It’s about time that I introduced myself —
Going into my mid-thirties, I thought that fatherhood was out of my reach. Melissa was just a friend, and then an unexpected romance bloomed when we both found ourselves single. I think she felt much in the same way about becoming a mother at some point too, and we soon both realized the same dream: parenthood. I couldn’t have asked for a better match, and put a ring on it. Maybe I’ll tell that story later.
Like every mother has their own birth story, I have my own father story. I’ll spare plenty of details (there’s a book for that), though I want to start with how humbling pregnancy and birth can be. To all those women who’ve experienced this, you have my utmost respect. You’re like Super Saiyans.
We knew baby would be Felix early on, and tried our best to keep that a secret (though it’s hard to not let things like that slip, especially since he’s all we ever talked about). I think the only person who didn’t actually find out his name was my father, who lived in the Czech Republic. He never let on to his medical condition, and I regret not letting him know his grandson’s name. My dad passed away before Felix was born. Here’s my old man:
At that point, news of the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to spread. I didn’t think it would affect us quite so much since China was a far-away place. Felix was born a day after his due date, and in the span of a day, fathers went from optional masks to mandatory masks; the same thing for the nurses the day after. This continues to be a serious concern for us.
Melissa had a challenging birth, and I was the first to hold him. Skin-to-skin was important for us, and this was my first photo with Felix:
Our first photo, and you can’t even see my smile.
I hate masks. Not for what they are (I am 💯 pro-mask) but because of what they meant moving forward.
Here we are, first-time parents, dealing with all the things new parents deal with, and I’m stuck wearing a mask the entire time in the hospital. I’d do it again regardless.
I think the worst thing about this pandemic was the unknown; we were terrified. Cue socially-isolating for a month thereafter, and plenty of pandemic stockpiling. No one was coming close to our baby, including his grandmothers.
This is where I feel like I really fucked up, and it will also be a forever regret. Not only did we wait a month before my mother (i.e. Felix’s Baka) could come near him, we made her wear a mask. She was isolated the whole time, and the pandemic barely hit Alberta. Her first photo with Felix:
Their first photo, and you can’t even see her smile. For all intents, this was also their last photo.
My mom passed away a few months after Felix’s birth (not COVID-related), and she didn’t get the chance to experience being a Baka in the way she deserved. I will not forgive this pandemic for taking that away from all of us. We were socially responsible, and this is what we got.
I have words for anyone who considers themselves any of the following: skeptic, anti-masker, a medically-exempt bullshitter, anti-communist, yellow vest’r, or freedom fighter. Use your imagination.
Anyway, writing this now opened up a few wounds. I want to say this: I love being both a father and husband. I have feelings of elation and love, and some regrets and things I feel that I could have done better. I am doing what I know best for Felix with the information I have at the time, even if it means being too strict or cautious.
I’m Jonathan, a pandemic parent, doing the best that I can. I can’t wait to hang out with other parents and have play dates.