So life as a father of a fetus is a lot more stressful and time consuming than I expected it to be. Just like marriage and black people, I've gotten all of my information about pregnancy and the associated male experience from sit-coms. I've always assume all I'd have to do is get up in the middle of the night to run to the store for the ingredients for a barbeque flavored potato chips milkshake and to totally freak out in hilarious fashion when the big moment finally comes.
And so I practiced. I got pretty good I think. I had forgetting my wife in the car at the hospital down to a science.
But then I realized I didn't have to do any of that.
Actually so far, I haven't really had to do much. And I think that's the hardest part of the whole thing.
The one thing I've had to do is serve as a back rest for my wife while she lays on her side because her stomach crushes her intestines and makes her fart if she lays on her back. So she's taken to sleeping on her side. But our mattress sucks and kind of folds in on itself, which causes my wife to flop back on to her back during the night like a over-turned turtle on the side of the road: tragically helpless, in a slightly comical way.
This is where I come in. If I sleep crammed right up against my wife, I can keep her propped up in the correct position. This is awesome for me because I get to contribute to making a better gestation environment for my child and sleep at the same time.
Beyond that and trying really hard to learn the Chinese words for contraction and placenta so I can translate for her parents when the big day comes.
Unfortunately, I don't have much else I can do. I just sit there, muttering reassuring words while my wife does whatever it is women do that lets a baby grow inside of them.
Which apparently is a very complicated, time-consuming and painful process. It breaks my heart to see my wife as uncomfortable as she is. It hurts even more when I realize that we're not even to the “fun” part yet.
This does mean we're also too far away for me to be doing anything. No nursery to put together, stairs to baby proof or anything yet. So I just spend a lot of time wandering my house, looking for something broken to fix or something bug-like to kill. Anything productive but manly.
Mostly though, I just tell my wife that she's awesome and that I love her. It's not much, but it's all I have.
I suppose this is all part of the experience. I think having to sit back and watch my wife suffer through a hardship that I am completely powerless to help her with is a challenge that I'd suppose to face. Something to help me become a better father.
My kids will have problems that I will be unable to fix or endure for them. When my son breaks his a arm, all my understand of circuitry and electronics will be worthless. My daughter's broken heart can not be put back together with duct tape. If I'm to be a father – more than a father, a dad – I need to learn that some times all you can do for the person you love is listen and then say you're there for them.
That, and truly mean it.
I think this is why men can't get pregnant, we have more important lessons to learn before we can have kids.
This is why I can't imagine being one of those lesbian couples who want to have baby so one of the women carries the child while the other just offers support. I cannot imagine what my wife would do to me if she was in this state and I wasn't just because I'd called “heads.”
Steve Shinney is learning all kinds of neat things, like the fact that five-alarm chili is not good for babies. Comments and more info can be given below.