Further father musings

Well, D-day draws ever nearer. Or B-day, I should say. And our pregnancy has been largely uncomplicated it seems (likely because I keep watching extreme pregnancy shows like 29 Cats, 13 Dogs, 27 Kids and Counting My Secret Pregnancy Fat Body).

There have been some worries: we found out that our baby has an abnormal heartbeat this week, for example (it beats like a speeded-up waltz—sort of) but the doc says that this is normal—it will right itself and is nothing to be worried about (I still worry).

Then there’s my concern that I’m somehow not planning properly, or that I’m not pre-bonding, or that I’m not supporting Rebecca enough. Again, this is common for dads-to-be, apparently (so says the pregnancy bible, What to Expect When You’re Expecting) and nothing to be worried about (I still worry).

Apropos of this, the latter fear is a little like a recurring nightmare I used to have: I’d find myself at school (possibly in my dinosaur pajamas or naked) only to find that I have an important exam that day, and have done absolutely no preparation. This, I’ve been led to believe, is also common for insecure people. (And nothing to worry about, nor, ironically, to be insecure about.)

So I do hope I’m baby-prepared; I do know that I am somewhat baby-competent already, having helped a few friends baby-sit here and there over the past 20 years.

So, tick tock: time moves ever onwards, such is its nature. These last fleeting weeks of being just a couple have been increasingly precious. We planned to do so much (the canceled Bali pre-babymoon, for example), but in the end, it’s just being together that counts, be it slumped in bed watching gloomy, clunky US cop shows, or slumped in Starbucks, post-shopping.

I only hope the increase in slumping conserves the time and energy needed for the post-baby chaos.

And on this point, for me there’s been an ongoing and very necessary readjustment of some deeply ingrained personality traits. I am a neatness and routine freak to the point of being obsessive-compulsive. I have my bedtime routine, my waking routine (and more), and a very strong need to be in control of what I am doing, and in my surroundings.

This can lead to antisocial behavior and attitudes: I don’t like people coming into the apartment and neither do I like being in large crowds. I am a man of few friends. I am at my happiest staying in with Rebecca and a cup of tea and a good movie. I turn my phone off at every opportunity and only reluctantly check email.

(How much of this is a converse reaction to some very-hard-partying in my 20s is arguable, and best argued with a shrink or pharmacologist. That said, I do swim and sunbathe and work out: I’m not a hermit, just a loner.)

So having a baby, with all the baby baggage, thousand-strong relatives, chaos, sick and poo and wee, and sleepless nights… All will require some considerable effort on my part—and so it should.

But I am making great strides already, I’m happy to report, at ease as I am now around Rebecca’s family with much-improved language and social skills, and with a sunnier disposition than I’ve had for many a year. I’m also enjoying talking to Rebecca’s tummy.

I am going to miss my “me time,” of course, and we will miss our “us time.” But in April there will only be “we time” for forever more. A daunting thought, but hey: just how hard can it be to be a parent?

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