A Look in to Fatherhood from a Mother’s Eyes

The Gift of Life loves to share stories from our very own families that we support because they are real and heartfelt.  Today’s story explores what it is like to be a father of twin premature girls, from a mother’s eyes.  We are so blessed to have Jen Labriola bring you this story today.  Jen is the mother of twin preemie girls.  She also dedicates her time to doing graphic work for the Gift of Life. Thank you Jen for all you do!

I have to hold back a laugh as I watch my husband fumble with putting a sandal on our squirming 1-year-old daughter. He’s confused by the straps, frustrated by a moving child, but does it because she wants her sandals on even though she’s still learning to walk. Of course, you have to do what she wants, she’s just too darn cute to say no to. I offer to take over so he can eat dinner since he’d let me eat in peace, away from our twin daughters. He happily obliges and I easily slide on her sandal with a laugh.

My husband and I have always been a team. We battled infertility, we struggled with a difficult pregnancy and then were warriors dealing with our twin girls in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Now nearly two years later, we’re still a team when it comes to parenting.

When I think of Father’s Day, I go back to our days in the NICU as our girls spent three months there, this part of our life is very much ingrained in us. The seriousness of these months left an unforgettable stamp on our life. I think for us moms, it’s a bit different since we carried our babies inside, thus we have a more intimate relationship with our children. Fathers, on the other hand, seemingly get tossed into reality once the baby (or babies) are born.

I’ll never forget my husband’s face during my C-section, it pretty much was shock, excitement, worry and “oh crap.”  We saw our girls, and from then on were called “mom and dad.” I felt a pang of guilt as it seems I had to make all the decisions in regards to our girls – I got to hold them first, first kisses, first everything as dad watched on and happily took seconds on holding our girls for the first time. Now the girls are about to turn two, and as a dad, the girls absolutely adore him.

We have different roles in regards to their upbringing. We balance each other out, take turns when one of us is ready to pull our hair out and best of all, we watch out for each other. Even though I feel slightly jealous, both of our girls first word was “dad,” the joy on his face to hear his own children calling him that was priceless.

Having a dad is invaluable in a child’s life. The fact that you have another person who loves and cherishes you so much, to protect you and be there for you, is what we truly celebrate with Father’s Day. My girls and I are lucky to have him. So Happy Father’s Day to you rookie dads, veteran dads and for you dads to be. We love and deeply appreciate you not only on this day, but every day. Happy Father’s Day!

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How to Make a First Father’s Day Special

Like with most holidays, gift giving is often the first thing that comes to mind when Father’s Day rolls around. But the things that can be done to make this day extra special for dad aren’t limited to buying him presents – in fact, Father’s Day presents, for whatever reason, have a reputation for being quite awful.  Of a truth, some gifts for dad are so bad that they’re just plain hilarious.


Men whose children have grown beyond toddlerhood are the ones most likely to suffer getting tacky neckties, musk-scented soap-on-a-rope, dress socks with “I heart dad” printed on them, or perhaps a toolbelt (so that he can remember just how much work is still lingering on his to-do list). Spectacular, isn’t it?


What happens when the only child a man has is still a baby, a newborn, by the time Father’s Day comes? What about if 2016 marks his first Father’s Day ever? How about those men whose child(ren) have passed on – such as if their baby was born a preemie and is either in the NICU or didn’t make it, and this is the first time this holiday has come since it happened? There’s no reason that any of these men should have to miss out on the celebration of their own fatherhood if they don’t want to.


4 Ways to Make Father’s Day Great for First Time Dads


  1. Ease His Burdens


The ability to enjoy less stress on his special day can mean a lot more to dad than any new trinket or tool. While he likely has responsibilities that nobody else can manage but him, finding any way to take the load off his shoulders for the day is an excellent way to show him love and appreciation. For example, you might not be able to attend that business meeting with his pushy boss for him, but you can pick up his suit from the dry cleaners and take care of his other household chores. Note, however, that giving him the day off from responsibilities without having the work covered is not an effective way of easing his burdens – he’ll know full well that the work will just be waiting for him, all piled up for Monday.


  1. Crown Him the VIP for the Day


Make his first Father’s Day, and every Father’s Day that follows special by treating him like a king. Let him have his way – even if only for this one day. Do those things that he’s been asking for but have yet to be done. Treat him like your very own VIP for the day.  Giving dad this extraordinary care and attention may require laying your ego aside and biting your lip at times, but it’s worth it. He’ll feel the love and appreciation and you’ll have succeeded in achieving your goal of making his day great – hopefully, it won’t all go to his head!


  1. Give Him Understanding


It isn’t just women and moms who crave to be listened to; dads like to have understanding too. Although every day is a great day to give fathers understanding, it should especially be done on Father’s day. This is especially important for first time fathers, even if they are the silent type, because their newfound fatherhood means that some big changes have taken place in their lives recently. It might be so that men are not always open to sharing feelings or emotions, but it doesn’t matter much if the dad in your life is this way. Just spend some time with him – even if it’s watching sports with him when you are anything but a sports fan.


  1. Show Him Love


Real dads have earned their right to appreciation. They’ve earned their rest days, celebrations, honor, and respect – they give so much! They give according to what they have. It’s not the length of time spent as a father that matters, but the heart behind fatherhood that matters. Love is the best present that anyone could give, but sometimes the people that we love the most can go without feeling that love. On this Father’s Day, whether the man in your life is an experienced dad, a new father, or a dad whose child is gone, go out of your way to show him love and that will make this day one of the most special of them all.
If you’re really focused on buying dad a great present this year, consider making a donation in his name to The Gift of Life.

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