As we approach Father’s Day 2012, I figured it would be reasonable of me to share what I have learned in my 3.5 years of fatherhood with any soon-to-be fathers. Now, some of the, shall I say, ‘seasoned veterans of life’ might scoff at this, and for those ‘seasoned veterans’, all I have to say is…
… times have changed, Ward & June…
So, without further ado, here’s my list of crap and/or questions that you should know / consider / ignore / think about / jot down / muddle through / argue about and will subsequently forget as your son(s) and/or daughter(s) slides through or gets yanked out of your wife’s/girlfriend’s birth canal by a ‘highly-trained professional’…or perhaps extracted from her artificially-carved ‘sunroof’. At the very least, please thank me for my honesty:
1) “Natural birth is a ‘beautiful’ thing” – Fathers-To-Be… listen up. Yes, seeing your first-born for the first time is one of the most amazing things that will EVER happen to you in your entire life. No question about it. What folks hardly want to admit is the amount of ‘stuff’ that follows this baby ‘out the door’. Nothing in the world will prepare you for it, but you’ll be ready.
2) What’s it like ‘cutting the cord’? – It’s tougher than you think. This isn’t like cutting a ribbon for the grand opening of a new downtown YMCA. Nope. It kind of feels like cutting through an old rubber hose with a pair of safety scissors. However, you are MAN… and you will succeed.
3) Will I ever sleep again? – Nope. Absolutely not. At least, you will never quite sleep the same way again until, perhaps, the kids move out… and with the economy the way it is today?! BAHAHAHAHA!!
4) Is changing diapers hard? – Not really. You will become a pro. The first few bowel movements will contain meconium (aka ‘the shit that doesn’t stink, but is IMPOSSIBLE TO WIPE OFF THE BABY’S ASS’). After that, enjoy the ride! :)
5) Will I drop the baby? – I don’t know, you tell me. I mean, it is definitely possible that you might drop the baby. The object is to try not to drop the baby. Gravity doesn’t discriminate, and tile doesn’t forgive, so just be careful, ok? :)
6) Will mommy freak out and go postal? – Sort of. Hormones go… well… f’ing insane after child birth (there are also hormonal changes for men as well). It’s sort of like taking a plane that is out of control, getting the plane back under control, and then telling the folks in coach that ‘everything is going to be ok’ as oxygen masks are dangling all over the place, babies are screaming, and your Biscoff is in itty-bitty pieces on the floor; it takes time for said folks to calm the hell down. However, read up on the subject, and if things seem more abnormal than what’s considered relatively normal from the range of normal given the scenario, then it would be a-ok to get the appropriate help. Also, if you are the type of guy that says stupid and insensitive shit, it’s probably a good time to cut that out for awhile.
7) Should I take classes that the hospital offers? Absolutely, yes. Will they help? Somewhat. They will tell you that ‘every baby is different’, and then give you the most common scenario for things, so be patient with that. Definitely take infant CPR and car seat training on top of the standard classes.
8) How will I know if my wife is in labor? Oh, you’ll know. Just make sure that you have all of your shit in order well before hand so that you aren’t searching for the car keys at the last second. Also, if the contractions are hours apart, give it time (unless, of course, your doctor tells you to get your ass in there, in which case, completely ignore what the hell I’m saying right now). If contractions start getting closer together in length and frequency, baby is on his/her way – get your ass in the car and SAFELY get to the hospital.
9) What the hell are we going to do when we get home from the hospital?!? – Figure it out, daddy-o! ;) You are dad, hear you roar!
10) Will I be a good father? – That’s all up to you. It’s a lot of work, and nobody’s perfect. The answer to that question will reveal itself over time.
If there’s anything else that I’m missing (which I’m sure that I am for the sake of keeping this post manageable), please chime in!