For the first few months after becoming dads to baby Harper, we constantly fielded the same question: “Are you both exhausted?”
Maybe exhaustion provides a right of passage as a parent, but we both felt amazing. Were we not doing something correctly? Our new parent fact: a newborn is very easy. Life happens in the simplest form. Every day revolves around eating, sleeping and playing. As new parents, we continued the same routines of our daily life that we had as a family of two.
Now, the adoption process leading up to becoming dads was definitely a journey of complete and total exhaustion! Not being completely in control of the process and the outcome impacted every aspect of our daily lives. I truly believe that we both held our breaths until the day we met our daughter Harper. Once we began to parent, I feel that we embraced our new roles as dads.
Harper was born in Abilene, Texas, and we spent 12 days as brand-new parents away from our family and home. Living out of a suitcase and in a hotel is not the most ideal situation with a six-pound baby, but we faced everything head on as we navigated this starkly different life role.
We made mistakes, asked a lot of questions and went over our data limit with Google searches, but we just jumped in and let Harper teach us. We realized there was no book, class, seminar or YouTube video that can truly prepare you as a first-time parent.
Matthew and I were shocked when someone expressed displeasure toward us for having Harper out at a restaurant when she was only one-week old. I never read or heard of staying home until she reached a certain age. Our desires were for Harper to fit in our lives and be a part of everything that we enjoyed doing, and we would make sure that everything we enjoyed doing fit around her daily routine of eating, sleeping and playing.
Perhaps one of my most stressful moments came when we were only a couple of hours away from the hospital where we would first meet Harper. Feeding and burping an infant was terrifying to me. I did not want to start the learning process in front of Harper’s birthmother and family, all of whom I knew would be at the hospital upon our arrival. My only request was for Matthew to jump in and volunteer if we got asked to feed or diaper Harper while at the hospital. I begged him with this only request and he ensured me he would not “throw me under the bus.”
Matthew and I were enjoying the site of our barely one-day-old daughter when someone asked which one of us wanted to feed Harper first. Believe it or not, Matthew looked at me and said, “Do you want to?” Seriously! I am a pro now, well, except for the swaddling.