It seems like at least once a week, if not more, I am doing something that I once wanted to avoid, made me uncomfortable, or was downright embarrassing. While most people tend to avoid these situations because of these reasons, I’ve been finding myself jumping into the fear: having a second child, starting a blog, cleaning up throw-up – in no particular order.
The great Zig Ziglar has a quote regarding fear that seems to ring true for me:
“F-E-A-R: has two meanings:
Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.”
— Zig Ziglar
Over the years, I have found growth through facing fears and addressing uncomfortable situations. By contrast, I’ve found that running from these situations only makes the fear grow and leaves me with an unsettled feeling.
Embrace the unknown
When my wife, Anna, and I were pregnant with our first child, Jude, we did what most first-time parents do, we attended classes at our local hospital. The classes ranged from a Lamaze class, to child care, and even breastfeeding classes. While all the classes were helpful, the breastfeeding class was uncomfortable for me.
The reason it was uncomfortable is not the reason you might think. I am all for breastfeeding and mothers breastfeeding in public. Let me set the stage on why I was uncomfortable with our breastfeeding class.
We signed up for a night class. It happened to be the only day or night that both Anna and I could attend class before our son was born. We realized that Anna, who was teaching a night class at the time, would be “a little late” to our class.
There aren’t many things that I can think of that are more uncomfortable for a soon-to-be dad than showing up to a breastfeeding class (alone) without your wife. When I signed in, I mentioned that my wife would be a little late. As class started and everyone was with their significant other, I was all alone at my table. I could feel the stares of the other couples: this isn’t a class that a man goes to alone.
While uncomfortable, I tried my best to take notes and bring Anna up to speed when she arrived. Somewhere between class starting and my wife arriving my uncomfortableness hit a new high. The nurse had a pillow in the shape of a breast. This was a visual aid that the nurse used to explain what happens to a woman’s body after giving birth and how to get breastfeeding started with your newborn. While all this was interesting, the moment the nurse “flicked” the nipple of the pillow to simulate what a woman can do to help get the breast in a proper state for breastfeeding, I wanted to crawl into a hole. While all the information that was presented in that class was good, as a man, it was very uncomfortable without my wife being present. I feel like the biggest creep in the world.
With about 15 minutes left in class, Anna showed up. At that point, I no longer felt like some creepy guy just hanging out at a breastfeeding class. Thankfully, the nurse stayed after the class was over to answer all of Anna’s questions.
Just the beginning
The breastfeeding class was just the start of my new life of becoming comfortable being uncomfortable as a married man. Anna and I got pregnant with our son shortly after getting married, which was definitely uncomfortable at first. We were very happy but also
As parents, we need to face our fears for ourselves but also for our children – who are always watching us – so that they can learn by example how to have courage and do what scares them.
What about parenthood has made you uncomfortable? What has helped you? Comment below to share your experiences.