There are two points in a man’s life that bring more change than any others before them. The first is when he hears his fiancée say, “I will”, and the second is when his new wife says, “I’m pregnant”. The first situation is carefully planned out months ahead of time and the answer is expected. The second situation, no matter how imminent, always comes as an absolute shock to any new husband. There is nothing quite like the nine months that will follow, and the ensuing roller coaster is worthy of elaboration.
Upon hearing those two life-changing words, thoughts of fear and doubt instantly rushed into my head. I couldn’t believe it at all, and I made my wife show me the pregnancy test results to prove it. I was scared to death as I wondered how on Earth I could ever raise and provide for a child. I don’t think I have ever felt so completely inadequate. I knew the task before me was enormous and I had no idea where to even begin. Yet, I had to conceal my fear. There is nothing that destroys one’s feelings of manliness more than admitting to being afraid.
Conversely, my wife, who has prepared to be a mother ever since her conception, was nothing but smiles and pure bliss. She couldn’t have been more pleased, and I had to play along. I had to constantly remind myself that this was of course what I had always wanted. I was positive on the outside for my wife, and I still don’t know how I didn’t show evidence of the tempest of fear and doubt raging inside of me. Needless to say, the initial stage of pregnancy was not an easy one for me. However, luckily for me, it quickly progressed.
After a few short days, my impulsive fears gave way to a new attitude. This new stage was very much in alignment with my procrastinating tendencies. I made myself believe that nine months was an eternity, and it was okay to be completely unprepared at this point. I had plenty of time to learn how to be a father! Besides, pregnancy was easy. It didn’t even seem real as my wife hadn’t yet begun to show. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the miracle taking place, so it was rather easy to dismiss the whole thing as some far-off fantasy.
That was my state of being for most of the pregnancy. I wasn’t concerned whatsoever with my apparent inabilities to be a father, as I had plenty of time to learn. My life hadn’t really changed. Besides the size of my wife’s stomach and a few strange mood swings, life was status quo. This was a strange stage of pregnancy for me because my wife’s life had changed so drastically in a way that I could never comprehend, and yet all I could do was listen to her attempts to explain it. This was the longest stage of the pregnancy for me, but it eventually came to a successful end.
About one month before the due date, a new wave of fear and doubt hit as I realized that D-day was fast approaching. This time, luckily, my fears were much more easily dispelled. Without even noticing, I had been preparing over the last eight months. I had been learning how to be father, and I had a foreign sense of confidence. I realized the confidence wasn’t coming from me, but rather from my wife. Seeing how flawlessly she dealt with eight grueling months of pregnancy convinced me that, as a team, we could handle anything. My wife knew everything about pregnancy, birth, and babies, and she had slowly been teaching me. This marvelous performance of the dual roles of instructing me and nurturing our child was nothing short of awe-inspiring. And it was all done under the guise of humility without me even realizing. I now understood that with this incredible teacher, I was prepared for anything.
To be continued…