Name: Kalvin Bridgewater City: Fort Worth TX | Instagram: @Kalvin.Bridgewater
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father means the world to me. I have no words because it’s a feeling that one can’t doescribe. The deeper I get into my fatherhood journey, the more I realize that this is my divine purpose. I want more fathers to feel the joy of support, community, and broken generational curses.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My experience with my father growing up was tumultuous. The first time my dad said he loved me was after my mother’s funeral when I was 18-years-old. Growing up not knowing if your dad loves you or not affected me greatly. Now as a father myself, I know how impactful those words are as a father. I make sure my daughter hears those words from me and feels them daily.
What things/tools/gems did you take from your experience growing up into your Fatherhood journey today?
I grew up in a tight-knit community. The type where everyone knows everyone by first and last name. If I was acting up 9 houses down, a neighbor would make sure word got back to my parents but not before tongue-lashing me themselves. Becoming a father myself reminded me the importance of community. It takes more than just 2 parents to raise a child. It truly takes a village, as cliché as that sounds. That mantra has often been echoed by women but it’s time that us men realize the importance of a village too. I started a nonprofit for dads that turned into a much needed brotherhood.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey? If so, explain.
Fatherhood is one big obstacle course. My biggest struggle was when I realized I was suffering through postpartum depression. We hear it often when talking about new mothers but not fathers. Many people don’t realize that over 17% of new fathers will experience the postpartum blues – and that number is probably much higher than we recognize. Everyday I thought I was failing my child. If she didn’t want to come to me, I thought it was because she hated me. I was scared to hold her thinking I would crush her or drop her. I was in a bad headspace trying to make peace with my new reality.
What advice would you give other Fathers on their journey?
When it comes to your child, listen to them and not the world. Never let your child feel like they’re alone or you won’t love them if they make a decision based on how they feel.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
For 30-something years I really didn’t know you. as an adult, I realize that you never expressed your love to me because you never received it from your own father. The older I get the more I understand the concept of childhood trauma and generational curses. I appreciate you for being the grandfather my child deserves. Let’s continue to build and communicate.
I love you pops.