Sunday, July 17, 2011


I've been reading some articles focusing on dads-to-be, and I'm concerned about the popular notion that we're not very bright or capable of handling what's about to be delivered into our world. Is it because I don't have a uterus and vagina? Does my wife have more credibility and parenting know-how because she has to carry our child in her womb for 9 months? Would I gain more respect and cred if during the same period I carried an assortment of produce that grew in size and shape?

I get that there are a lot of things I can't experience during the pregnancy, and I totally respect and admire my wife for what she has to go through in order to bring our child into the world. Biological law declares that I have a 9 month waiting period after "registering" for a child permit, so I can't begin bonding with him/her until then. And while my wife doesn't feel anything at week 16 (4 months in non-pregnant speak), she will eventually begin to experience the baby moving, kicking and redecorating her uterus. The bond and love she will have for our child will take shape much sooner than mine will, and I have to play catch up once the due date arrives.

This is our first pregnancy, and neither of us had any experience with babies growing up or in our adult lives until now. Yet the popular belief is that my wife will excel at parenting while I lag behind. Many commercials and TV shows predict that I'll be aloof and unfamiliar with what our child "really needs," while my wife will show up at the height of my mischief or mistake with the correct product or thing to do to save our child from my stupidity. Apparently there is some higher form of parenting osmosis that goes on during pregnancy and delivery that gives my wife a PhD in baby care. Perhaps I should start looking for night classes at a local community college to gain some basic competency.

To be honest, I don't think either of us are ready for what's about to happen. Sure we have some ideas, but we won't know until the baby is here and we get our hands dirty (literally). Up to this point, we've only had to take care of each other and two dogs. We haven't really had to do the kind of nurturing involved with being a parent, and we might suck at it. Does it scare me? More than you could imagine. I don't think it will be easy, and it will test us in new ways. But I'm confident that we can do this together. It took both of us to create this thing, and it will take us both to care for and guide it as it grows.

So what should I be doing while our bun is baking in the oven? According to this list I should do things like honor her mood changes, not ask her to "hold it," not expose her to bright light or feed her after midnight (I added those last two). I already do most of those things, but I'm so happy that someone made a list for me to keep handy when I forget them! Or maybe I should take the simple advice of the guy below. He seems to know what he's talking about, although he's a guy, so shouldn't we question his authority on this subject?