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From The Start

March 21, 2013

Okay, so, a couple of weeks ago I’m having a Wednesday much like any other. I’ve walked the dogs, been food shopping, had a quick tickle round with the hoover; the usual suburban, sub-thrilling routine.  Around 5:00 I pick up my wife from work, bravely and patiently negotiating the 5 minutes of rush hour traffic that exists between here and the hotel car park where I meet her. That’s 5 minutes each way, mind. And on the way there the heater hasn’t got going and the car is a bit cold this time of year. I mean, the steering wheel is positively chilly.1 What can I say? I am a brave soldier of the suburban routine.

Back at home, my wife goes upstairs to get changed while I get started making tea. I briefly wonder what’s taking her so long after about 15 minutes but quickly re-engross myself in the chopping of an onion or some such soon-to-be irrelevant bollocks. When she finally does come down, she says that her period is late and I recognise the look in her eyes. It’s the one she gets when she thinks she needs to ask permission for something she has no need to ask permission for. Or when she wants me to make her a hot chocolate. It doesn’t really seem like the time for hot chocolate, though, and anway she’ll spoil her tea. In a flurry of BBC’s Sherlockian realisation (complete with artful on screen typography) I quickly deduce that she’s wondering if it might be time to take a pregnancy test, and my immediate internal reaction is something along the lines of “Nonono it’s too early too short notice and I’m not ready and neither should you be and let’s just think about it for 6 or 7 months and then maybe take a test if we feel ready then.” 2 I begin to vocalise this tried and true delaying impulse into something along the lines of “Okay, well maybe we should wait a few more days to be sure and then take a test”, but by then it’s too late, she’s raising her hand, and in her hand is a Boots pregnancy test in fetching white and purple plastic, and in the windows of the test are two vertical lines, and the helpful writing along the side says that means pregnant.

OH SHI-

Note extremely faint line. It was actually a fair bit more visible than this, but has faded even more in the time it took me to get around to starting this blog.

And as quickly and simply as that, everything is different. It doesn’t matter that, of course, my brain is flicking through every possible reason and permutation of why and how the test I’m looking at could be wrong, and the fact that the line is pretty faint and maybe it’s best not to get too excited yet. And in the moments after I see that test all of this is crashing through my head in place of anything else. And I don’t react like I thought I would. Having pictured this moment in my head thousands of times, I imagined euphoria, not disbelief, tension. Fear. Not fear that it was true; fear that it wasn’t. This is something I really want. We’ve been trying for a few months. I feel ready for it. I don’t think I particularly have the sort of life that’s going to be cramped too much by having kids (I know, I know. So naïve). I want the change. I want fatherhood. And yet, when it seems like it’s happening I pretty much just freeze.

And so my reaction is muted. My wife admits that, in the same way I did, she thought my response would be more positive. More cinematic. A whoop perhaps, or a laughing lift and twirl. But I am a worrier, I suppose; a pessimist, a worst case scenario type of person, at least when it comes to things I want. In the moment, I’m not fully in the moment. It’s not a huge deal. It just didn’t happen how I’d expected. It’s all a rush in my head that barely makes sense. I never miss an opportunity to think something to death.

Later, lying in bed, I’m trying to read and unsurprisingly failing. For some reason I keep breaking out into laughter. Every few seconds, spontaneous little boy giggling, stopping and starting again. I know what’s making me laugh, I suppose, but I don’t know why. It’s all too much. Everything is different whether I believe it or not.

2 weeks on, it’s all starting to feel more real. Things are happening. There are preparations to make, appointments to attend, people to tell. Everything’s different. But I’ll get to that.

1I’ve briefly considered driving gloves. But let’s not topload this first blog post with too many of the spicier details of my private life. That particular hot tamale is best saved for an entry all of its own, I think. [Back]
2This is my reaction to most suggestions that involve doing something scary (which, to me, is nearly everything). Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow seems to be my credo. It hasn’t worked for me so far. I might think about changing my attitude at some point. But not today. [Back]

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6 Comments
  1. Good luck to both of you on the journey that lies ahead. Blogging’s a great way to capture the adventure and to engage with fellow dads out there. (I have three kids aged between 5 years and 10 months.) Keep it up – it’s great to have the record to look back upon too, as the memories soon blur.

    • Thanks Tim. Thought now was a great chance to start blogging and will be doing my best to keep it up! Definitely one of my main motivations is to have it all written down as a record of the experience.

  2. I wish I’d started my blog at this point, and thanks for inspiring my latest post. All the best for the amazing journey ahead.

  3. CONGRATULATIONS! Hold on tight, the ride is just revving up….

    Px

    • Thanks Penny! First midwife appointment today provided we can make it through the snow. Mad excited.

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