Parent24 chats to Michael Griffiths
Dad to Poppet and Petal chats to Parent24 about how struggling with infertility has taught them important lessons about parenting.
Real parents have been chatting to Parent24 about their experiences, which range from side-splittingly funny to deeply moving. Why not find out more about these moms and dads, who are, very often, just like you.
Who is Michael Griffiths?
Michael is proud father to the perfect pigeon pair of Poppet and Petal!
Are there any challenges you’ve found which have been particularly tough?
We waited 8 years, visited 4 fertility "experts" in the UK and SA and had started the adoption process before we found out my wife was (miraculously) pregnant with Poppet. I will never fully comprehend the pain my wife endured during those eight years, but it was soul destroying to see her go through it. Words of encouragement/sympathy/support from family, friends and strangers were welcome at first, but as time passed actually made matters worse. The challenges and heartache of not having children far outweighs the challenges of having children and I try and remember that whenever parenting gets difficult.
What have you enjoyed most about being a parent so far?
When we were childless, we spent a lot of time with our 5 godchildren. I had lots of fun playing with them and spending time with them, but at the end of the day, no matter how much fun we had, they always wanted their mommy or daddy at the end. I yearned to be "that" person for my own child one day. Now nothing makes my heart fuller than when Poppet comes to me to hold him and protect him and comfort him, or when a crying Petal is handed to me and I soothe her.
Any tips you have for new parents, based on your own experiences?
Like most first time parents we read every bit of literature we could find on parenting. As a result, throughout the pregnancy and the first few months of Poppet's life we were jibbering idiots suffering from information overload and paralysis through analysis. That changed when Poppet was 6 months old and our GP calmly asked us if Poppet could read yet. We said no. He said, well then if Poppet can't read the parenting books, then he doesn't know what he SHOULD be doing. He is acting on instinct based on how he is feeling and as parents we should not be afraid to follow our own instincts a little more. It is important to have a few reliable sources for advice (like Parent24!) but don't drown in theory, just spend time with your baby and you will learn together.
How do you think your kids would describe you?
When I got home I asked Petal how she would describe me. Being only 5 months old she gave me a big smile and gurggled at me, which I took as a good sign, until she did the same thing when the kettle boiled. I then asked Poppet if daddy was his hero. He replied "Yesh!" in his best Sean Connery accent. I realise that it was a loaded question, but I don't care. It still counts!
What characterises a “good parent”, and would you call yourself one?
If you asked kids what makes a great parent I believe they would say someone who loves them unconditionally, who makes them feel safe and secure both physically and emotionally and who spends quality time with them. Although my kids are still young, I am committed to achieving all of this as well as being consistent, to expose them to as much of the world as possible and to guide and support their decisions without trying to lead their lives for them. I have read that the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. This I intend to do happily for many years to come and I hope it sets an example so that Poppet learns how to treat the ladies in his life and that Petal knows how she should expect to be treated. It is still early days, but my hope is that one day if you were to ask Poppet and Petal if I was a good parent, they would say "yes" without hesitating!
Follow Michael on Twitter and take a look at Poppet and Petal's blogs
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