Archive for October, 2007

The pregnancy books
October 21, 2007

Angie promptly went out and bought herself a couple of books. Self-study on the expected changes to come. Also a journal which includes useful information and place for the pregnant person to write her thoughts.

I don’t have a book.

Technically those two books also belong to me, but I’m not expected to add my thoughts to the pregnancy companion. I think it would be frowned upon.
The other book is a little more welcoming. One only has to turn to the contents page to find an image including a male. A section on “Your partner’s role in conception” follows soon after, accompanied by pictures of enthusiastically swimming spermatozoa. Elsewhere the book discusses “How your partner may feel” and it has one of those highlighted boxes asking “What is he thinking?” There are a few references to fathers in the index.
It’s pretty clear though that the book is targeted at the mother. References to the father or partner are there to make sure the mother knows what to expect, more than to guide the father. Your Pregnancy Week by Week doesn’t talk to me about my pregnancy, so this seems to indicate that the pregnancy belongs to someone else. I guessing it’s the mother. That the book addresses the mother’s concerns isn’t a bad thing, it just doesn’t help me much. Rather, it increased my state of low grade terror.

The low grade terror was spurred on by me following the indexed reference to “fathers — birth partner’s role”
It led me to two alarming sections in the book. The first, “Your birth partner’s role” (during the first stage of labour), ended with the assertion that “it is also important for your partner to try not to let his fear and anxiety show.”
Oh crap! So far my score on that front is FAIL! and we are nowhere near the first stage of labour. I feel like birth partners need partners, but I don’t think we get any. I need to improve my score on this front.
The second terrormonger was the section on “Second & Third Stages” (of labour). It wasn’t so much the part describing the partner’s role. That required physical support, and I figure I can pull that off. The alarming bit was further on in the chapter.

Episiotomies and Tears.

Tears during labour. Sounds bad. Episiotomies? What are they? Oh, deliberate incisions to prevent uncontrolled tears. Or in other words, controlled tears. What!! This whole reproduction thing is woefully designed. Intercourse and conception seems to have been thought out fairly well, but did the Great Designer lose concentration towards the end? Perhaps he rushed the final stages of putting together human reproduction because he didn’t want to miss the next Big Buddha contestant being voted off (exclusive to DeiTV)?

Basically, this additional information has added a feeling of Guilt to my collection of unhelpful emotions, featuring Fear and Anxiety. If I didn’t make her pregnant, there’s no way any of that tearing stuff would be going down.

To be fair there are quite a few books targeted at expecting fathers — I just don’t have one, but nothing stops me from going out and buying one. These books may handle things like episiotomies differently and in a manner I feel is less disturbing. However, they do have titles like “My Boys can Swim!” Not sure it strikes the right tone for me.

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The journey begins
October 19, 2007

and I feel a little frightened.

We found out last Thursday that Angie is pregnant.  She woke up feeling nauseous and vomited in the toilet. It was a little suspicious. Nothing dubious had been consumed the previous night.

She dropped me at work and promptly went off to get a home pregnancy kit. I received an energetic phone call soon afterwards. She was bouncy, excited, ecstatic. We’ve been trying for a baby since the end of February and each month is normally met with a great deal of disappointment. The disappointment would hit Angie really hard, but I always found myself less distraught than she appeared to be. The doctor had told her that there was nothing wrong and that there might only be a problem after a year of trying since removing the loop.
My perspective was that everything was still well within normal operating parameters. Angie’s perspective was that having a baby was a goal or a target she had set for herself, and she always achieved goals. Thus no positive sign of pregnancy equalled FAILURE.

Failure no more. My immediate response was more one of flailing alarm, with undertones of excitement and optimism. At the forefront was flailing alarm though.

I suppose it is not surprising that flailing alarm was not the reaction Angie expected of me. I think I came across excited on the phone, but in my gut was an uneasy, unsettled churning.
She came to the office and was all silly grins and overflowing mirth, waving around the home test kit with its double-band indicating a positive result. I struggled to swim in the deluge of her happiness.

It’s not because I wasn’t happy. I was. I am. This has been a completely planned pregnancy. It’s just that I hadn’t properly considered the implications of being a father. Or rather I had, but there was no defined timeframe to performing fathering duties. Now there is and nine months seems a woefully inadequate period of time to get everything in order — and there is a shitload to organise.
Angie told me that she wished the pregnancy would last just two months so the baby would be here faster.

Like I said, I’m a little frightened. Am I capable of bringing up a child competently? Certainly any idiot can raise a child, but idiots don’t do a very good job. I don’t think I’m an idiot, but I fear (hopefully irrationally) that I’ll be an idiot father.
Can I afford all of the child-related expenses? The answers is yes, but I still worry.
Can we afford a bigger house with a garden for the kid to play in? I hope the answer is yes.
I’m worrying about other things too, but they are all related to the child being born. And that’s sort of a worry too. Does the father have a purpose until childbirth? It doesn’t entirely feel like he does. The baby is under construction in Angie, and my part in that construction process was really only in the design phase.
Genetic material provided. Thank you for your interest. You are now excused.

Despite my fear and uncertainty, I’m going to be a daddy. How cool is that? It kicks ass, that’s how cool!