14 Life-Changing Things I've Learned Since Finding Out I'm Going To Be An Actual DAD
Happy Father's Day, fellow pops!
This was a particularly exciting Father's Day for me.
My partner, Amy, is 22 weeks pregnant – and as a devoted member of the dads-to-be club, I'm an excited WRECK of a person.
Today was a chance to reflect not only on what's ahead, but also the things I've copped on to since we first found out what was coming down the line. So, for the day that's in it, here ye go...
1. You CAN actually recognise your baby in a scan
I always thought those images were just fuzzy, staticky mush – whenever someone posted one on Facebook, or forced me to look at one for real, I just saw black, white and medical markings.
But no. You can actually see a baby amidst all the madness. And if it's yours, you're damn sure that it's the most amazing, good-looking and talented blurry baby you've ever seen in your damn life.
2. Current affairs becomes one big name game
Whatever happens in the world, you use as namespiration.
Hillary wins the Democratic primary? LET'S CALL HER HILLARY! Wes Hoolahan sticks the ball in the Swedish net? LET'S CALL HIM WES!
That said, this is to be approached with caution – when my sister was born during the 1996 Olympics, while a certain Irish swimmer was making her mark on the world, a nurse looked at my mum and asked her: "Will you call her Michelle?"
Thankfully, we did not.
3. Unpasteurised cheeses are EVERYWHERE
I never knew before we started this crazy journey, but most soft cheeses and all blue cheeses are off-limits to pregnant women – as well as uncooked fish, and a whole variety of other foods.
As with anything, you don't realise how prevalent these things are until they suddenly become off-limits. And boy, are they hard to avoid.
4. Our health system is not perfect – but we're blessed to have it all the same
Ireland is not, as some would try and have you believe, the safest place in the world to give birth.
But our experiences so far with the public health system, during routine visits and emergency scans alike, have left us in awe of the amazing people who staff it and run it – so credit where it's due.
5. Announcements are absolute GOLD for likes on Facebook
HEY, don't judge, okay?
Sure it sounds superficial and shallow and... okay, yeah, I'm probably the worst human of all time.
6. Buggies are an actual science
A few weeks ago, I didn't even know the difference between a buggy, a pushchair and a pram.
Now, I realise that there's more to choosing a buggy than there is to choosing a car. And it's not a great deal less expensive either.
7. Milk making machines are the swishest piece of kitchen kit I'll never own
One of the first people I told about the impending arrival was my boss, and our Lovin Group head honcho, Graham.
His first and foremost piece of advice? Don't throw your money away at the rubbish gadgets you're only ever going to use once – if at all.
Now if Graham told me the sky was green, I'd believe him, such is my implicit trust in all he says. So naturally, I took this on board at the time...
Then, however, I came across these UNREAL formula-making machines in Mothercare that are basically like Nespresso machines for babies. And I have never wanted anything more in my life.
8. Paranoia sets in... and makes you REALLY annoying
Amy, my partner, has managed to make her way through the world with little or no hassle for 30 years – she's responsible, savvy, streetwise, and generally able to handle whatever life throws at her.
And yet, whenever she crosses a road/walks upstairs in our house/gets in the car/goes to make tea, I become a paranoid and annoyingly protective wreck.
Which is great fun for everyone, really.
9. You spend a lot of time hoping that the world of our youth is dead and gone
Please tell me Baby Wesley isn't still a thing?
10. Morning sickness is all-day sickness
And it's possible, apparently, to be nauseous AND hungry all at once. Meaning your partner may need a sick bucket AND a sandwich.
Better learn to multitask.
11. Baby product marketing is ruthless
And it can be defined in three letters: FFS.
Fear: "What's that? You don't want to buy the €1,000 pram and you want to get something for a mere €600 instead that will DISINTEGRATE WHILE YOU CROSS THE ROAD? Okay so. You do that."
Freedom: "This product will allow you to live the life you've already known, just with a baby in tow – attach this coffee cup holder to your buggy, and it will be like you don't even HAVE a baby!"
Style: "Well, you want to look cool amid all the other dads, don't you? Don't you?"
12. Father’s Day is another day for PRESENTS
And that's what's really important here, right?
13. Sometimes, things go wrong...
We've already had one panicked drive to Holles Street, followed by an emergency scan where we feared we'd lost the baby. It's horrible, it's gut-wrenching, it's terrifying, and it's a part of the process that nobody really tells you about.
14. ... but both you, and your partner, have strength that you never really thought existed
And even those scary moments ultimately serve one purpose above all else: to remind you how much you absolve LOVE this black-and-white blur that you haven't yet met – but who you already live for.
Which is lovely, really.