Any dad who is prepared to be honest will tell you that whilst your partner, her mum, her friend and your sister are all saying ‘Ah, they’re so cute!’ and ‘You just want to hold them all the time’, he is thinking something completely different.
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Your partner has waited all her life to be a mum. They then spend nine months carrying around the baby - rubbing it, talking to it and generally loving it more than you can imagine. From the moment they find out they’re pregnant they are fixated, infatuated and in love. All this whilst you’re busy squeezing every possible ounce of enjoyment out of the freedom slipping fast through your hands.
So it should be no surprise to men that the moment your bundle of joy comes in to the world that you aren’t cooing, you aren’t desperate to hold them every second of the day and you can stop looking at them for more than a minute.
But we never say this, at least most of us don’t. We think it’s wrong, we think people will think we’re cold, unloving or even unhappy. But we’re not, we’re just men. We are different and this is all a shock to us.
While your partner had pregnancy to get to know your baby, love it, care for it and feel responsible for it, you didn’t. You might have talked to the bump or felt a kick, but in reality, you haven’t bonded. That comes once the baby arrives. The minute they come into this world you start that process.
The first thing you feel is responsibility, and that’s good, because for the first few weeks that’s pretty much all you need. You’ll be making bottles, changing nappies and heading to Tesco at 1am to get something you didn’t realise you needed. It’s a job, it’s your new job and you aren’t getting paid for it.
When you’re woken five times through the night for the first time, it’s like torture. It’s like nothing you’ve ever felt – your partner's fine though, she spent the last two months of pregnancy waking up every 20 minutes, preparing. She’s like an athlete – finally tuned over the nine months for everything she's about to face. You’re not. But you get used to it and it gets better as the weeks go on.
And that’s just it, the first few weeks are going to be so tough, you’re not going to have much time or energy for anything. But you’re in training yourself. You’re learning to put someone else first, you’re learning that everything important to you before is no longer even relevant. You’re responsible for this little person and it’s your job to do the best you possibly can for them.
As the weeks turn to months and things settle down you build that bond, you start to love your child for who they are, not just because they’re your baby. You learn what they like, what they don’t and you take the most insane amount of pride in making sure everything is perfect for them. That job you started a few months back is now so much more and you’ll love it. It’s the best thing in the world.