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What Not To Say To Guys Struggling To Become Dads

Photograph by Twenty20

It's not easy to be a parent-in-waiting. We spend every day thinking about something we want so much, to add children to our family through surrogacy. But we're at a point in our journey that there's no measurable progress most days. It can be difficult sometimes even just seeing a random family on the street and wishing that it were us.

We have no doubt that we'll be fathers some day, but it sometimes feels like Christmas Eve used to, back when we were 7 years old, only this is the longest Dec. 24th ever.

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In conversations with friends and strangers who are already parents, we've noticed some trends. People who are already parents sometimes suggest that maybe this whole parent thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. We know it's not going to be easy—it's already taken us much more work than most families—but it can sometimes be disheartening to hear the following phrases from folks who are already parents:

1. Enjoy your freedom now, cause once you have a child...it's gone!

We definitely do our fair share of Netflix and chill at home, but it's also fun to be out and about in our community or taking spontaneous day trips. I wonder about the idea that having children means giving up your freedom. Of course, we don't expect that our lives will stay the same. Yes, having a baby means there will be a tiny being that is fully dependent on us for survival. It means we will have to compromise on concerts and drinks with friends. We understand that there will be major adjustments in our schedules in order to accommodate raising a child. But we do not subscribe to the idea that having a child means that we are somehow chained and enslaved by our very intentional decision to have a baby.

Lack of sleep is definitely the number one complaint we hear from people who are already parents.

We enjoy our freedom now and we will enjoy it with our kids. We want them to see us engage in self-care and understand the importance of pleasure and autonomy by making room for those things in our home.

2. You will not sleep for the next eight years, so enjoy it while you can

Lack of sleep is definitely the No. 1 complaint we hear from people who are already parents. We have no doubt there will be sleepless nights, but this statement can sometimes feel like a scare tactic. Who expects that they will be able to sleep a solid eight hours the night after having a baby? Of course, every baby and child is a bit different. We realize that there is no amount of insomnia that will prepare us for being "baby tired," because it's just not the same as other kinds of tired. There is no break. We do indeed enjoy our sleep now. Having a baby is such a lengthy process for us that we have had more than enough time to reflect on the joys and sleepy challenges that lay ahead.

So keep the warnings to a minimum, please?

I know it's not meant to be hurtful, but this feels like asking someone who is at mile 25 of a marathon if they are sure they want to finish.

3. Are you sure you want one of these?

This always comes in jest and seems to be when we are witnessing a toddler meltdown or a power struggle between parent and child. We get it. You are super tired, and now you are having an extremely difficult moment with your child.

Yes, we are still sure we want one of those. I know it's not meant to be hurtful, but this feels like asking someone who is at mile 25 of a marathon if they are sure they want to finish. We want one of those. We want to finish this race. Even if they come with tears, sleepless nights and smelly diapers.

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Having children will change our life, no question about it. It will mean a change to our freedom but not a restriction of it. It will mean a change in our sleep schedules but not a destruction of them. And it will come with a huge variety of challenges that we can't possibly anticipate, but we hope to enjoy all of those challenges as much as possible.

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