The morning after our first child was born over 16 years ago, I remember my first experience of fierce fatherly love. A powerful experience of needing to protect and provide for my baby and family.
The poor doctor who was also wanting to care for my child was unaware of my newly found protective instincts. She walked into the hospital room and collected our baby for some tests.
Sharon was asleep and the doctor must have assumed I was too tired or that I would not mind what she was doing. I had never met the doctor and could not see any identification - in fact she looked dressed like the cleaner to me. I jumped up to the rescue. She was taken aback and very defensive when I confronted her and questioned her right to handle my baby - or take her anywhere!
So that was my first experience of being my child's protector. Another expression of love took me even more by surprise - and developed over time. And if I was back in that hospital room I would have given myself the following advice:
Man - take the plunge - Fall in love ASAP
Call it 'bonding' if you like. Often men find this happens when they spend time in physical skin-to-skin contact with their baby or when making time to gaze into their child's eyes.
Allow yourself to fall in love, and decide to show your love - if you feel like something is holding you back, talk with someone about this and work through it.
If it feels like it is taking a little while, don't worry, get on with being involved in ways you already feel confident - the love will grow. Don't wait till your child is older - you'll both be missing out.
Are you finding it difficult to keep your work in perspective? Make the effort to work it out. I thought this blog on Fathers, Work and Family raises some interesting issues.
Maybe you are wondering about how your love-life is with your partner? In the early years of parenting, I don't know of anything that will bring you both closer than sharing the common project of loving your child and parenting as a team.
Maybe you know of a man about to become a father? Our Expecting Masterclass is an ideal way for fathers to prepare for the new role and plan with their partner for the adventure of parenting.
The Raising Children website has some really good tips for Dad - and is generally a great website for parents.