It wasn’t until I met up with a friend of mine (while my wife was 5mo preggers) and he let me hold his 7-mo-old that it started to change for the better. His little munchkin seemed to like me, and I let go of my fear that my daughter wouldn’t take to me. Luckily, I really had nothing to worry about.

  2. Laurie says:

    Certainly not a crazy fear, babies are amazingly scary! This post is sweet, you look at such ease with that little baby sleeping on you! And such a look of Awe looking at your own son!

  3. Marcy says:

    I have a friend who used to have a rule- he refused to hold babies who couldn’t hold up their own heads because he was afraid of breaking them somehow.

    He and his wife then went on to have triplets.

    Love the segue for the sponsored link at the end, btw. ; )

    • charlie says:

      It’s funny, I know a lot of men who have this trepidation for various reasons. Some are worried about breaking them. Some don’t like babies. In the end, should they have kids, things change 99.999% of the time. It’s a great cure-all in most cases.

      • WeirdFish says:

        One of my best friends is the same way, as well as his wife — and they both have gone through infant nieces and nephews! It does seem like trepidation over inadvertently causing injury.

        But if there’s anything my kid has taught me in the last 4 months, they’re indeed surprisingly resilient.

        Not to say that I DON’T have the fear of dropping him or accidentally letting him roll onto the floor from 6 feet up, and getting hauled off by CPS right after the FBI breaks down the door for illegally copying “300” (because they’re all watching me, dontchaknow).

        I’ve learned that leverage and center-of-gravity are quite interesting aspects of baby physics (especially when I have to transfer the kid from the arms of the daycare workers into my own and I want to avoid an accidental boob grab).

  4. Haha, I was terrified of holding babies too. But I’m a girl, and we’re supposed to know how to do those things instinctively (we don’t). But then my sister had one, and she was so terrifyingly small and fragile, but I held her constantly anyway 🙂

  5. This post made me smile Charlie. Mainly due to the recognition of my own fears fully realized front and center when the nurse offered to hand over my just born son to hold and my immediate reply was “no, that’s okay.” She gave me a knowing smile, and handed him over anyway. After moments holding him my fears drifted away replaced by awe. Life was going to be different forever.

    Vincent |

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