Alan Cunningham talks to us about the ups, downs and misconceptions of being a young father. He is 23 years old now and was just 19 when his daughter Cayleigh was born. She was born in Ohio in America but now lives here in Ireland with her mom and dad. We asked Alan about his relationship with his four year old daughter Cayleigh and if he has any regrets. 

IMG_2068 How old is Cayleigh now?

She’s 4 now and absolutely perfect she’s my best friend and starting school soon.

What went through your mind when you found out Brittany (Cayleigh’s mother) was pregnant?

Brittany was living in America when I found out she was pregnant. I didn’t know how to react at first but I came to terms with it quite quickly as I knew there was no going back! But I was still nervous because I didn’t know much about babies or how I’d get to see her.

Were you prepared for Cayleigh’s arrival? 
I wasn’t caught off guard as such because I was willing to learn but I wouldn’t say I was prepared either, other than having what we needed! But I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for their first child, it’s always going to be a learning curve no matter how old you are.

cayleigh twoWhat is the hardest thing about being a young father?
The hardest thing about being a young father is people’s automatic perception of you as a bad father and peers my age not understanding the commitment or what it’s like to be a parent.

Are people shocked when they realize your a Dad? 
Yes everyone is shocked when they find out I’m a parent because I only look about 17! (Alan tells us laughing)  I’ve never had someone NOT be shocked to find out.

What is the best thing about being a Dad?
The best thing about being a dad is just playing with her and falling in love with her over and over again with everything she does, it never stops or looses the effect. she makes me smile even on my worst days.

cayleigh winterIf you could go back would you do anything differently?
If I could go back I would do it over and over I don’t regret anything.

People think that if you have a child young, you are prevented from achieving your dreams. What do you think about this?
Having a kid while young hasn’t prevented me achieving my dreams. I’ve achieved all of mine so far and she’s only made them better, but it all depends on what your dreams are because you don’t come first anymore. Also I have to admit I have a great family behind me. Between my sister,parents and brothers there is always someone to give a hand! They have definitely done their fair share of babysitting and I am very grateful for it. 

Cayleigh and her cousin Adam at their Granddads House.
Cayleigh and her cousin Adam at their Granddads House.
Cayleigh giving out to her Granddad at Christmas.
Cayleigh giving out to her Granddad at Christmas.

I think having children young has more pros than cons if your mature enough, you’ll have more in common with them and when they’re older you will still be relatively young and able to live your live more than someone who’s still looking after children in they’re older years

A big thank you to Alan for answering all our questions!

Thanks for Reading,