Father's Day is Sunday, June 21st. We sat down with two dads, each of whom welcomed a new baby into the world within the last year. One dad, a 2nd time parent and the other, a first timer, share their experience and offer tips on how to tackle the first few months.
Saurabh Malani is a product manager at retail technology startup, Narvar. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Rashmi and two boys Rian (2 y) and Ayan (2 m).
How were you feeling leading up to having a second baby?
We always wanted two kids closer in age. Initially, we feared that our older son would get insecure but he welcomed his baby brother with open arms and it fills our heart to see them interact with each other.
What was your experience through labor and delivery?
Both of our boys had a pretty normal delivery. As long and difficult the first labor and delivery experience was, the second was much shorter and 10x easier than the first time. My wife had to push for 5 hours the first time around, whereas for the second she pushed all of 5 times :)
Both the experiences immensely solidified our marriage in different ways. I will never forget the strength my wife displayed during childbirth and I am forever grateful to her for giving me two healthy kids.
How has fatherhood changed you, your relationship?
Becoming a father has made me a more patient person. It made me value time a lot more and made me think how much more free time we had before kids :P. With my wife, we get less time to spend with each other but we understand each other a lot more without saying too many words. Also, whatever time we get with each other, we spent very thoughtfully because we know it won't last long.
Cutest Toddler Moment?
Our toddler is obsessed with the garbage collection process and he is looking forward every week for the trash trucks to show up at our doorstep. One of my favorite moments was Rian (2 years) explaining to Ayan (2 months) what will go in the recycle bin vs compost bin.
It was our first car ride together as a family of 4 - both the kids got hungry at the same time and were crying non-stop for 20 mins way back home.
What advice do you have for first time fathers?
Try to enjoy the journey. Lot of times it can get overwhelming and make you feel that you don't know how to handle the kids - but every father learns it on the fly and figures it out. Try to cherish the moments with the kids at every age. They grow fast and try to support your partner in all the ways possible - moms have a lot going on at their end.
Andrew Forman is the CEO of Givz. He's currently quarantining with family outside of NYC. We met Andrew through a mutual friend and we immediately hit it off! We love thee partnership we're building with Givz, to give $10 towards the charity of choice with each order over $150.
Starting a family?
I always knew I wanted a family and multiple kids with my wife someday. We weren't particularly planning on it happening as quickly as it did, and it didn't really hit me that my wife was growing a human being until that doctor's appointment when we could first hear the heartbeat - that made it extremely real for me very quickly.
What was your experience of labor and delivery?
The birth was something I will never forget. I'm not a very teary-eyed person but I remember feeling so overwhelmed with joy when my daughter came out screaming that I could not see an inch in front of my face because I was crying so hard. I also didn't realize the baby wasn't required to be named immediately so we took our time - she was nameless for a few days while we got it just right.
How has fatherhood changed you? Your relationship with your partner?
Fatherhood puts things in perspective for me. I think about everything I do now - how it can/will affect my daughter in the short and long term. Watching my partner go through what she did to produce our daughter - wow - I didn't think I could have any more respect for her and then she goes and does that. It is really an amazing thing. Aside from the admiration - we have to work together as a team because our daughter becomes smarter every day and already tries to go to the other parent if one won't give her what she wants.
What have been your favorite moments of the last year? The hardest?
Favorite moments are watching my daughter put new concepts together. She pointed out airplanes in the sky for a few weeks and then recently when one was a bit closer to us and hence looked larger she got excited and said "BIG AIRPLANE." That was really cool - and she does stuff like that every day. Some of the hardest times were in the first couple of months when there was really no feedback loop. Months 0-3 are definitely the toughest. Smiles are big, giggles are even better, and as they communicate more and more it only gets more fun.
How has your identity as a father impacted your view of anti-racism, social justice, and the public health and economic challenges of the coronavirus pandemic?
I never thought about what the world would look like in 30+ years before becoming a father. Now I often think about what we can do now to make this a better place for her. Some think 2020 is the worst year ever - and they may be right - but maybe it will ultimately be the most important and create some change for good.
What advice do you have for first time fathers?
The beginning months are the toughest - power through those and it only gets better and better. Try to block out most of what is out there on the internet and let you (and your spouse's) intuition guide you - you will know more than you think. Partner with your families - they are your allies and they are happy to be involved! Change as many diapers as you can. Oh, and one last thing, if you have a wife - get her some Superkin clothes for the next pregnancy!! It will undoubtedly be a hit!