24 Dads Share Experience Becoming A Father For The First Time

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Being a dad might be one of the most rewarding (and difficult) things you’ll ever do. We know it’s not always rainbows and sunshine when you first meet your little one. But, there’s nothing quite like being a father, even if many of the days are hard. Fatherhood comes with a whole set of problems on its own, but the month of June is all about those dads who put their best foot forward, no matter the circumstances. We love and appreciate the dads of the world who are making a difference in their children’s lives!

No matter how your kids came into your family, it was sure to be a special day. With Father’s Day around the corner, we wanted to highlight how dads really felt when they first became a father. These real dads gave us quotes about the vulnerable time in their lives as they became fathers. From silly to sweet quotes, this is the article we all need right now. But reader, I have to warn you. Grab some tissues before reading because this is one definite tear-jerker.

I’m Happy To Call Him Mine

“I never expected to date someone with kids, but from the second we met, I felt a connection to my wife’s son. Though no one asked me to be his father, I’m happy to call him mine. It’s been a more difficult transition than I had thought, but in the end, when he first called me ‘Dad,’ I knew it was worth it.” – Ben K.

The Biggest Honor, Reward, And Award I’ve Ever Received

“Fatherhood is the biggest honor, reward, and award I’ve ever received. I am the biological father of a 24-year-old daughter and adoptive parent of two boys: an 11 and 16-year-old. I believe a child receives their identity from their father. A father has the unique ability to affirm and confirm his offspring’s position and purpose in life. I protect this spiritual mandate with the utmost responsibility.” – Laterras R. Whitfield 

The Most Magical Moment In Our Entire Lives

“After frustratingly failing to have our first child for almost four years, Kieron and I finally found ourselves in the hospital room at what ended up being the most magical moment in our entire lives. My husband caught our baby, and I cut the umbilical cord. Both our moms stood at our sides filming the entire experience. The two moms who brought us into this world and ended up marrying us. Tears of joy flowed once again, and this time for something that seemed impossible as two gay men. Bringing Remington into the world during COVID-19 has been an incredible opportunity we are beyond grateful for. We’re both working from home and spending every waking minute watching him grow.” – Camron

Fathers stand together and take a selfie with their son
Courtesy of Camron Wilde

Becoming A Parent Sucks, But Being A Dad Is Amazing

“My start is weird because I struggled with being a dad to the point of tears for feeling like a horrible dad. I had great difficulty liking my son. I felt I had lost so much in the form of freedom that it messed with my mind. It took some serious time, but I realized becoming a parent kind of sucks but being a dad is amazing. It sure didn’t start off with rainbows and unicorns but now it’s quite rainbowy. (Just rainbows with no freedom).” – Josh

Dad lays on the floor with his son laying on his back
Courtesy of Josh

My Wife Came With A Bonus

“Marrying my wife came with a bonus. Our transition into blended family life started off rocky while both kids and parents went through the trusting phase. With our separate children being the ages of two and three, we thought the transition would be easier, but we failed to consider the ‘stranger danger’ aspect of the situation. 

Through our experiences, we learned that children are territorial when it comes to their parents, and a stranger is not going to just come between them without some push back. Six years later, that blended family of four has grown into a family of six, and I’m grateful that our struggles in the beginning didn’t hinder us from the growth we are experiencing today.” – Bryan 

Couple stands together with their four children, all wearing white
Courtesy of Creative Sparks Image

The Good Times Outweigh The Bad

“Becoming a father is really hard to explain. It’s like having your wildest dreams, deepest fears, biggest insecurities, and most sincere love all swirl inside of you at once. It’s a perfect storm that makes you feel on top of the world when things are going well, and helpless, confused, frustrated, and maybe even a bit hopeless when they are not. Thankfully, the good times far outweigh the tough times and make it all worth it. It all makes sense when you look down and realize what a precious miracle you hold in your arms.” – Zack Carpenter

