It causes your over-protective instinct to kick in, it gives you an overwhelming urge to provide and sacrifice everything for tiny hands and feet, and more importantly, it motivates you to work a little harder and be better because everything depends on you - we call it fatherhood.
The list of roles fathers play can continue, but do you ever wonder how they prepare for it? According to first-time father Nigel Collymore, it is an experience that no amount of research can prepare you for. However, the advice of parents and mentors can take you a long way on this journey.
Nigel, who is a former Journalist, and his wife Leah Hernandez-Collymore welcomed their bouncing baby boy, Gabriel, in December of 2021.
The young dad shared that when he first found out that his wife was pregnant, he was overjoyed. He said his main priority was ensuring his wife was physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the journey to parenthood.
“I wasn’t scared about me, but I was scared about how my wife would feel. My initial impulse was to get her emotions and mind under control and make sure that we were on the same page,” Nigel explained.
He added, “I took her into consideration before myself. We were both happy, and I felt like I was entering an age of sacrifice, but the reality is that I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed that much in the beginning. I was looking to have a positive environment in place around us.”
Nigel stated that he and his wife set their minds to be positive, and that foundation is what has been carrying them.
“I cannot say that a lot of the expectations matched. A great 80 percent of the things I was told to expect did not happen with us, for example, the losing sleep phase. I don’t feel like I’ve lost sleep at all, I mean, there were many nights we got up late to get him his bottle, but it wasn’t as scary and tiring as it was made out to be, but yes, there were some moments of difficulties like when he would become fussy.”
Very enthusiastic about his new journey, this young father shared the joy he experiences watching his son grow and accomplish new things daily.
“I enjoy looking at him grow and develop. I got to witness him going from not being able to open his tiny eyes and see to seeing and acknowledging us. Even at 6 months, he’s displaying unique traits already. When I come home from work, there’s always a new report of what he has accomplished. He wakes up in the middle of the night to play, not to cry but just to touch my face.”
The first time dad says he is focused on teaching his son the strength of life and ensuring that he is heading down the right road.
Nigel posited, “I want to teach my son the strength of focus, his grandfathers just go about their business they don’t stop to hear thank you, they don’t pout, if they have something to impart they impart it, they're always teaching even if you’re not up for it. He will learn to accept validation once it’s given and accept when it is not given, it's really not to be validated by anyone but by God.”
According to Nigel, his journey to date has been memorable and fantastic. His advice to fellow fathers is to cultivate a positive environment for your child.
“It feels fulfilling; it feels like you don’t understand what the fear was about before. Fatherhood makes you look at yourself with a bit more value and push to carry yourself with a bit more integrity every day. I haven’t been on this journey for long, but I’ve learnt a lot in six months, so my advice to fellow fathers is to cultivate a positive environment for your child and accept advice and teachings from older folks.”
He continued, “At the end of the day, as fathers, we are the leaders, we are the ones who mould, we guide, we are the ones who steer the ship. No one’s direction should be our direction because God gave us fathers the mandate to steer our family. I think fathers should come back to a place where they understand that they are the leaders, and no pressure from the outside should ever change that.”