When his girlfriend unexpectedly gave birth to a baby girl, new dad Adam sank into a pit of fear, anxiety and depression. But, by searching for reasons and answers, he has emerged stronger
I had always said I didn’t want children. I knew nothing about them, had never even held a baby – and so I couldn’t have been less prepared for the phone call that was to change my life.
Looking back now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I cannot imagine life not being a dad; but it took a lot of struggling, self-discovery, and moments of realisation, to get to that place.
It was 11 May 2015 when I was woken in the middle of the night by my phone ringing. Little did I know this one call was going to be the most important of my life.
It was my (now) mother-in-law with the news that my girlfriend was in hospital. I felt sick. What had caused her to be rushed into hospital in the middle of the night? My mind raced, my throat dried up, and then she announced the unexpected… My partner was in a delivery room, preparing to give birth!
I froze and could just hear heavy breathing getting louder and more thunderous. I stood up, began to get ready to make my way to the hospital, then dropped the phone on the bed – and at that instant, I buried myself deep inside.
This just didn’t make sense. My girlfriend had been working that day; we had been zip-lining the weekend before. She had no baby bump, she didn’t have morning sickness, she had been taking her contraceptive pill, and yet there I was driving to the hospital to be with the mother of my child. It just didn’t seem real.
When I reached the hospital, I was in a deep state of shock, but my girlfriend was going to need me – she would be so confused and scared, so I needed to be there for her. I again buried the emotions deep inside the chasms of my mind.
As I entered the delivery room, it was surreal. There lay my beautiful girlfriend, in a hospital bed, wearing a gown. She was trying to convince the midwife that she would know if a living child was inside her! I put on my brave face, took a deep breath, and I ran towards her as the tears began.
Over the next few hours, I experienced every sort of emotion – ones I’d never felt before. There were so many questions, so many doubts, fears, and yet nobody seemed to be able to tell us anything about our baby. Was it a boy or girl, was our child healthy, full-term? Nurses were running in and out the room, and a monitor clearly showed something moving inside my girlfriend’s tummy.
Over the next few hours, I tried to come to terms with the situation. I held my partner’s hand, and made sure she felt supported. I was locked into that moment, and yet fear consumed every element of my being.
When our child was eventually born, it was an emotional experience. My partner was amazing, I temporarily overcame a fear of blood, and from the first moment I set eyes on my daughter and held her, I felt my heart melt.
I was suddenly a dad to a healthy and happy baby girl. But now what? She had no name, we had nothing for her, and we weren’t even living together. But by midday, we had half of Mothercare in my living room! I remember the inner conflict I felt as I sat surrounded by bags of clothes, nappies, bottles, and mourned my old life, while also trying to accept and come to terms with my new one.
I studied the mechanics of what causes anxiety, depression, even phobias, and decided I wanted to help others going through dark times
I didn’t eat for days, I couldn’t sleep. My life consisted of waiting for hospital visiting hours so I could go support my girlfriend and our baby. I was so lost.
Eventually my daughter and girlfriend were released from hospital. Apart from losing my guitar room overnight, I had the perfect space for a nursery, and my girlfriend moved in. Life became very different, very quickly. We worked together – she was so patient with me – and soon I was confident enough to change nappies, and hold my daughter more regularly.
The broken sleep was hideous; we were both so physically and mentally exhausted. The bottle feeds in the early hours were some of the loneliest and scariest times for me, as I tried to make sure that I shared responsibilities with my partner.
I quickly discovered that there wasn’t much support for dads. Every leaflet, house visit, and check-up focused on the mother – as they should. But I remember thinking I was the other part of the equation, too, and had equally been affected.
This deep sense of fear, worry, and doubt eventually manifested itself in anxiety, and time alone with my daughter filled me with dread. What if I got her bath water the wrong temperature? I easily imagined scenarios that would scare me. All the while I was fascinated with how this could happen, and searched for answers, until one day I found one.
It was all to do with the conscious and the subconscious mind, and how as both minds weren’t aligned, the body bypassed the entire process. I became obsessed with the mind, and was ready to uncover the emotions I’d buried. Instead of listening to the anxiety, I had tried to run from it – causing it to get louder. I needed to let it out.
I allowed the emotions, the feelings, and the memories to come flooding back, and they poured out of me. It was my therapy. It was my story, told from my point of view, with nothing spared, and I soon began to realise that I no longer felt anxious or depressed.
In fact, I could see clearly for the first time in a while. I remember hugging my daughter and thinking how I could now enjoy my new reality. I later self-published my story as an ebook, called 3-Hour Dad.
My obsession with the mind became stronger – I studied the mechanics of what causes anxiety, depression, even phobias, and decided I wanted to help others going through dark times.
So, I studied hypnosis, immersing myself in books, and took several online courses before saving enough money to attend a school and passing my diploma in clinical hypnotherapy with a distinction.
I set up Mindblocks Hypnotherapy Nottingham, and started to see clients living with from emotional blocks. With my backstory, my understanding of the mind, and a flexible approach, I soon began helping people to feel better.
I have now helped more than 50 people, and love to deliver workshops to companies (which I always start with my own story) about the power of the mind. I enjoy breaking down the belief that there isn’t hope for people. I have discovered it is never the event, but merely the meaning we attach to it.
They say in life you don’t discover your purpose; it discovers you. And it is fair to say without the beautiful miracle of my daughter, I wouldn’t be on this path.
Andrew Major | HPD DSFH, says:
Adam’s journey shows how we can be affected by change, even when it’s welcomed! We often struggle to adapt because our brains are naturally resistant to change as a means of keeping us safe – but this can heighten our anxiety, and trap us in cycle of negative thinking. However, as Adam discovered, understanding how the mind works is often the first step to taking back control of our anxiety. Combining this knowledge with hypnotherapy gives you the tools and strategies to stay calm and resilient in times of change.