If you’re a parent, you’ll probably never forget how you felt the first time you found out you were expecting. Becoming a parent changes everything, and fear and love can be constant companions. As Father’s Day approaches, we look at one man who processed his feelings about fatherhood in his own unique way.
Edoardo Ponti is an award-wining producer and filmmaker, and is perhaps best known as the son of famous filmmaker Carlo Ponti and actress Sophia Loren. Now you can add published writer to his list of professions - his first book of poetry, Letters from a Young Father, is now available.
"I always used (poetry) to make sense of complicated feelings, make sense of thoughts I had, make sense of my life," says Ponti. "There's something very direct and very intimate about poetry, and this is a very unique form of poetry, which is poetry letters in a sense."
A collection of poems written by Ponti during the 40 weeks of his wife's (Sasha Alexander) pregnancy, Letters from a Young Father, offers life advice, lessons about love, fear, and reflections as Ponti prepared to become a father.
"All these letter poems were addressed to my daughter almost like a blueprint on how to live, how to love, how to remember," he explains.
Ponti notes that while women are "implicity, inexorably involved in the process" of having a child, men are a witness to the process. Literature on becoming a father is also lacking, he says, so these weekly poems were a way to help make sense of his journey to parenthood.
"Sometimes it's comforting to read a book that shares feelings that you also have. Feelings that can be complicated, feelings that you don't quite know where they come from - and to have somebody else put those feelings to paper and verbalize them can be reassuring," says Ponti.
Ponti notes his children Lucia (age 12) and Leonardo (age 7) aren't quite old enough to understand the significance of the poems he wrote for them, but, "it's almost like a seed you plant, and then you see that seed grow and flower over the course of the years."
While his father Carlo was a more traditional head of the household providing for his family and often away working on films, Ponti says that his new generation of parents see the importance of striking the right balance.
"Being able of course to provide food on the table, a roof over your head - but also spending that time with your child, which is so important," he adds.
For any new parents, Ponti has one simple piece of advice:
"Take fatherhood one day at a time and move away from the shiny object of perfection and just try to be a good person," he says. "Just try to be a good father and take each problem as it comes and use common sense."
Week 33 (Day for night with a moon so full)
Wait 'til you meet your mother's eyes
She laid them on me over lunch today
And there was nothing left
But to rest my fork
In the quiet courage of her lines and this love
Like a spring leaf so fragile so translucent
No storm would ever be thick or passionate
Enough to tear or burn a hole through
Then this dimple of hers so precious
It could only be issued on one cheek
Embossed by feckles (I pray you have that too)
When she smiles her cheek turns to pastry
No other word for it
Her hands are tiny but always there
Her legs chiseled by the memory
Of skating - That balanace
Which taught her how to fall
Then you'll meet her mouth
The kisses of which
Ground and levitate you
Like she invented the act
But enough said and maybe it's already too much
I can't wait to discover her through your eyes
Can't wait to meet the woman through your love
And the man I'll be with you both
- Edoardo Ponti