Congratulations it’s a (inset gender here) ! You now have your own little bundle of joy (possibly again). No one has told you that this also includes bundles of stress, anxiety, guilt, and frustration.
It’s been nine months and baby is on the way, so the bags are packed and it’s off to hospital you go. In the 1970s fathers attendance at birth was in the low 20 percent, in the 1990s this was in the mid 90 percent. This is when you really become aware that there are now entire wards where dad is tolerated, providing he can sit quietly and out of the way. You’ve become the Italian guy from Allo Allo.
We’ll skip over the actual birth since most of you will understand the “how”, but best to say that the “be seen and not heard” approach is also required here. Humour is deemed especially inappropriate at this time.
Then baby arrives and there’s a whole debate around what to feed it. Everyone agrees that breast is best, but no one agrees what’s second place should that not prove to be working. Indeed they will offer overwhelming amounts of help towards breast feeding, so much so that the mums who can’t feel masses of guilt over this. All you can do is offer support since your nipples are good for nothing (why do we even have them anyway ?).
Eventually baby leaves the hospital and comes home. If you’re lucky you’ll be all prepared, and have everything you need. Or so you think. Find your nearest 24 hour supermarket and practice your route there, there will almost definitely be something you need but don’t have – and you won’t know until you need it.
Mostly baby will eat (well drink), sleep, and poo. There will also be periods of crying (possibly all of you), screaming, and the occasional puking. They don’t do much else. Unfortunately they have a knack of doing whichever of these things is most inconvenient for you at the time. The most obvious example of this is the feedings required through the night, you will soon learn on exactly how little sleep you can stay alive. Like the warnings say on some medications, you should not operate heavy machinery in this state.
Maybe other peoples babies are actually the bundles of joy exactly because you can hand them back, all of the cute little benefits but none of the need to experience 2am every night.
But then the little buggers smile at you, and you just know that you’re smitten.