Scared out of your mind about becoming a father? First of all, congratulations. Second, you're not alone. In fact, we've reached out to our wonderful community of parents to find out what men found most intimidating before they became dads for the first time.
Below are 30 of their responses, ranging from bath time and diapers to financial and existential stress.
1. "That I will fall short of my father. He is the best."
2. "Would I ever sleep again?"
3. "Sh-tty diapers."
4. "That I wouldn't know how to love unconditionally."
5. "Perpetually afraid I was going to drop or otherwise hurt him. Someone told me 'Think about it, cave people raised babies. They're pretty rugged,' and I was fine after that."
“That I wouldn't know how to love unconditionally.”
6. "That I wouldn't able to cope with the stress of parenting."
7. "As a black male in his mid 20's, I'm always fearful that society will view me as a poor example of being a good father to my child because of what other men of color have done, and I'm not going to pay for their mistakes."
8. "That I'd bring home the wrong baby from daycare."
9. "Finding out it was a girl and realizing I'd have to pay for her wedding! Then baby number two -- yes, also a girl. Two weddings!"
10. "The very same fears I have today. That I won't be a good father to my girls and I set a bad example that sets a course throughout their lives."
11. "That my children would see me as I saw myself: inadequate and flawed."
12. "That I won't be able to protect him from everything."
13. "My biggest fear was 'what if they don't like Star Wars?'"
“That my children would see me as I saw myself: inadequate and flawed.”
14. "That he wouldn't be healthy."
15. "Financial stress."
16. "As a single dad, my biggest fear was 'how would I replace a mother's love?'"
17. "Bath time during the first few months."
18. "Work-life balance ... getting enough time with family but being productive at work to keep my job."
19. "How will the fact that he is a young man of color growing up in this country affect him?"
20. "Is she sleeping too little? Is she sleeping too much? Am I being paranoid? Am I being not paranoid enough? ... My daughter is 8 months old. Every day is a new fear, everyday I love her more than the day before."
21. "That I wouldn't know how to relate to my daughter."
“How will the fact that he is a young man of color growing up in this country affect him?”
22. "I feared for the world. Because my kid is epic! Boom."
23. "That my wife will want another one."
24. "Being responsible for someone else's life."
25. "Whether or not I could teach my daughter what she needed to know in order to grow into a kind, loving and brave adult, and most of all maintain an optimistic spirit in today's pessimistic world."
26. "Lack of sex."
27. "That one day my daughter will grow up, and she will be interested in [the] Kardashians."
28. "That I wouldn't be able to give my kid the same attention I give to my wife. I was happily wrong."
29. "Holding a newborn, being clueless for an emergency. Now I'm a father of three! I got this, unless there's an emergency. I just lose my sh-t!"
“That I wouldn't be able to give my kid the same attention I give to my wife. I was happily wrong.”
30. "My son's a toddler now, and I've been terrified since day one. That I may not live up to expectations, that something could go wrong, that even in the best case scenario I cannot possibly be there for my boy forever. All of that [pales in comparison] to the joy, purpose and fulfillment that my little boy has brought into my life though. This is a good type of fear, because it's one born not of self-interest, but of love. It's an experience unlike any other."
Some quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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