The Change Curve
You might have been planning to have children for ages or maybe it was a surprise. Either way it’s likely you experienced a range of emotions on discovering you were about to become a Dad. Maybe joy, possibly excitement or apprehension, or even downright terror! Or most likely, a combination of all of those over the course of the pregnancy.
Then comes the day and the baby is born. Nothing quite prepares you for the transition to becoming a Dad. You might have thought that nothing will change and life would carry on as before or maybe you had an inkling things would be different with an extra person to think about.
Perhaps you were in denial about what having a child would mean to your life, the impact of sleepless nights and having to pack for an army in order to have a simple walk to the park.
Maybe you experienced fear – how do you look after a tiny baby? I remember thinking surely I couldn’t just walk out of the hospital with this tiny bundle tucked into his car seat, surely there must be more checks that I had some clue what I was doing before he was allowed to come home with us?
During those early days when everyone is adapting, you may have noticed that things which normally took no time, now take AGES – for instance, leaving the house - it becomes a mission to ensure you have everything packed and ready to go to fit around the continuous cycle of feeds, sleeps and nappy changes.
Eventually, though things settle down. We get quicker and more adept at packing for outings and may even develop a love of soft play to keep our small folk amused and active so we can enjoy a drink whilst it’s still hot and wear them out so they sleep for a good part of the afternoon!
Having a child and becoming a Dad is a massive change and the stages we go through and the associated emotions we experience, as well as being completely normal, tie in with the Change Curve. This is a model of change where in every change, good and exciting or not, planned or not, we go through five stages to transition from our old norm to our new one.
The model, which is actually based on Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s 5 Stages of Grief, allows us to grieve for our former lives and transition to our new one. It’s not just applicable to having children though, but to all aspects of our lives. It can be helpful to know, in any change, that the stages we go through and the emotions we feel are perfectly normal. Knowing this can help us work out what we need to progress as quickly as possible through the stages to get to the Moving On phase.