In January, photographer Phillip Toledano released a new photo book called The Reluctant Father, which follows Toledano's honest journey through the beginning stages of fatherhood. At the age of 40, Toledano was thrown into the role, one that he didn't necessarily plan or desire to be in. His daughter Loulou, born on July 19, 2010, would slowly change his life, but for those first 18 months, he didn't feel as though he could connect emotionally with the young child. “Everything Loulou did was utterly incomprehesible,” he states. “Take eating, for instance. It was like watching a wildlife documentary. She'd savage the nipple (rubber, or Carla) with a crazed animal ferocity, and then slip into a deep opiate slumber, mouth agape.”
Look through these photos, and you may be able to understand what Toledano was going through at the time. As a parent, we all experience frustrating times, but in the end, we can only marvel at the beautiful life form we've somehow created.
“I'm not debating the genius of children,” he told Slate. “I'm just saying I didn't really enjoy the experience initially, and of course now I'm a fully paid-up cult member.”
“I want to apologize to Loulou. One day, she'll see these photographs, and read these words. I want her to know that even though I found the beginning of her life quite bewildering, I'm so glad she's here now.
I love you very much, Loulou.
“While I'm at it, I'd like to say something to the future Loulou. Please don't wear sweatpants with the letters ‘JUICY' stitched on the bum. Please don't become a goth, or an emo (or whatever they'll be doing in 15 years), and peer at me gloomily through six layers of black eyeshadow.
“Remember. Before your father was a parent, he was a person. Young, and confused, just like you.”