It Gets Better
I think there should be an It Gets Better Project aimed at new parents. I’m not saying being a new parent is as difficult as being a GLBT teen, but I am saying that new parents need some help understanding that there is a light at the end of the newborn tunnel. At our house, we had a rough first three months. Becky was recovering from a traumatic birth experience, Rosalie was having the usual newborn struggles and I was struggling with some sort of testosterone-enhanced version of post-partum depression. And then, right at the three-month mark, things got better. Everything looked almost exactly the same from the outside, but in the blink of an eye things were less stressful, easier to manage and much more fun – as if we thought we were treading water amidst a sea of sharks, only to suddenly realize they were dolphins.
It’s not that I wasn’t told that things would get better. I heard this from friends, I read it in books and I heard it from many of you who read this blog, but I never really believed it. Maybe it’s the old, “sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees,” cliche, or maybe it’s just that I’m hard-headed, but really, it was nearly impossible to understand how our lives would improve. It seemed to me that things would only get more difficult as Rosalie gets older, as Becky goes back to work and as we are expected to be normal contributing members of society – instead of zombies that smell like baby formula and fear. And you know what? Things probably do get harder logistically, but what I underestimated is how different Becky and I would be – and how different we were those first three months. If I’m being honest, I’m pretty embarrassed that I’ve struggled this much with getting a grip on fatherhood. I thought it was possible to take fatherhood in stride (and maybe it is for some people) and I was really disappointed in myself when I couldn’t do it. I really do think it would have helped if I could have watched a few “It Gets Better” videos of parents sharing horror stories and talking about how much their lives have improved. Especially if Oprah would have made one. After all, if Oprah says it and it’s on the internet, it must be true.
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