Trying to capture part of my experience of fatherhood –
– the moment she came into the world? It felt discontinuous, like the world was torn down and then rebuilt containing something new. The arrival of Willa as independent being, breathing and looking – it seemed to break causality. A person, where there had been no person.
The light was shining on her. It actually was, the lamps in the delivery suite were arranged to drop a circle of light around newborn Willa, but I suspect that my brain would have made it seem that way regardless. There was information coming off her in waves, more than I could take in. Like if those lamps had been shining in my eyes – only they weren’t, they were bouncing off my daughter first, then flooding me. I couldn’t see her. There was too much information.
I still can’t, seven weeks on. Other people comment on resemblances but I can’t see them. When I look at her, my brain goes into overdrive. I get more data than I can process. Everything.
I know it won’t last – the chemical rush, the neural repatterning, the imprinting, the magic will all subside. But, I suspect, will never entirely disappear. So call that the first thing I learned as a parent: parenthood is a new way of seeing. Literally.