of the Six-month Stage
By Kingsley Jones
It’s about now that I realise that I know absolutely nothing about babies, nappies, birth, or how not to kill them in the first few days or weeks.It’s a sobering thought.
Quite literally, as I sip a beer with a friend, and hear the joke “oh well you’ve done your fifteen seconds of effort to make a kid” yet again. I’ve heard that joke about twenty times now, and it’s wearing thin, but at least this friend rates my performance as breaching the ten second barrier, which is more than most of my supportive mates.
So, it’s off to the gynaecologist for the ‘all important’ six month scan. I sit with my wife in the waiting room, looking blankly at the posters on the walls of new mothers cradling their children. There are no fathers in the pictures. My frazzled brain focuses for a minute, and I consider the pregnancy so far. I wanted it, perhaps more than my wife, but she’s going through nine long months of hell. Then my pregnancy-filled brain wanders. Would a really pregnant woman break through one of the worn wicker chairs in the doctor’s office and get stuck? How did a fat man with sausage fingers ever consider gynaecology as a career in the first place?
I swear if another doctor tells me “mais, c’est tout normale”, I will hit him. Can he not see that my once beautiful wife is waddling like a duck, and that her stomach looks like an alien is about to erupt out of it? Oh wait, yes it is, just like the Sigourney Weaver film. Tout est blatantly not normale.
Then the questions start again in my head. I’m not the greatest fan of picking up my dog’s turd when he’s in the park. How the hell am I going to cope and scoop up nappies full of poop? Friends who are new parents haven’t helped, with stories of when dear little Johnny was covered in it from his bottom up to his shoulders. Oh brilliant, what have I done?
The sixth month mark is, perhaps, the scariest so far for me. I imagine in the labour room, I’ll feel helpless and terrified, but I’ll be surrounded by medical staff who’ve seen it a thousand times before. It’s now, for the first time, that I’m faced with the worries that this really is going to happen. Sure, you consider it after the ‘fifteen seconds of effort’, when you first discover that your wife is pregnant, but every mental image I had was playing with a toddler, paddling in streams, and learning to ride a bike.
Never was it of me getting up at three in the morning to attempt to calm a wailing baby that I didn’t know if she was dying, bored or just hungry.
Who is going to teach me all this stuff? And in three months time, who is going to take the responsibility for letting me carry a baby out of the hospital doors, without a clue of what to do?
Comments of “oh you’ll learn” and “it’s instinctive” make me break out in a cold sweat. I’ve never held a baby in my life, and would be terrified of dropping or breaking it or something.
Six months really is the reality check when you know that against all odds the sperm that was released during your fifteen seconds is actually going to bring a child into the world, and you realise that most of all you really should have at least tried to break the one-minute barrier at conception, because the phenomenal lack of sex recently is going to mean the first sex after birth is going to make my mates' jibes all too true.