26 Fathers’ First Thoughts as New Fathers

Women have such a distinct moment that signifies they have become women. Boys becoming men is a bit more ambiguous. But what about men becoming new fathers? What happens inside our heads when our child comes into this world? Does that transform us instantly into dads? What goes through a man’s head when he becomes a new father?

In honor of Father’s Day, I asked 26 men the following question:

What was the first thing you thought when you saw your child/children for the first time?


Their answers varied from shock to resolution, and everything in between.

  • Charlie Capen, 1 of 27
    Charlie Capen,
    "Yes, I did look down and watch my son being born. And no, I wouldn't take back any of it. My first thought was probably something like, 'I didn't realize, until just now, how long I've waited for this day. I was born to do this.'" Visit
  • Matthew Clarke, Convos with my 2 Year Old 2 of 27
    Matthew Clarke, Convos with my 2 Year Old
    "I thought all of these at basically the same time. Except the first one... Thanks man! 'How can I turn this into a hit web-series?' 'Look at the size of her hands!' 'Holy Crap!' 'Oh my god, this is the beginning of a life.'"
  • Chris Routly, 3 of 27
    Chris Routly,
    Oh my God, he's perfect. Just perfect. I am overwhelmed with--oh hey, actually from this angle he looks just like Nana. Why does my son look like my grandmother?" Visit
  • Mike Adamick, Cry It Out 4 of 27
    Mike Adamick, Cry It Out
    "Sweet Jesus! Why is she blue and why is she not breathing and why can't I hear her, followed quickly by the sudden and overwhelming thought that this, right here, would be the absolute best thing I ever did with my life and please God don't let me let her down." Visit
  • James Hudyma, 5 of 27
    James Hudyma,
    "My first was a preemie so my first thought was, 'She's crying! She can breathe! She's gonna live!' The doctors couldn't believe that such a small baby could breathe on her own. We still had to spend a month in NICU until she was big enough to go home but she was born breathing on her own!" Visit
  • David Vienna, 6 of 27
    David Vienna,
    "My first thought was, 'Please, don't mess this up.' Then, I spent the following 4.5 years messing it up." Visit
  • Carter Gadds, 7 of 27
    Carter Gadds,
    "I was in the room, naturally. I told my wife she was my hero. Then I was speechless. Then I cried." Visit
  • Tom Burns, 8 of 27
    Tom Burns,
    "I thought, 'Oh god, oh god, what are those nurses doing to her?' And then, once I realized they were just cleaning her off, I thought, 'Oh god, I hope I don't break her.' I then walked over to her, introduced myself very formally, she grabbed my finger, and I was hooked for life." Visit
  • Chris Read, 9 of 27
    Chris Read,
    "My son was born a little early, so during the C-section, I was concerned about his healthy arrival. That said, I can honestly say that when he came out, all I remember thinking is 'Oh my god, is he supposed to be purple like that?!' As it turns out, the discoloration is normal and goes away pretty quick. I should have read the books..." Visit
  • Buzz Bishop, 10 of 27
    Buzz Bishop,
    "I have no idea the words that came out of my mouth. I just collapsed. My knees buckled and I sobbed loud and hard. It was a flood of emotion. And then it happened again when my second son was born. It's the height of relief, joy, love, and fear all at once." Visit
  • Whit Honea, 11 of 27
    Whit Honea,
    "I just stood there and cried a little, which has kind of become my thing." Visit
  • Eric, Dad on the Run 12 of 27
    Eric, Dad on the Run
    "All within the first second: 'Seriously? We get to take her home? Don't we need a license or a permit or something? When I agreed to be a stay home Dad, I had no idea she would be so... fragile. I love her. Why is she making that weird sound?'" Visit
  • Jay Sokol, 13 of 27
    Jay Sokol,
    "With my first son, my first thought was 'I never thought someone could be so bloody and so adorable at the same time.' With #2 it was much simpler 'He's so cute. How am I going to pay for all this?'" Visit
  • James Zahn, 14 of 27
    James Zahn,
    "When my first daughter was delivered via c-section on our 10th wedding anniversary (after 24 hours of fruitless labor), I thought 'She looks like a little peanut... but also just like me.' My wife was pretty much out of it. When our second was delivered via a scheduled c-section, I thought 'Well, that was quick and easy.' And it was. My wife was awake through the whole thing, and super-calm. We sat there chatting through the whole delivery." Visit
  • Clay Nichols, 15 of 27
    Clay Nichols,
    "He's not cooked enough. (My first was a preemie.)" Visit
  • Chris Bernholdt, 16 of 27
    Chris Bernholdt,
