This special Father's Day episode features none other than Emmanuel. If you're new around here, Emmanuel is my boyfriend and the father of Esmé.
We dive into his thoughts & feelings when we found out we were pregnant, what it was like for him during the labour & delivery of Esmé, triumphs and challenges he has faced along the way and the importance of continuing to fill his own cup so he can show up as the best version of himself for Esmé.
This episode was really special for me because I really value & appreciate Emmanuel as a dad and as a partner. It was amazing to hear him talk about his journey and to also empower other dads to really be the best they can be.
As always, if you want to connect with me on Instagram: jeshessels
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Love you all
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On January 3 of 2019 Jess told Emmanuel that she thought she was pregnant and was going to pick up a pregnancy test on her way to work. Emmanuel was left at home with many things going through his mind. He spent a few hours thinking about things. At their age, the couple wasn’t overly ready to have a baby and they didn’t necessary plan for it, but in that moment, Emmanuel realized that this was the universe bringing something good into his life. Before Jess even got back to Emmanuel about the pregnancy test, he knew she was pregnant. He felt it and, in that moment, he accepted it. As scary as it initially was, Emmanuel saw the positive aspects of it. And his reaction was totally different than what Jess expected.
Emmanuel and Jess both left work early to visit their doctor in order to confirm that they were indeed pregnant. Jess’s reaction to hearing the confirmation was very different than Emmanuel’s. Jess cried in the Uber on the way home and continued to cry at home. Because Emmanuel had already accepted that they were having a baby, he was a lot calmer. He knew that being scared wasn’t going to help the situation. He had also learned how to keep himself calm during difficult situations through is experience and skills as a Currency Trader. Emmanuel was able to shift and give Jess the support she needed so that she could come to terms with the situation as well.
Emmanuel believes that it is a huge misconception that parents can’t have fun or do the same things they normally did before having a baby. Responsibility is the biggest part. Emmanuel chose to see the positive aspects of it and he saw having a baby as a reason to live his best life and go after his dreams even harder. Having a baby wasn’t a hindrance and it wasn’t supposed to hold him back. Once he accepted it, it instantly became a beautiful thing.
Emmanuel’s biggest fear in becoming a dad was worrying whether he was going to be able to provide for his child. Would he be able to give her the life that she deserves? That was something that he had to come to terms with when questions kept popping up. This created a spark in Emmanuel to hustle and make his dreams of trading full time a reality. At this point, he was working part time as a Currency Trader while still at his other job. Emmanuel knew that he had put enough work into this and trusted himself to take the risk. It was the best thing he could do for himself, for Jess, and for the baby. Emmanuel quit his job when Esme was two months old.
A Special Bond
The most exciting thing for Emmanuel about becoming a dad was the opportunity to forge a bond with his daughter. He wanted to be there for her, support her and teach her about life. He didn’t have that bond with his own dad, who he actually never met.
Emmanuel grew up living with his grandmother who is the strongest woman he knows. At any given time in the household there were five or so male figures living there. Emmanuel’s uncle, his mom’s twin, was a significant male role model for him growing up. When someone left the house, another cousin or uncle moved in.
Emmanuel was always the youngest and this gave him the ability to mature a lot quicker in terms of the way he acts and carries himself. Emmanuel inherited wisdom and became a little bit more observant in life. These male figures taught him a lot about life, and to a degree, Emmanuel didn’t even realize the important of having a father. Even though it would have been nice to have his father in his life, he doesn’t have any regrets and it wasn’t his path in life. Emmanuel’s circumstances inspired him to be the man that he would be proud of and to live the life that would set a positive example. He learned to be a better version of himself and constantly grow through life.
A Soft Kind of Love
Adjusting to pregnancy is different for a guy. Things do change, but how Emmanuel coped mentally with what was going on was different. He couldn’t feel the pain or the stress, and couldn’t really help. He understood that Jess was going through things and the biggest stress for him was not being able to help, but wishing he could. He tried doing things to help, which didn’t always help and it was tough on that end. But he didn’t feel left out during Jess’s pregnancy.
The first time holding Esme was surreal for Emmanuel and he describes it as one of the best experiences of his life. He wouldn’t say there was instantly a bond, and he felt no connection at all while she was pregnant. But he knew that once the baby was born, he would have a connection.
Even though it’s a common assumption that men generally want boys, Emmanuel had wanted a girl. They didn’t know they were having a girl until she was born and he would have gladly taken a boy as well. There wasn’t a big part of him that wanted one specifically. But with a girl, Emmanuel felt as though she would offer a soft love, whereas boys can be headstrong. Emmanuel prefers to be soft and a girl for him just felt more comfortable than a boy.
