Becoming an Expat Dad in the U.S.

MarocBaba with our youngest son

When I found out that I was pregnant, my husband had been in the United States for only 4 months.  We were shocked, scared and a little worried.  My pregnancy was exhausting and wrought with sickness as well as personal struggles.  Through this I never really stopped to think how hard it might be for my husband to experience becoming a dad in a “foreign” country.

I was angry and upset that our pregnancy wasn’t how I thought it would/should be.  He just didn’t get it!!  Perhaps in my ignorance I failed to appreciate the model of parenting and labor he had grown up with – which wasn’t one.  Women were pregnant often without all the fuss customary in the United States.  When it is time for a baby to be born, it happens at home or the mom goes to the hospital without dad to have the baby.

When I found out he didn’t have any plan to be at the actual birth with me I was mortified. My mom was ready to force him into the delivery room.  Luckily for me (and him haha) he realized how important it was for me that he be there.  I had some complications and even blacked out from a blood  pressure plummet.  I think that it is safe to say the experience gave him an appreciation for the process of bringing a baby into the world as well as an appreciation for everything his mom and sisters went through.

It has been a very long journey for all of us.  Today my husband is more involved than me in raising our boys.  I am grateful they have a dad who is around every day to care for them.  Thinking back to his initial thoughts and reactions to a fathers role, I am amazed by who he has become today.

This post was previously published in June, 2011.