Being A New Dad and Empathy

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A week ago, I was living in anticipation/fear of becoming a father. As I write this now, my daughter is sleeping right next to me. Adelynn (Addy) Jo Graff was born at George Washington University Hospital Midwives in Washington, DC on Sunday, January 29, 2017 (a week early!) at 16:06. She was 6 lbs and 14 ounces and 19 inches long. She was born with a hangnail she tried getting off for 9 months, but couldn’t quite make it. Her daddy helped her pull it off once she arrived.

Today is Day 6 and fatherhood so far is not what I expected. Maybe it was a coping mechanism, but I literally imagined non-stop screaming and never sleeping again. We’re almost a week in and all three of us feel rested and we’re in good spirits. In fact, today we’re going to Addy’s first DC museum.

However, I am also mindful that many families are set up like we are and I am humbled by that. I work for a company that gives me four weeks off paid paternity and my wife gets six months paid. My sister-in-law is here helping us. All this makes the first week much easier and less of a shock to our systems and we are grateful.

I also feel more than I thought I would. The moment we came home from the hospital we were told to rush back to the ER because Addy wasn’t using the restroom. She’s great now and we’re home, but watching her cry uncontrollably when the nurse stuck an IV in her little arm was emotional. How could I love this little bug I only met a few days prior? If I wasn’t resting, I’d say it was delirium, but I already feel empathy. Not just for her, but for other children and people. In a time where there’s much hate, I can’t stop thinking that we all are born innocent, dependent, and so little. It humanize people I’d otherwise villainize.

6 days in, we’re grateful for what we have and want to give back to others. It takes a community to raise a child and we want to do our part for others.

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