Daddy-Calling to Fertility-Maxxing
A few weeks ago, I was crosswalking when a car pulled up to the red light. Four young women, probably in their early 20s, were chatting rambunctiously and listening to loud music. The chatter quieted down when I walked closer to them. After passing in front of them, one said, “Hey, daddy.” I was taken off guard, regained composure, turned my head and gave them a smirk. One of the girls said, “he’s smiling,” which brought them to a collective chant, “Daddy, daddy, daddy”…
Their verbal barrage lasted for about 10 seconds, and then they drove off. I was left with a mixture of sensations: slightly shocked, mildly emasculated, and somewhat turned on. Once the sensations settled, it dawned on me: I just got daddy-called.
Camille and I have been trying to have a baby for a while now. I want to be a dad, I want her to be a mom, and I want us to be parents. We are focusing on what is possible and improving one’s fertility with lifestyle changes. In light of this, I have been fertility-maxxing for the last few months.
-Maxxing is the internet slang suffix that means maximizing a certain aspect of one’s life. The suffix has amusingly spread throughout social media, describing the totalizing attention toward something. Examples include looksmaxxing, statusmaxxing, vaxmaxxing, and my personal favorite, Gadaffi-maxxing.
A sense of freedom comes with wholeheartedly dedicating oneself to a singular pursuit. Thanks to my new focus on maximizing my fertility, I’ve made the following personal changes:
An antioxidant diet,
Only cold showers,
A fertility supplement regimen,
Top-secret esoteric techniques.
These changes have resulted in looking and feeling better. However, sacrificing worldly pleasures to create a life that demands more sacrifices comes with its own set of challenges. Some readers may currently face the opposite dilemma: they are neither compelled to have children nor choose to do so, but they feel societal and familial pressure and shame for their decision.
Resistance exists both for those who feel the call to embrace a non-natalist lifestyle and for those, like myself, who follow a pronatalist path. In my case, this resistance is directed at my calling to become a dad, creating a force that pushes against me, encowering me in the opposite direction.
By examining this resistance, four sources become apparent:
Fertility-crisis. There are talks of a “male infertility crisis,” with lifestyle factors and environmental contaminants said to be the causes, making having children for many men a challenge.
Meta-crisis. There is momentum in discouraging people from having children coming from legacy media, using crises (or the meta-crisis) we collectively face, ranging from climate change to misaligned AGI, as the reason. The energetic gist of this position is that the world is doomed, so do not bring more life into it.
Antinatalism. Philosophical antinatalism is spreading within Western culture, with persuasive utilitarian arguments that cannot be easily dismissed. Rationalist-minded people operating outside a religious framework where a pronatalist stance is an existential given must discover argumentation for their daddy-calling to contend against the robust argumentation of the antinatalists.
Youth mode. The trend-forecasting artistic collective K-HOLE coined the phrase “youth mode” to describe the release of traditional age-related expectations and roles and embracing the youthful attitude of freedom. Portrayed in a favorable light, there is a dark side—youth mode is the preferred mode of hyperconsumerism and avoids anything that skews one’s sense of freedom, such as the sacrifices and responsibilities needed to have children. Psychologically speaking, many still feel like children and children do not want to be responsible for raising children.
It feels easier not to go against the grain of these forces and become a doomer hedonist, enjoying the decline, and go full-spectrum youth mode, traveling the world without care, not being concerned about making money, and creating in a naively enchanted way. I will not be happy doing that. I have promised myself only to do what I am deeply called to do, and I am called to be a dad.
Amongst these pressures, my calling pushes back; when I sense into the daddy-calling, within the deepest place, a blank canvas of white light surfaces, and from the light, a baby appears—pure, beautiful, and untouched by evil. Its every breath affirms life without needing to justify it. I am called to protect, provide, and preside, affirming life by navigating its complexities.
Confessedly, during the pandemic, I cultivated a dadbod. Having a dadbod without being a dad did not make me feel attractive. Childless dadbods do not get daddy-called; listening to the calling to become a dad does.
As I approach my 39th birthday, I’ll consider being daddy-called by young women as a win. I choose to assume they recognized my emerging fertility. Sadness did emerge after their calls, as I am more called to be a dad. Still, being daddy-called carried meaning, a playful acknowledgment that I am on the right path.
I will be a dad, God willing. To ease the emotional pain of the challenges ahead, the story I like to tell myself is that God wants me to really want to be a dad. Following this daddy-calling and pushing through the resistance with fertility-maxxing, I trust I am being called to be a good one.
I will take two weeks off from this Substack and return on my birthday, October 26th. I’ll still be journalling daily at Collective Journalling, accessible to subscribers of this Substack. The RSVP link is behind the paywall.
What is Collective Journalling? This communal practice happens via Zoom and is 90 mins, with check-ins in the chat at the beginning and an opportunity to connect with fellow journalers in breakout rooms at the end. You do not have to stay the whole time. If you are in an antisocial mood, you do not have to interact with anyone, yet you can still enjoy the coffee shop-esque communal vibe. The session concludes with an optional sharing of a passage in the chat. Most of the time is spent in silence together, individually inquiring about what matters most. A lovely group of people has formed around this practice. The practice occurs on weekdays @ 8 AM ET.
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