    "I think the first things I said were: #1 My son Adam - I started to cry and said 'Holy sh*t, I'm a dad.' #2 My daughter, Sarah - 'Why is she so wrinkly?' She was late and a little overcooked # 3 My daughter, Heidi - 'She's so quiet! I hope you stay that way" She literally just looked around and didn't cry at all.' Visit
  • Black Hockey Jesus, 17 of 27
    Black Hockey Jesus,
    "Day one, someone. This is absolutely mindblowingly impossible." Visit
  • Eric Bolton, Boltonshire 18 of 27
    Eric Bolton, Boltonshire
    "I remember saying something like, 'I love you so much, and I know there's times where I'm going to screw up and I'm going to hurt you. As much as I want to be, I'm not going to be the perfect father. But God in Heaven is the perfect Father. And I'm entrusting you to Him because He will never screw up or hurt you.'" Visit
  • Adam, 19 of 27
    "With my daughter, my first thought was what the f@#% is that sh@# all over her? My second thought was THIS IS AWESOME! With my son it was a little more serious. He wasn`t breathing at first. My only thought was breathe, over and over and over again and staying calm so my wife didn`t think anything was wrong." Visit
  • James Rohl, 20 of 27
    James Rohl,
    "My first thought was I'm finally a dad, the second was I'm no longer first in line for those boobs." Visit
  • Neal Call, Raised By My Daughter 21 of 27
    Neal Call, Raised By My Daughter
    "It was a miracle. It was the end of a race, that moment crossing the finish line where your muscles don't just relax, but become quivering mush. We cried. Our little girl cried. Everyone cried, breaking the dam of so many hours of frustration and pain and anxiety and determination. They asked if I wanted to cut the cord, but I was DONE. I finally sat down all shaky on a chair next to my wife where I'd been standing for so many hours, leaning in, my head close to hers to help her focus, help her get through the pain. Nah, YOU cut the cord. I'M gonna keep holding my wife's hand, and please bring our baby over here so we can finally hold her." Visit
  • Trevor Mulligan, 22 of 27
    Trevor Mulligan,
    "He really just came out of my wife?!" Visit
  • Victor Aragon Jr, 23 of 27
    Victor Aragon Jr,
    "When my little girl was born I thought, 'She's the most beautiful thing in the world. Then Chris Rock's voice popped in my head "Your only job is to keep her away from the (stripper) pole!' When my boy was born my first thought was, 'I can't wait to watch the Star Wars movie with you...Original Trilogy only.'" Visit
  • Chris Nichols, 24 of 27
    Chris Nichols,
    "My first thought when I saw my son was 'I'm never going to let anything bad happen to you, ever.' It became my mission in life to do my best and help give him the best life I could possibly give." Visit
  • Brian Gawlak, The Cook at Home Dad 25 of 27
    Brian Gawlak, The Cook at Home Dad
    "After the horror that was natural birth (I truly had NO idea what I was in store for), they took my daughter and cleaned her off. I went up to the scale where they placed her and when she opened her eyes I fell in love, instantaneously. She was like a drug. This picture is of the first moment I got to hold her (and I got to hold her first). Still takes my breath away." Visit The Cook at Home Dad
  • Jason Greene, 26 of 27
    Jason Greene,
    "Son #1 - 'I'll never let you down.' Daughter - 'God, don't let her die.' (She was a preemie) Son #2 - 'I can't wait for your brother and sister to see you.'" Visit
  • Pao Tolentino, 27 of 27
    Pao Tolentino,
    "My son, Ulrich, was born premature. Immediately after he came out, the doctor advised us that he might need to stay in the Neo-natal intensive care unit for observation because he had some sort of infection. I was able to hold him for a couple of seconds and the doctor took him right away for observation. Those few seconds, I told him, 'Stay strong, because we're going to have great adventures buddy.' I've attached a picture of me and him, after he was released from the ICU a week later." Visit

All images belong to each respective author and used with their permission.

The New Father

It’s obvious to me that each of our experiences are variations on a theme. Some of us, perhaps braver than others. Some of us focus on specific details while others are awash in the emotion of the moment. All experiences are valid.

It can be one of the most humanizing shifts a man can experience, and often a white-knuckle affair. These men have shared their personal, inmost feelings.

So, there you have it. A little insight, maybe, into the mind of a new father in your life. It can be daunting, but the rewards are many and great. Happy Father’s Day, gents.

Tell us about the moment you saw your baby for the first time in the comments below. We’d love to hear your story.

Charlie & Andy

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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