14/08/2014 16:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Figuring Out Fatherhood: How Fortunate We Are

Figuring Out Fatherhood: How fortunate we are

I often complain about being a parent. It's the late nights and early mornings; the lack of free time to just wander down to the pub on a whim when it's a lovely spring evening; the way I have to mentally prepare myself for a few minutes before logging onto my online bank account and seeing just how much money I haven't got.

It's not just me, though: complaining about being a parent is something shared between every mother and father. Those who say that they never complain are - for want of a better word - liars.

Don't get me wrong: being a parent is rewarding, often wonderful - but always exhausting. And did I mention that bringing up a child costs a lot?!

But it's easy to forget just how privileged I am to be a father.

Recently, two very good friends of ours lost a baby shortly after he was born prematurely.

Their grief is unlike anything I've ever seen before. Their days, which were once spent decorating a nursery or browsing the shelves of maternity stores, are now spent mourning the loss of their baby in a house which is silent.

Not only are they mourning their baby, but they are mourning everything their baby could have been and could have done: his first steps, his first day at school, graduation from university...the day he gives them a grandchild.

The funeral service was heartbreaking, the coffin so small. As the grief-stricken parents clutched each other at their son's graveside you could clearly see that they would have given anything to be woken by his cries in the night, to experience the difficulties of potty training, to have no spare time or no money, because it would mean they had a child they could hold, instead of one who they had to say goodbye to.


I can be almost certain that I was not the only parent who held their child a little closer - and for a little longer - on the evening of the funeral. It is so easy to see the negatives of parenting that I think sometimes we miss the glaring positive: that we are parents in the first place.


Ultimately, I hope that in realising this I can become a better father, that next time I will bite my tongue if my sons are being rowdy, or not consider it such a terrible thing if my eight-month-old daughter is sick all down her new dress; because it is likely that somewhere, not far away, is a person who would give anything to be as fortunate as I am.