The lack of sleep, the never-ending nappy changes, the overwhelming sense of devotion: Becoming a father for the first time is an emotional rollercoaster. These five new dads spoke to BuzzFeed about how they and their babies will be marking their first Father's Day.
Chris, father of Leo
The feeling of becoming a father is indescribable and not something you can prepare for, Chris says. “People tell you what it's going to be like but until he [Leo] was actually there, it didn't feel really real. And since then it's been a steep learning curve.”
One thing Chris wishes he'd known was how much sleep he would be missing out on. But through all of the sleepless nights and all the hard work, seeing Leo smile and laugh is the most rewarding part of becoming a father.
As Leo grows, Chris wants to see him make his own choices. “I know a lot of people out there, they pressure their kids to do this and that, but I want him to be him. I don't care what he does as a job or if goes to university or college. I just want him to be happy and healthy and do what he wants to do.”
Joel, father of Coco
Since becoming a father, Joel has felt like he has more do to – and that there is more to look forward to in the future. He has visions of him and his family sitting around the table and laughing together. “I feel excitement about what we have created and look forward to each stage of her development," he says. "Finding out how a combination of two people pans out is fascinating. I have been surprised about the rush of warmth I get when I see her – oxytocin is one hell of a drug. Plus she is special...and very advanced...and all the other things parents are sure of.”
Joel hopes he will be a fair father. “I hope for her to make her own mistakes and to live without fear. I'd also add that I don't want to seem too alien from her and want to be always approachable and relaxed.”
Michael, father of Ivan
“I've dreamt about being a father for literally all my life!" says Michael. "I grew up the eldest of five, and growing up as a Nigerian child in London, it becomes second nature to look after your siblings when the folks head out. I enjoyed watching my siblings grow up and go through different phases of their young lives (I still do) and wished that one day it will be my kids I will have the pleasure in observing grow up into superhumans.”
Being so close to his family, Michael has always valued his father's opinions in life. The best piece of advice his father gave him is: “Your family comes first. In every decision you make, think of them first and how it could affect them.”
Michael wants Ivan and his future siblings to be fearless in their pursuits through life, to be confident and know their father will always support them through their choices.
Peter, father of Raff
“I always hoped I’d be a dad one day, but didn’t think I was likely to have a kid,” Peter says. “So five months in I’m still in mild shock about the whole thing. Generally though, apart from the blinding fear that accompanies my every waking moment, it’s a real joy and about 100 times better than I ever imagined it could be.”
Since becoming a father Peter has “put on a stone and lost 7 points of my IQ. I’m also a lot happier.” He hopes to teach his son to care about the things he does in life, to enjoy his choices and to give something back along the way. When it comes to the future with his wife, Rosie, and Raff, Peter says: “In the long term I hope that the world doesn’t go mad and we end up living in some sort of dystopian nightmare. I suppose it’s a common thing with a lot of parents to watch the news and worry about the world the kids will grow up in. But if Rosie, Raff, and I can carve out a bit of happiness in the collective madness currently descending upon the planet, then that’d be just peachy.”
Paul, father of Cosmo
Paul says it was love at first sight when he laid eyes on his son. One of the most joyful, heartwarming moments in his life was when he picked Cosmo up from nursery and his boy ran as fast as he could straight into his arms. He revels in such moments with pride and privilege, "but this joy comes with a huge weight of responsibility," he says. "To keep him safe, to give him a loving home, to guide him in his life, to make sure he has boundaries but also the freedom to become who he wants to be. To not impose upon him my beliefs or ideas. The list of responsibilities is endless, but I'm not sure there is a greater thing you can do with your life."
As Cosmo grows, Paul wants to be "a kind, patient father, lots of fun and an inspiration to him. I hope to see Cosmo develop into a well-rounded, open, considerate man who can cope with adversity and treat success with humility. But most of all I hope for him [to have] happiness in a world of peace."