Father takes a selfie with his newborn daughter in the hospital
Courtesy of Zack Carpenter

It Was A Huge Moment of Joy

“My wife and I decided we wanted our child’s gender to be a surprise. So it was a huge moment of joy for both of us when I got to tell her she had given birth to a precious baby boy. Then our newborn son immediately cried and peed all over the delivery room floor. He likes it when we tell him that ‘fun story’ from time to time!” – Jared

Father takes a selfie with his newborn child
Courtesy of Jared

Our Connection Was Immediate

“While I thought I knew what to expect, nothing could have prepared me for the complete instant love I felt for my son the moment he was born. Despite having zero parental instincts whatsoever, and not having had the privilege — the beautiful, morning sickness-inducing, hormone-wild privilege — of carrying my son for nine months, our connection was immediate. I’m amazed I don’t mind being exhausted. I‘m oddly okay with being pooped on (at least when it’s by my son… I don’t want other people pooping on me). I’m thrilled to do the most menial tasks of giving him a bottle or changing his diapers. I was meant to be my son’s dad.” – Ben

Father sits in a chair sleeping with his sleeping child on his chest
Courtesy of Ben Proulx

Parenting A Toddler Was More Difficult

“Our child came into our home when he was three. The adoption journey itself was hard, and parenting a toddler was more difficult. Though there were days I questioned if I could do this, I just had to look at his face while sleeping to know… he is the reason I was put on this earth.” – Daniel

The Love For My Bio Child And Bonus Child Is The Same

“My wife had a child before me, and stepping into being a father figure came easily. But she was a teenager with a stable relationship with her own father. So when my biological child came into the picture, it blew me away. The experience of birth was something I’ll always remember. But, I was also surprised to realize the love for my bio child is the same as the love for my bonus child.” – Tyrese

It Was Worth Every Step

“There’s only so many times a person’s life changes completely. Becoming a father is one of those moments. The instant love you feel the first time you hold your baby is a feeling no words can describe. It’s been a long road for us, but it was worth every step!” – Nick Faken

Two dads sit together, one holding their child on their lap
Courtesy of Nick Faken

I Just Did It

“When I finished my student teaching, I thought, ‘How am I going to manage teaching AND coaching at the same time?’ And then I just… did it. Eight years later, I became a dad for the first time. I thought, ‘Holy hell, how am I going to teach, AND coach, AND be a dad?’ 

And then I just… did it. When my son came along two-and-a-half years later, it became obvious that teaching and coaching two sports while running man-to-man coverage at home was going to be impossible for our situation. I thought, ‘Man, how can I give up coaching football when it’s what I’ve done for so many years?’ And then, I just did it. Because the time I would get with my kids when they’re young and need their daddy was time I’d never get back if I missed it. That’s what being a dad has meant to me.” – Joe Kaiz

There Is Nothing I Won’t Do To Take Care Of Them

“For me, the transition to fatherhood was interesting. As soon as our baby was born, the thought that went through my head was, ‘I now understand how parents do crazy things like pick up cars off their kids.’ For him and for my wife as well, there is literally nothing I won’t do to take care of them.” – Ryan Sharapata

father stands smiling holding his newborn child
Courtesy of Haley Holland Photography

It’s A Gift

“The instant I saw my son, I felt the culmination of all my love that had grown for him the previous nine months. Once all of the initial excitement and joy dissipated, my insecurities surfaced as self-doubt about whether I could be the father my son needed. In the months that followed, I began to understand that being a father is not another responsibility. Instead, it’s a gift that allows us to fulfill our deeper meaning and purpose in life. I understand how difficult it can be to prioritize my development as a new father; however, I’ve felt more focused on becoming the man I know I can be because fatherhood has given me an incredible reason.” – Brian

Father sits with his child in his arms, both are smiling
Courtesy of Brian Bisher

