New Dad Diaries – Week 19: The unbreakable bond




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week, Chris wonders how he can forge an unbreakable bond with his daughter Thea.  

Pretty soon after Thea was born, I felt a real desire to build an unbreakable, lifelong bond with her. I wanted us to have a close relationship where she always feels loved, protected, cared about and cherished by her father.   

I will be honest though. I didn’t know how to create this attachment. Thea is, after all, my first child so I had no idea where to start. The only thing I did know, was that it wouldn’t ‘just happen’. I would need to be intentional about it. There are too many examples out there of disconnected, distant relationships between fathers and their children for us to think otherwise. You can be sure that as these fathers held their baby in those early weeks, they would have had the same desire for a close bond, as you and I do now. So something went wrong along the way.   

The thought that my bond with Thea may go the same way, kept me up at night. As if I needed anything else keeping me awake! It led me to order 19 books on fathering (I’m not exaggerating) in search of the answer. As I bought many of them second-hand from foreign nations, they are still arriving now, 19 weeks later!  

One of these books gave me my first idea: To do a ‘grand gesture’. Surely, that would help me build a bond. Take, for example, Commander Eugene Cernan, who before flying to the Moon on Apollo 17, promised to bring his daughter Tracey Dawn Cernan back a moonbeam. That was obviously impossible, so the Commander did the next best thing. He bent down on the Moon and traced his daughter’s initials into the surface – ‘TDC’.  Because there is no atmosphere on the moon – no wind, no rain, no life to scatter dust – the initials TDC will remain scrawled in moondust forever. Every day, Tracey Cernan knows that her Dad was thinking about her even when he was 384,000 km away on a one-of-a-kind mission. That’s pretty special.   

In a moment of sleep-deprived naivety, I looked into joining NASA so that I could do the same – just in bigger writing. As it turned out though, they don’t take slightly out-of-shape, 35-year-old, diabetics. So, back to the drawing board I went. I thought about climbing Mount Snowdon and carving her initials into the summit, but the weather conditions up there are so bad it would get wiped out in days. I thought about carving her name in a tree-stump, getting a tattoo, or buying a boat and calling it ‘Thea’. Mrs Kerr soon pointed out the flaw in that idea. We can’t afford one.   

In the end, I came up with the idea for the New Dad Diaries. Yes, it’s main purpose is to equip you for the early days of fathering (mainly by publicly declaring my mistakes) but I also like to think that they are a love letter, of sorts, to my daughter too. Letters that she can look back on when I am no longer here as a reminder of my heart for her. Although for the record Thea, there are no words that can ever truly do that justice. 

As much as I recommend that we all do a grand gesture every now and then, they are not enough on their own to build an unbreakable bond between father and child. Such deep, meaningful bonds cannot be forged by short-cuts, nor can they be bought with money and gifts. The cost is far greater, and so is the reward. For if you give your son or daughter your time, your energy, your presence – often at a sacrifice to other good things – you will have something very special with your little one. 

Bonding happens in your day-to-day interactions, so take every opportunity to make the most of yours. That has been a game-changer for me, adding new purpose to the daily grind of changing Thea’s nappies, rocking her to sleep and feeding her milk. I may not be able to carve her name into the Moon, but I can do my best to build a bond that will help her shoot for it. 


Dads – mental health issues among new fathers are commonplace. There is very little research and support, though, to deal with this problem. So, please do fill out this survey, which forms part of a dissertation on the types of issues new dads face and the ways to help them. 

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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