Whatever happened to pacing up and down the corridor, a big stogie poking out of the breast pocket in readiness for a celebratory smoke after the happy event? I blame the 60s: those hippies going gooey over ‘the miracle of birth’. (Move away from the joint, dude, that’s what I say.) That and King Louis the somethingth-or-otherth of France who, keen to get a view of the, erm, proceedings, had his Queen lie on her back, as opposed to the more natural squatting position. So at least, among all your squeamishness, there is an upside: you get to blame the French.
It’s the unwritten 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Attend The Birth Of Your Child. Pulling a sickie is not on the birth plan. Oh, you’ve got tickets for the Cup Final, have you? And your team hasn’t won the Cup since 1991? Tough dung, buster. And no-one will believe that the dog ate the birth plan so, no, you can’t be excused.
But what, you ask, if I faint at the sight of blood? What if I throw up? Here’s one tip: at the birth, just sit on the side of her weaker hand – any blow she lands on you should have trouble drawing blood. Indeed, this is good advice for life, let alone childbirth.
Still worried about pain? So you should be. There is a period of the labour known as transition – or ‘The Zone’ – during which you may well find your partner’s fingers meeting behind your Adam’s apple as she clasps you, viciously yet lovingly, by the throat and bellows words that, these days, would get her ejected from a football match. The chances are this will cause you a great deal of pain.
- What your partner can do during labour
- Dad’s story – sex with your pregnant partner
- Dad’s story – being a baby bore
Rationalise it by adding it all up: sick, blood, pain, losing consciousness. Don’t try to tell me that at least one of those doesn’t feature in the aftermath of – if not during – your average night out. Looked at like that, it doesn’t seem too bad, does it? Now, just one extra tiny mental gearshift will cure your fear for good. Move your thoughts away from the Y-word – ‘You’ – and on to your partner.
It’s an old chestnut, this, but it works. Take your mind off what you are worried about. Your partner will certainly appreciate it. Just a slight shift of focus and Bob’s your uncle, you’re a dad. After all, it would be a shame to besmirch your birthday with a whole load of unnecessary worries, wouldn’t it?
Hang on: don’t I mean your child’s birthday? Nope. I mean yours. Because this, as those aforementioned hippies were so fond of saying, is the first day of the rest of your life. You’ve just been killing time until this point. This is where the good stuff really begins. And it would be a pity to miss the first day of the rest of your life, wouldn’t it? Perhaps, like me, you’ll even emerge so changed, so enhanced, so unrecognisable from the antenatal wimp that you once were that you’ll even consider eating the placenta. Be sure to email me your recipes.
- 43% of new dads admit that they rarely or never get up in the night to comfort their crying baby.
- 36% of new dads have taken their parents’ side – rather than their partner’s – on the best way to care for the little one.
- 57% of new dads feel their partners are more skilled at looking after their baby than them