“Stay calm. Breathe. Have a drink. Have two.” –The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
I’m going to tell you something that you may not believe, but I assure you that it is true: Being a dad is fucking awesome. It’s honestly the most fun I’ve ever had. Scoff if you want. I don’t care. I’ve done the partying/bachelor/traveling life. I’m over it. That life pales in comparison to being a dad.
Don’t get me wrong. Debauchery had its own merits. I too once thought that life couldn’t get any better than frequent nights of heavy drinking and chasing anything with two X chromosomes and measurable BAC. I too enjoyed a life of giving precisely zero fucks about tomorrow and having minimal responsibilities. And, I’m glad I lived that life for awhile. It gave me perspective and makes me appreciate what I have now even more so.
If you approach being a dad like I did, with excitement instead of apprehension (or worse, regret), there is no reason you can’t enjoy fatherhood as much as I do. Here are a few tips to get you through.
You Have to Be Her Rock
Unshakeable and steadfast are the qualities you will need for the next 9 months (at least while you are in the presence of the mother of your unborn child). If you have ever spent considerable time with one, then you know. Pregnant women can be a hot mess. They are beyond emotional. The movies aren’t full of shit with that stereotype. I want to make something quite clear right now: THAT IS PERFECTLY OKAY. In fact, if they aren’t, I think that would be cause for concern. They are making a human being with their body. Let’s see you try it.
It’s because of this you have to be the ultimate support system. If she has odd cravings, indulge them (even if it is crab legs, the most fucking expensive pregnant craving I have ever heard of). If she is emotional, comfort her. Be unwavering in your support and confidence (even if the confidence is just a front).
Being “Prepared” Is Largely a Myth
At least for me it was. I read the books, we took the classes, and we had the birth plan. (“Birth plan,” LOL). I don’t really remember any of it. Maybe for you it will be worth it. Give it a shot if you want to. Sure, you can have the nursery ready, and a bunch clothes and other stuff folded neatly and ready to be puked/urinated/pooped on, but readiness is a state of mind as well, and the more important aspect of it. Hopefully for your family’s sake, her pregnancy goes smoothly and the birth is a breeze, but when the doctor told us that they were going to have to immediately cut my wife open because my son wasn’t handling the birth process as he should….. well… I’ve never felt less ready. So yes, have all “things” in place. It is the easy part. But for the emotional rollercoaster you are about to ride right off the end of the tracks, best to have an “I’m just gonna go with the flow” mentality.
Foot rubs are probably going to feel better for her for the next 9 months than sex will. Sorry dude.
She will reach a point where she won’t be able to sleep and will toss and turn all night. There probably won’t be any sleep for you either. If she is ok with letting you sleep somewhere else, you have one hell of a woman. If not, deal with it. Learn to drink coffee if you haven’t already.
Have a “go-for” lined up. I overlooked this. You’re probably not going to want to leave the hospital much after that fact. I was running around like crazy doing errands, taking care of the dog, etc.
When the doctors tell you not to look, BELIEVE THEM..
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