Alexander Shaw, an attorney-at-law, lost his father when he was nine years old, but he still has fond memories of him.
He hopes to be similarly etched in the mind of his daughter, Zephorah, who is now seven months old.
“The first day when I held my daughter in my hands, I had such an overwhelming feeling,” Shaw told The Beacon.
“I was just there staring in awe knowing that I brought a life on earth, and knowing the awesome responsibility to nurture this life.”
Shaw explained that he started seriously mulling his first child since he got married five years ago to Sasha-Gay Grant-Shaw.
“I got married a few years ago and so I always wanted a child. I actually thought I would have gotten her much earlier,” he commented.
When his wife became pregnant, Shaw initially was relishing the thought of having a son. He even picked a name, ‘Zaphane’, for him.
But things changed suddenly five months into the pregnancy. “I dreamt that I had a girl, and so my expectations changed,” said the native of Spanish Town, St. Catherine.
He noted that he and his wife prepared financially and psychologically for the new addition to their young family.
“We were well prepared for her… Had she come earlier, we would not have been ready to deal with the challenges of parenthood. We were planning, and we knew when was the right time,” Shaw said.
“The truth is, you don’t want your child to come into a world that is not ready to receive him or her; I never wanted that.”
The baby was born in 2020 – two years after Shaw graduated law school.
He explained that being an attorney is time-consuming, and so he had to make adjustments in order to spend quality time with Zephorah.
“She requires and demands great attention – and equally does my career. But I have to strike a balance. I scaled back on some activities, because I was doing a lot,” he said.
Shaw continued: “Being a father is not just being a breadwinner, but being a caregiver as well – somebody who is there to watch his child grow step by step.”
Shaw’s impressive performance as a first-time father has not gone un-noticed.
His other half, Grant-Shaw, told The Beacon: “I had a very high expectation of my husband prior to having Zephorah, and he is doing excellently as a father. I commended him before, that he is a really great father.”
According to Grant-Shaw, her daughter even appears to be more drawn to her dad than to her. Shaw, 28, wasted no time in agreeing.
He went on to encourage other fathers to not shirk their responsibilities.
“Get a child when you are ready; don’t be forced…” Shaw advised.
“You have to assess where you are in life, and whether you are equipped to take on parenting. If you are not, don’t be rushed and don’t feel less than a man because people say it is time. You should know when it is time.”
Shaw also reasoned that, because he chose the right time to become a father, he is in a better position to help his daughter to become the best version of herself.
“I see that she my be a talker, and so I would want her to come into law or into politics. But she is always making sounds like she is going to be a singer – somebody in the entertainment field,” Shaw further commented.
“Although I have my expectations, I want my daughter to live her best life. I am here to support whatever decision she will make. I don’t want to bug her down with my expectations of what I want her to become.”
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