Growing up I never once thought about the possibility of losing a child. Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage just before Father’s Day. The idea of celebrating my short time as a father didn’t dawn on me until I received a card from my wife. The card talked about how fantastic I would have been as a father and the idea that fatherhood is earned, not given and my wife thought I’d earned the right to call myself a father despite the unsuccessful pregnancy. Does losing a baby mean you’ve lost your ability to think of yourself as a father?
As I contemplated the card and Father’s Day as a whole, I realized I felt like a father who’d just lost a child and, for all sakes and purposes, I was that father. I’d heard the heartbeat of my unborn child and seen a tiny blip on the screen. We’d even picked out a name and I reveled in the time I spent rubbing my wife’s belly taking to my son/daughter. I finally realized that being a father was something each man needed to define. I chose to define myself as a father and that definition was something I stand by to this day.
Sometimes It’s Too Hard at First
I can’t say it was easy celebrating Father’s Day each year without a child to hold, talk to or cherish each and every day, but I did have the memory of my child, my first child and even after we were able to conceive and birth four additional children in the future I still think about my first child every Father’s Day.
Losing a baby does not mean you’ve lost your right to be called father. Pregnancy is an intricate process that sometimes hiccups along the way. Many men and women suffer pregnancy losses; some never able to have children of their own, but that doesn’t mean you are less of a father.