For the aspiring father-to-be the birth of your child represents the culmination of months of effort. Assuming that conception is relatively simple (and spectacular – obviously) you’ve spent the last nine or so months preparing bedrooms, choosing prams, picking names and generally altering the direction and possessions of your life for the new family entrant. It’s exciting knowing that a little person is coming into your family, someone who you can play with, run around with, teach to high-five, kick a football and scare the boyfriends of.
The excitement (I’m sure that’s what my wife was – excited) peaks at the point of birth, where in that one moment, something blue appears, that turns pink, maybe cries a bit and then lies on its mother, soothed by the combination of pheromones and colostrum. You’ll stare in wonder at the amazing thing your wife has just done, maybe cry (a bit) and after a few hours later you’ll be home, shattered, excited… happy.
It’s when you get the baby home that the reality of it all hits home. Sure they cry a bit (sometimes a LOT), they’re unaware of your need for at least 6 quality hours of sleep a night (and a sleep in on weekends) and they’re a bit of a passion killer but that’s not what I’m talking about. No, I’m talking about the endless, repetitive, continuous, never-ending boooooooooredom.
Feed, change, feed, change, sleep, wake, tap-tap-tap, sleep, repeat. Over and over and over again. That’s a newborns life. For weeks!!! WEEKS!!!
Second time around I’m a bit more prepared. I know that it’s normal. It’s the really tough bit where you put in a lot and get very little back. I’m also much more aware of the other person who can’t escape to work or take the Miss 2.5 out for an adventure so she (we) can blow of some steam. That person is destined to spend a few more weeks, stuck to the couch whilst Miss ver 2.0 literally sucks the life out of her. The first time however, I was a little bit, well, disappointed.
I fully expected to bring my first little girl home and sit on the couch with her, tickling, playing and cooing, a proper nappy advertisement. Instead I learned that no sooner had she woken up and had a feed, that she was off to bed again. For a Dad that can barely sit still at the best of times, this was a pretty tough to get used to. In fact, hard to believe as it may be, I actually became a bit cranky and hard to get along with about it.
Thinking back, I was probably a bit put out by my demotion down the attention pecking order. I was also comparing our new-born to other people’s three, six or even nine month old babies; something I now know was a bit dumb but at the time, I had nothing else to compare to. The problem was, by getting frustrated I was probably not as supportive of my wife’s situation (new baby, no idea) as I could have been which made a steep learning curve all the more difficult.
So, if you’re a new dad-to-be, chill out. Trust me, before you know it your bundle of nerves, farts, impulses and bodily fluids will be running away from you in the supermarket, tearing boxes of shelves and squeezing fruit till it pops. In the mean time try to enjoy the little moments where it looks at you and smiles.
For new mums, mums with new ones or mums to be – your partner may occasionally act like a bit of a dick but don’t take it too personally. He’s probably trying to figure out where he fits and why the little thing can’t catch yet.
So, how was your first? How was your partner and your first? Any tips for Dad’s to be in those first few weeks?
It’s Tuesday which means I’ll be sharing with Jess over at essentiallyjess.com.
- You and Your Newborn Baby – Ways for Dad to Bond (everydayfamily.com)
- Preparing for Fatherhood – Becoming A Dad For The First Time (everydayfamily.com)