Why fatherhood is awesome and why I needed to be saved?
My childhood wasn’t easy. I was growing up in communistic Poland, behind Iron Curtain, without access to basics. Really. My own parents were struggling to make the ends meet. Our upbringing was cold and distant, on top of it all my, parents were deaf – I was always looking after them, very often also after myself.
I hated my childhood, poor, scarred, often physically abused I didn’t want to have kids and did not grow up to be emotionally stable. At 16 I moved away, changed schools. experimented with drugs and alcohol, discovering rock n roll lifestyle – straight going downhill and being locked in my first rehab just before my 18th birthday.
I made many mistakes, hurt many people.
I moved away to the UK when I was 23. Actually, it was more like I am running away. Nothing made sense, I left my pregnant girlfriend behind me. I was a coward on top of all of this. Stopped responding to her calls, called off the wedding and didn’t speak to her till a few months later when my first child was born. It changed nothing. I abandoned them both. Working and drinking away my hard-earned money, got into debts and fell deeper and deeper in despair. No fatherhood what so ever.
Time passed, met someone, had an average life, with a job which I hated, frustrated with everything. I lost connection with myself.
A few years later, few relationships down the line I seemed with miss right one, I kind of settle down. I became a father, and once again two years later. I wanted it, but it didn’t change much in my way of living. Work, home, drink on my days off, struggling with my mental health more and more.
Children as a lifebuoy. Changes in me.
One day changed everything. My son was two, my daughter just a few weeks old. Someone asked us at the playgroup if our son is diagnosed with autism. He wasn’t. It made us realised that something is not right, something got overlooked and I felt crushed as I realised my son is not like other children. I stopped for a day and cried. Got drunk and cried even more.
After that, I got my hands on everything possible to support my son. Called anyone who could help us to diagnose our boy. I’ve spent time waiting on corridors of many medical institutions. I looked after my children with passion and I decided to do something to understand my children better. In the age of 32, I applied to college and I started to educate myself. I wanted to know more. I have finished Early Education and Childcare with honours, during the studies I wrote a book about our journey through diagnosis and our struggle, later started this blog and as you know it’s about fatherhood, mental health and autism.
It seems that everything changed, I found my purpose.
Today I support other fathers and children as Father and Child Wellbeing Worker in Scottish charity Children 1st and I can honestly say: My own children and autism diagnosis of my son saved me. Today the word fatherhood is mine to share. It’s a key to my every single day. At work and off work.
More about fatherhood on the apparently- read here
A year ago, I decided to look for any trace of my first child born in Poland 15 years ago. A boy who I have cowardly left and never came back. I found him on Instagram and wrote him a message.
I didn’t expect more than – Leave me alone.
After a few days, he replied – Good to see you, we all are making mistakes in life. Let’s get to know each other.
Just months later he came to visit us in Scotland. He spent a week with us, we went shopping, talked, went for a walk, played board games. One day he called me dad. We call each other weekly, we are even done some music together. I wanted just to get to know him. Nothing more. I didn’t want to pretend that I am his dad. But he accepted me as one. Now I have 3 kids, actually two and a teenager.
I was saved by my children and I was given another chance to be a father. It was amazing to see my partner, and all of my children together laughing and being around each other comfortable.
They saved me.
Next time I will tell you a wee story about todays walk…with my 10 years old son. First one since lockdown…made my day.
Below the picture of me and my 15 years old son. (He’s ok with me using it)
Fatherhood saved my life. The real story.