My Outlook On Everything Was Different

“The day Roo was born was like a light switch in my head. Simply put, everything changed. My outlook on everything was different. It wasn’t just me anymore, it was me and Roo. It will forever remain the most important, influential day of my life. I’m forever thankful for being his father. No one makes me happier or gives me more joy.” – Tom 

Father takes a selfie kissing the top of his child's head
Courtesy of Tom

I Hope I Am Doing Right By My Father

“For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a father. My own dad is my hero, the personification of sacrifice for his family. My desire to have children was so I could pass on the love, guidance, and character he gave me. Awaiting the birth of my first girl, any trepidation I felt was about living up to his example. Every day, I hope I am doing right by my daughters the way he did right by his sons.” – Tim Hendrickson

My Biggest Dream Came True

“I always wanted to be a dad. When my daughter, Stella Rose, was born, my biggest dream came true. Being her father is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given and I look forward to loving her with all I have forever!” – Ray Digmi Navarrete

Father stands smiling wild holding his child in his arm
Courtesy of Ray Digmi

I Was Scared I’d Mess Things Up

“My transition to fatherhood wasn’t easy. I didn’t have a great relationship with my own dad. It made me scared I would mess things up somehow. The beginning was hard. I questioned myself a lot. After help from great counselors, I’ve now become the dad I’ve always wanted to be. I would do anything for my Andy.” – Brandon

It Surprised Me In So Many Ways

“Becoming a father is something I’ve always wanted and something I prepared for by doing as much research as possible. But once it happened, it surprised me in so many ways.

I had so many expectations, like being overwhelmed with a brand new feeling of love when seeing my child for the first time, and what I learned is every person’s journey into parenthood is different and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Every day, I learn more about how to care for my child. Every day, I learn more about the strength of my wife. And every day, I learn that no matter what happens, whether I get pooped on or if my baby cries out in pain, that her smiles and giggles make everything better.

Raising a child is hard, most likely the hardest thing I will ever do. But it’s also the best experience of my life, and I want to share that with as many people as I can, which led me to create an Instagram using art to hopefully entertain and educate new parents that every journey and experience can be different and even the messy moments can be moments of joy.” – Dave

illustration of a father holding their newborn child
Courtesy of Dave

I Broke Into Tears

“My partner and I struggled for years to have children. After a few rounds of IVF, our daughter, Elise, was born. I laid eyes on her and broke into tears. Having her these past few months has been the best thing of my life.” – Erik

I Cried The Entire Time

“I was in the Army in Korea when I got the news. I was in a track vehicle rotating ammo when the CO crawled in, handed me a cigar, and said, ‘Mom and daughter are doing fine.’ After composing myself, I walked away and smoked that cigar. I cried the entire time for what I missed. I was able to get home a month later to see my baby girl.” – Phil

The Most Humbling And Beautiful Thing

“Becoming a father was the most humbling and beautiful thing that has ever happened to me. Each of my children’s births were different, unique, and to an extent matched their personalities. While it sounds corny, I can specifically remember holding each of them for the first time. In that moment, I swear I could feel my heart and love growing for the precious lives that were now mine to care for. Now, it feels like fatherhood and these children were what I was missing in my life all along.” – Matthew Chase

Father sits surrounded by his three children
Courtesy of Matthew Chase

We Felt Grossly Unprepared

“As a new father, I was terrified. The twins came two months early and neither my wife nor I had ever babysat before, so we felt grossly unprepared to handle two newborns. We learned everything as we went. The first 6 months were a blur, but somehow we made it through, and the kids survived.” – Robert Knop 

So Many Diapers

“No one told me there would be so many diapers. Diapers, crying, and spit up. But through all the mess, I embraced it. Literally and figuratively.” – Juan M.

Every father has their own unique experience, which is what makes this such a special month to celebrate. Go hug (or call!) the different dads in your life!

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jess Carpenter. You can follow her journey on Instagram, TikTok, and on her website. You can visit Jess’ author page here and buy her new book hereSubmit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Jess here

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