Reflecting on My Impending Fatherhood
I Am Freaking the Fuck Out
Yep, this long-haired, sailor-tongued goofball is going to be a dad; I’m in at least as much disbelief as you, dear reader. My girlfriend has taken three positive pregnancy tests and we have ultrasound pictures, we’re quite certain this is happening.
Yes, it’s exciting. Truthfully though, above all else, I’m scared shitless.
Raising a child wasn’t something I envisioned for myself, at all, for most of my years as (technically) an adult. Only within the last couple of years did it enter my mind, even as a possibility. I wholeheartedly credit my beautiful girlfriend, Charlie, with opening up that consideration for me. Before her, the thought of reproduction seemed to me like punishment for the enjoyment of sex. While I still feel some trepidation at passing my genes off to some poor soul, I have fostered more of an inclination for raising a mini-us.
For a long time, I didn’t suspect I’d make it out of my adolescent years in the first place. Being as depressed as I was as a teenager, I figured I’d commit suicide sooner or later; I had no vision for my life whatsoever. I didn’t know where I wanted to go or what I wanted out of life, and in a lot of ways, I’m still figuring it out.
When I aimlessly fumbled my way into college, I began pursuing a writing degree. Linguistics are my wheelhouse. I love words: their evolutions, their phonemes, storytelling and poetry, it’s an all-encompassing passion for me. However, American academia isn’t structured in a way I found conducive to bettering myself as a writer.
After a couple of mental breakdowns, and stupidly spending a week in the county jail over weed, I came to the conclusion a writing degree wouldn’t get me closer, in any real sense, to getting paid for the kind of writing I want to do. My student debt isn’t as crippling as some examples I’ve seen, but it’s a good years worth of wages I can’t just pull of out my ass on a moment’s notice, and Nelnet can get away with borderline loan shark interest rates. I could have taken a copy-editing position, or some job concocting outrage-generating clickbait, but that felt like I’d be cheating myself and my talents.
For now, I pay the bills with blood money, or phlebotomy, if you want to be boring about it. I discovered I had a knack for it on a whim, and although it’s not something I’m especially passionate about, it pays better and more consistently than delivering pizza. On top of that, I felt guilty at my other job at the “tobacco shop". Getting teens and young adults enormously hooked on nicotine, an addiction which proved first-hand to be very difficult to overcome, weighed heavily on my conscience. Bloodwork is more interesting and I’m actually helping people instead of selling them flavorful poisons. Nobody enjoys getting stabbed with the blood draw needle, but my goal is to make it as smooth and pleasant an experience as it can be. Only in phlebotomy is there such a satisfaction to hearing “Wow, I didn’t feel a thing when you put it in!”
I want to give my child a better life than I’ve led, as we all do. It’s the “how" we tend to disagree on.
My dad’s porn addiction was a severe contributor to my traumas during my formative years. I’ve gone back and forth on the subject of porn addiction as it applies to my own sexual proclivities. I’m both a visual and kinetic learner, one might say. I enjoy porn, but do I enjoy it for its own sake, or do I enjoy it because it was my very first hit of dopamine? Am I truly addicted, or have I not wanted to give up something benign that I enjoy? Is porn at fault for my dad’s perversions, or would he have those same predilections regardless?
As of recently, I decided to severely limit my porn consumption, but admittedly, more for selfish reasons: personally, I feel it makes me less “consistent” in the bedroom, so to speak, when I regularly watch porn, and sex is definitely something that gets more fun the better you are at it. While I hope my decision has a positive outcome on the home environment we’ll be bringing the child into, we’re going to be raising a child in a post-WAP world, so overt sexuality is just going to have to be dealt with very carefully, but candidly.
Do I think porn is evil? Not inherently. Do I think the porn industry is? Sure, but I would say that about literally every industry. Let’s not pretend as if Nike or Coca-Cola could morally high road Brazzers and actually have a leg to stand on.
My father’s hair-trigger temper was the other major contributor to the damage which shaped the person I became. Saying or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time could have violently negative consequences. Admittedly, it was primarily “just” spankings (meaning a hand, or wooden spoon, or plastic hanger, or a stick from the yard was used to flail on my ass like a fleshy piñata). Variety being the spice of life, he was known to switch it up from time to time: back of the hand, back of the head, front of the face.
Although he never attempted a closed-fist strike, he did get more comfortable smacking me places besides my ass as I got older. Up until I was 16, that is, and I retaliated with everything I could muster. Suffice to say, he needed internal and external stitches above his eyebrow after that, which cemented that incident as the last time he ever tried inflicting violence on me. Older generations love to say that they “got spanked and turned out fine”, but then wonder why the world is a putrid fucking dumpster fire as they go out and pour gas on it.
Have I done enough work on controlling my temper to bring a child into this world? Is there even any future for them with this climate bullshit? Or this COVID bullshit? My parents were borderline teetotalers, rarely so much as tipsy, how am I going to keep my kid from doing drugs? What if my relationship corrodes and we don’t set the example for loving relationships that I know we both desperately want to? What if my girlfriend doesn’t survive labor? What if the moon crashes into the hospital and kills us all?
My anxiety has been going on a relentless rampage, and everyone keeps telling me, “It’s going to be okay,” but I never feel like it actually is.
I already love this kid. I know I would die and/or kill for this kid. I’m getting misty-eyed writing this, merely contemplating them coming into existence. They are forming right now in Charlie’s womb beside me, which is incomprehensibly fucking crazy. All I want to do is protect them both, and I couldn’t override that if I wanted to.
Financially, I haven’t the foggiest clue how this will work out, but I’ve been told repeatedly by loved ones that it will, so I’ll just have faith in my support system that they won’t allow us to flounder helplessly, at least not for too long. With a little luck, perhaps this will be the Medium article to blow up and permit me to write full-time.
I’m hopeful that in sharing my fears and feelings on this imminent, massive life change, others will feel less isolated in their own similar experiences, get a little schadenfreude out of it, maybe even inspire someone to wear a condom…
Thank you for reading and God bless.