Dear New Dad,
Firstly, congratulations! Expecting your first child is a really crazy time in your life, but I know you and your baby mama are rocking it because you’ve got one another.
And I know – your woman’s been needing you. Like, really needing you and it can be a confusing and exhausting task anticipating what she may do or say next.
It all began for you when she peed in the public washrooms at the mall food court. When she came out ten minutes later her blank face gave you the verdict your sweaty palms and pits were expecting, but just in case there was any doubt, she showed you the piss sticks she had shoved in her coat pockets as proof. As you hugged her in silence, your mouth dry and pasty, you paid attention to the way your two torsos were touching for the very first time – to the three of you knowingly embracing for the very first time.
That hug changed forever who she was to you – she was no longer just the girl you fell for after she drunkenly spilled an entire bag of basmati rice on your kitchen floor at your Halloween party four years ago. She wasn’t just the girl who hums the Thong Song on loop in her head, while the two of you pick out chocolate bars at the grocery store, pay for popcorn at the movies or sit in bed reading. She wasn’t just your loving girlfriend anymore, she was the mother of your child.
And now she’s telling you you’re squeezing her chest too hard as she sobs about her sore pregnant boobs.
The next few weeks pass quickly for you, as you had gotten used to the routine that is making supper each night while she sprawled napping on the couch. As you had heard fourteen times, you weren’t to include ground beef, eggs, chicken or sausage for any reason unless you wanted to be stabbed in your sleep, as those things were sure to make her barf by smell alone. When she barfed anyway, she blamed you. Even though she’d only eaten plain lettuce. She grumbled while the two of you perched side by side at the toilet for the two hundredth time.
That night, as in other nights, she bolted upright in her sleep after another fucked up dream. This time, you were screwing her sister. The last time, you watched someone set her childhood home on fire. You reminded her it was only a dream, but she rolled over and took all the blankets for herself and called you an asshole. You put on a sweater and went back to bed.
Soon you guys were announcing the pregnancy, and you no longer had instruction from your lady about lying to your boss, your coworkers, your friends and family about sharing the most important all-encompassing thing going on in your life, ever, so that was good times. She was relieved to have gotten through the vomit-palooza that is the first trimester, and became a passionate consumer of pickled beets and heavenly hash ice cream, at tandem, so your new routine was to keep those items in her view.
When she made it to 20 weeks you finally got to see your baby at the ultrasound. It was 8am and you were placed in a dark room, processing for the first time, that real, live, moving alien-like thing growing in your girlfriend’s body, with an insanely large head, little nubbins for hands and noodly crossed legs. Your tech took the measurements in silence and congratulated you on your good looking baby. And with that, she was crying. Hard. You moved in close and you held her hand, and she kissed you, long and hard, in the hospital elevator like you were stars in Grey’s Anatomy.
By now she had convinced you to watch American Idol each week, although you despise it, because she swore it was the only thing that would make the baby kick. When you felt it for the first time you gasped and pulled your hand away in shock. This was a large mistake, and you got the silent treatment for the rest of the night while she sat beside you helping herself to the lunch you had packed for yourself for the next work day.
Suddenly it was the third trimester and you had a house full of plastic machinery and your sister had dropped off four entire garbage bags of baby clothes that you had to stack in the corner of your converted den. It was your job to sort through the shit stained sleepers, and to put together the crib. And no, she said she couldn’t help because her back was sore, her feet hurt, her belly skin was too stretched and her brain too tired to make her hands work.
Dear New Dad, I know this pregnancy has been a long journey for you, as you have had to make nice with this new strange woman you now share a home with. I know she’s been demanding of you and she probably doesn’t say thank you.
I know that sometimes you feel like she’s gone crazy.
But here’s the thing: she’s feeling crazy, too. So your job is to nurture the shit out of her, as you have, and to do it with a smile. Because this time in her life, as foreign as it is to you, is chaotic, confusing, beautiful, horrifying, heavy and happy for her.
As scary as it is for you, she is walking around in a skin she no longer recognizes, her blood surging with molotov cocktails of hormones she cannot control.
From the one that caused that plus sign on the piss stick nine months ago and made her barf morning, noon and night, to the one that made her nose run for three months straight right when you needed to be putting in more hours at work.
To the one that made her dizzy every time she stood up by lowering her blood pressure, and then gave her the delightful afternoon delight that is perpetual heartburn, reflux and yes – uncontrollable farts.
Finally, there was the one that made her eat like a trucker and get spider veins, just like her grandmother’s, though she reminded you through tears, she’s only 26 years old.
Her teeth are sore, she’s got black hair on her belly and her shoes don’t fit now either.
So she’s a mess, some days, yes. She’s moody as hell. But Dear New Dad, this is your time to shine. Because within a matter of weeks, she is going to morph yet again. She is going to take your breath away, and she’s going to make you weak in the knees. She will give you goosebumps from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. She is about to blow your mind with her strength, her power and her determination to birth your child. She is about to become an absolute goddess as she moves your baby through her body. She is going to nourish your child, whose very flesh she created and bones she built, with the milk created by her to be exactly that which your child needs. She is going to change every piece of your being as you bear witness to a miracle.
Your hormonal pregnant girlfriend is evolving to become something she’s never been before, while trying to savour all that she has left of the only life she has ever known- and that, is the ride they call pregnancy.
New Dad, you got this.