Fatherhood: Week Nine - Second Thoughts

There are less than four weeks until our son begins daycare. The reality of this quickly approaching moment is hitting us hard.

I’m not sure when my wife was struck with this realization, but I can tell you when it walloped me. It was a Friday morning at work. I was listening to Anna Sale on WNYC’s Death, Sex, and Money podcast. The title of the episode was “We're Not Going To Have Karl Again.” It centered on a couple having another child after their son tragically died after half a day in daycare.

I am not exaggerating when I say I started bawling at work.

After tweeting my strong reaction to the episode, the people who run the podcast asked me to email them. I am including what I sent them below.

In the days since, I find myself apologizing to my wife a lot. I’ve written before about how I feel guilty that my student loan debt is putting us in this situation. I know ultimately it’s not my fault, but I feel helpless. 

I’m glad I married such a strong and supportive woman. We tell each other everything is going to be ok. I have no reason to let a podcast cloud our forecast…

Dear Anna and the staff of the Death Sex and Money podcast,

This week’s episode of Death Sex and Money moved me to tears. I even tweeted that I cried at work as a result. 

I am the parent of a two month old boy named Beckett (or “Beck” for short). He is our first child. I went through many pregnancy struggles with my first wife. I was surprised and elated when we found out my second wife was pregnant with our son. 

I’ve quickly become attached to Beck. I enjoy it when he smiles and laughs or grabs my finger. I never thought I would be a father. It is obviously too early to make the call but right now I love being his dad. 

In a month, we are getting ready to take Beck to daycare. We spent a few weeks looking for one that was right for us. It was not an easy decision. There were waiting lists to deal with. Some were out of our price range. Others looked shabby. Several times during our long and occasionally frustrating search, we flirted with the idea of me staying home to take care our son.

My wife is a medical illustrator for a local institute and I work for a large insurance company. I also write freelance for a local Phoenix publication. I have been trying to make writing a full-time job. 

I have been up late at night pitching so many ideas to publications, but have not had any luck. We sadly realized a few weeks ago that my large student loan debt inhibits me from being an at-home parent. I was disappointed, but knew it was the best decision for us. I could relate to Amber and Lee’s hesitation to put their son Karl and daycare and the reasons why they ultimately did.

Hearing what happened to Karl made me cry. I struggled through work the rest of the day. I called my wife to tell her what I heard and began to reconsider our decision on sending Beck to daycare. 

‘We could try to make things work financially,’ I asked. 

I knew we couldn’t. I took solace in knowing we weren’t the only family who has grappled with this decision. My heart goes out to Amber and Lee.  I know their story doesn’t happen to everyone, but it has caused me to rethink taking Beck to daycare in four short weeks. 

Thank you for asking me to share my story and giving Amber and Lee the opportunity to share the events surrounding the tragic loss of their son. I am hoping for a financial miracle. I’ve waited so many years to become a father. I don’t want to hand the reins over to someone else so quickly. 

Please keep up the excellent work.


Jason Keil