Liahona
Overcoming the Fear of Becoming a Parent


Digital Only: Latter-day Dads

Overcoming the Fear of Becoming a Parent

Great blessings came when I chose to focus on the joys of fatherhood.

The author lives in Idaho, USA.

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Father and Child

I didn’t know what to expect when Susie, my wife, nervously called me over to the bathroom one evening. We’d been married only a short time, we were living at my mother-in-law’s house rent free, and both of us were working jobs to save money for college.

So when my wife told me she was pregnant, I was shocked. It still seemed too soon for us to have a baby. We felt so unprepared. In that moment, I knew I needed to step up and help my wife prepare for a baby. So I focused on the one feeling that was most positive then: my excitement at the idea of being a father.

A Change in Perspective

I’ve always been disturbed by the way fatherhood—and parenthood in general—is often portrayed in media. Fathers seem unaware of their spouse’s and children’s needs and feelings. They’re shown as incapable of caring for others and even themselves. Plus, becoming a parent has been described in media and in real life as the end of the “fun” phase of marriage. I often hear that life just gets harder, you don’t get any sleep, you get no time to yourself, and so on.

I now recognize that these portrayals are powerful tools of Satan to discourage us from building families. While there are challenges after having a child, there is also joy and fulfillment unlike any other.

I decided to reject every terrible thing I’d been told concerning fatherhood. Instead, I embraced everything positive about it and was committed to working through the difficult parts. Parenthood isn’t easy for many people, and I won’t tell you it was a piece of cake for me. Some fatherly traits didn’t come naturally. But before our baby was born, I did what I could to prepare myself and help my wife prepare as we stepped into our new role as parents.

I searched the scriptures to know how to prepare. I read other books about being a father as well. I studied how to change diapers. I made every effort to understand and sympathize with the pregnancy pains my wife would go through. And I did my best to stay optimistic. Turning to Heavenly Father in prayer helped me feel the peace I needed to get through the fear of becoming a parent.

The Love Families Bring

I don’t consider myself an emotional person, but as I watched my wife hold my baby girl on the day she was born, I cried with joy. In that moment, I realized that this baby girl would be with us forever, and I thanked Heavenly Father that she was safely here with us.

Looking back on that experience, I remembered a video about families that I’d shared often during my mission. The video, “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father,” showed a father going through his daily routine. What made the video so spiritual for me was how it related the daily routine of the family to the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. It ended with this statement: “Of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that are given to Deity, He has asked us to address Him as Father.”1

That quote meant even more to me once I actually was a father. Before, I simply thought of it as a relationship between God and me; He cares for me and guides me every day as my Father in Heaven. But being a father myself and feeling the indescribable love I have for my daughter made me realize even more how much love my Heavenly Father has for me. The gospel is a model for families, and once we have a family of our own, we can understand more of the love that Heavenly Father has for us within our own lives.

Moving Forward

Today my daughter is over a year old and growing up fast. Being a father has made me grow too, in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. Fatherhood brings me more joy than any amount of free time and sleep I could have had otherwise. Despite feeling unprepared for fatherhood, Heavenly Father’s love motivated me to prepare as much as I could. That love has kept me going. As it says in Luke 12:31, “Seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I sought first to do everything that would prepare me to be a parent, and then came the peace and joy that accompany fatherhood. The negative can never outweigh the positives of such a divine role. Fatherhood is meant to be embraced and enjoyed, and that is the greatest lesson I have learned and continue to learn in this role as a father.

Note

  1. Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “A Message from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” pamphlet, Dec. 1973; see also “Father, Consider Your Ways,” Ensign, June 2002, 12.