At around the 30-week point, after rather a lot of persuasion from my siblings I decided I was finally going to have to tell my parents. Otherwise they were going to get a bit of shock when I waltzed through door one day with a sprog in my arms asking them to babysit! I wasn’t really sure how to go about it, but an opportunity presented itself one Saturday morning over breakfast when I was spending the weekend at their house. I hadn’t planned on letting it slip over morning tea, but I’d come downstairs to find the two of them talking about my brother and his child. (My younger brother had already had a baby with his girlfriend about a year prior to Darcy’s mother falling pregnant, despite the fact that he and his girlfriend had been together for six years it was still a subject of angst for my mother who thought he was too young. Although it was still going to be considerably more accepted than me knocking up a random woman they’d never met). I took this moment in the middle of their discussion to say the following sentence:
“I need to tell you something and you’re probably going to want to sit down”. Now, I don’t know why I do it, probably because I’m a berk, but whenever I have to deliver ‘bad’ news I cannot help but have a massive grin on my face. Given the amount of times they’ve heard this sentence from me in the past, followed by something god-awful, I cannot imagine the amount of initial dread it must have brought on for my parents. However, due to the nature of the conversation they were having previously, my Mother didn’t take long to work out what my news was and promptly burst into tears uttering something nonsensical about having ‘lots of illegitimate grandchildren’. My Dad, a man of few words, said nothing at all. After the initial hysteria had worn off, I was able to do my best to discuss it with them. I knew it was never going to be something I could sell to them straight away. So if this happens to you, my advice is give it a month or so to settle in. When they hold the kid for the first time, believe me they won’t give a toss how it got there, they will have a goofy smile sewn on their face either way!
As all women are different, it is difficult to generalise when it comes to pregnancy. Some women experience morning sickness, which despite the name, doesn’t necessarily happen in the morning. Just lots of chundering and dry heaving, not a great deal you can do here, could rub the odd back or attempt to hold her hair – do not blame me if you get bitten, pregnant women are unpredictable! As you progress through the pregnancy you will find you have more interaction with the midwives. Take all the advice you can and act on it – they know what they are talking about. You will be encouraged to attend various ante-natal classes and parenting groups. Now I am sure the thought of sitting around with other would-be parents pretending to wrap fake babies in blankets is enough to make your skin crawl, and some of it is bollocks and nothing you can’t learn by doing, but some of it is worth the time. The first aid for babies’ course is definitely worth doing, some of the content is certainly not common knowledge and could save your child some serious injuries. For example, during the first few weeks of their lives, babies are so sensitive to temperature that a radiator that might seem warm to the touch for an adult, could burn a baby – as I said, things you wouldn’t think of. As for the other courses, you may have to compromise, if your partner is nervous about the baby and wants to go, best you go, it could save you some depression at the other end if she feels more prepared and less panicked.
The last few weeks of the pregnancy are when you dads need to be on the ball. And above all else, regardless of the situation, regardless of the rationality or reason, just do what you’re told. I cannot stress this enough, whatever her request, just get on with it. If things are starting to overrun, and your wife/partner has read somewhere that sex will speed things up, just do it. Contrary to what you might think – your baby wont have a clue whats going on. If you think your baby is going to get ‘prodded’ think again, unless you’re an elephant, junior will be none the wiser!
The morning I got the call to say it was game time, I was laying in my pit in an army block, thinking about breakfast. I was excited, but I’m not going to lie, I was also hungry. Darcy’s mother had informed me that she was being taken to hospital but things looked like they could take a while, so like any man would, I went and got a Full English.