A New Level Of Respect
When Emmanuel got the call that Jess was in labor, he was with a friend. He had been present a few weeks back for the birth of his friend’s son. And so Emmanuel felt it was only right that his friend was present for the birth of his baby, especially for support and love during the labor process.
It was a lot for Emmanuel to see and hear the pain that Jess was going through. But his thought process throughout was that everything was going to be ok. He was comfortable to have the baby at home rather than in a hospital because he doesn’t like the environment of the hospital. Emmanuel believed that everything would be fine and he believed that the baby was meant to be. There wasn’t any scare or stress on his end. Emmanuel focused on being there for Jess to support her and give her the strength that she needed. Emmanuel found it amazing that Jess found the strength to go through and deal with the pain of delivery. And he appreciates what Jess went through to bring their baby into the world. It created a whole new love and respect on an entirely different level for Jess.
Even though Emmanuel was Jess’s foot holder at many points during labor, he missed about 90% of it. There were just certain things that he didn’t want to see and certain things he couldn’t stomach. He chose to be there and support Jess, but missed viewing most of it for a reason. And Jess is not sad about that.
It was a special moment for Jess to hear the gender of the baby from Emmanuel. For him, it felt like there was a higher power to it. Because he wanted a girl, when the midwife held up his new baby girl, that was the universe bringing into their lives what they needed and what they wanted.
A System That Works
Having a kid is a huge tester on your ability to focus on anything – work, business, and relationships. Emmanuel believes its important to put plans into place and before they did, there were challenges. Esme was being her lovely self, but how Jess and Emmanuel dealt with situations day to day required a plan. Both Emmanuel and Jess are actively working on their own businesses and not everyone is always in the role where both partners are trying to create something that they are equally passionate about. They had to learn to respect each other’s time, communicate when the other person felt slightly off, and learn to deal better with how to move forward from certain situations.
Emmanuel and Jess had to find a good system that worked for both of them. And part of finding that system involved communicating with each other about how they were feeling regarding who was doing what. They didn’t have a plan of action in the beginning and because of that Emmanuel and Jess struggled for a good 4 months or so. Emmanuel explains that the system is subject to change over time as their lifestyles change and adjust. It’s all about communication and trying to find what works and stop doing what doesn’t work.
Feed The Source
To parents who feel like they’ve given up everything and believe their lives are over because of their kids, but don’t want to be in that way of living anymore, Emmanuel says you have to feed the source in order to be able to extend what comes out. You have to give yourself life before you can give other people anything. You have to be happy and your energy is either contagious or it’s not. As a parent, it’s different. But you can still live your best life and go out and have fun. Having a kid shouldn’t be something that hinders you. You have to take care of yourself first. You have to make sure you are doing things you are passionate about. Find something that allows you to see life for the beauty that it is.
Nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer. And a lot of parents are like that because they spend so much time giving their kids all their energy that they have none left for themselves. Your happiness does not depend on any external source. It comes from within. There is always a way to make things happen. But we settle. How we think – our perspective – is where people need to change. Emmanuel believes that you have to break certain limitations that are in your way in order to move on to higher planes.
Challenges & Triumphs
There are always challenges, big or small, but Emmanuel would say that his biggest challenge as a father was understanding that he was not going to be a perfect father and that took him awhile to come to terms with. Perfection is not the end goal, even when you want to do everything right and make everyone happy. You are going to make mistakes. When Esme was born, Emmanuel had to learn how to do things in a way that would be good, not perfect. He had to realize that it doesn’t need to be perfect and to stop chasing perfection. He learned how to give Esme himself – the real version of him.
Emmanuel’s biggest triumph as a father was leaving his job and working for himself. Money is a big thing and it was a cool moment to use that focus to work on creating something that he enjoys doing and makes him happy. This also allowed Emmanuel to be there for his daughter because he is in control of his time and he can dedicate his time to who he chooses. Emmanuel sees this as a blessing.
Be Open To Learning
Fatherhood is life. This journey is no different than going through life in any other way. Feed yourself and feed your mind. That is the only chance that you have in acquiring anything you want. Love. Happiness. Joy. Health. It all comes from within. You have to feed your mind and be open to learning from others about fatherhood. Life is a great teacher. If you are open to learning you will be blown away by the amount of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that is being presented to you. Allow yourself to be a good partner, but not a perfect dad because that’s not the goal. Live a good life and be a good person that people want to be around. And a person that you enjoy being around.