A father’s story…
It all started when…
Bella first told me she was pregnant, I didn’t get that wave of excitement and nerves you hear so many dads talk about.
I knew I wanted to have a relationship with my child and that I wanted Bella and I to be able to provide our family with the right tools for success, but I didn’t know exactly what that looked like.
I can tell you that home visiting was never something I thought Bella and I needed. We agreed to try out the Healthy Families Program based off a family referral, but I was hesitant to trust a stranger coming into our home to tell us how to be good parents. I quickly learned that that’s not what PCAT is about. I discovered a group of people who don’t just believe in giving children great childhoods, but who genuinely believe in a parent’s ability to do just that. Our home visitor was encouraging and transparent from the get-go. She showed us how the program works as a partnership to meet parents where they are at and to support them to become the best they can be. She talked to us about building a bond with our baby before she was even born. She listened when we had concerns or when we felt overwhelmed. She provided us with information about our baby’s health that we would have never had access to. She praised us when we gained confidence in ourselves and in our ability to give our daughter what she needs to be happy. And because of our home visitor, after Bayla was born we felt prepared for the messiest, most beautiful journey we were about to begin.
Something I have learned as a father is that love is a process. Even if you “feel it” right away, love takes time and energy, patience and empathy in order to grow. It’s when you are engaging in the moments you have with your baby that those feelings get stronger. Our home visitor showed us that the joy we wanted to have as a family was something we could create. And on the days when we were tired and stressed out, she was right there with us reminding us that it’s okay not to have everything figured out. It’s important to feel like you’re being heard. That’s why we decided to become parent leaders for PCAT, to help give the same support we have received back to our communities.
PCAT feels like home. The warmth and the acceptance we have found in this organization is the reason we are still so thrilled to be a part of the impactful work that is happening here. We have first-hand seen the impact in our lives and in the lives of others.
Ben, Bella, and Bayla