In the beginning, I was completely unsure of what the days ahead as a parent were going to be like. I had never really thought I was going to be a parent. I had never been able to imagine myself as a parent, and so I never allowed myself to approach those dreams of being a parent. When I finally agreed to become a parent, I was still unsure. I could not see the road ahead of me. It was a leap of faith. Aki wanted a child and wanted to be mother, and I thought that supporting her dream could only lead to good things. It wasn’t until after our daughter came that I slowly started to realize why I was so anxious about having a child. Granted, most new parents don’t have a very good idea of what they’re getting into when they decide to become parents. In my case, there were several more layers.
I had no idea what sort of questions I would start asking myself, and how my identity would start to crack, my identity that felt so solid and sure. Hadn’t I been through this before? I was worried about so many things. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to be a true parent to her because we weren’t blood-related. I worried that I would not be a mother or a father to her. I would be someone without a name, without a title. I worried about how visible we were going to be now in the world, and that I wouldn’t be able to protect her because I, myself, felt like a walking target half the time.
In those early days, I looked at her again and again, searching for some way that we might look alike. I looked at her and myself in the mirror or in photos, looking at her features and then mine, and being painfully reminded that no, we don’t look alike. We’re not related. All I knew and all I’d known up to that point in my life was that family meant being blood-related. And, that being blood-related meant that we loved each other. I was forging new ground. All I could do was have faith and put one step in front of the other, one diaper change in front of the next.
Eventually, I came to accept that we didn’t look related, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took a long time to chip away at this long held belief. But there were many more to chip away.