We've made it to February folks and not much has changed in regards to this whole lockdown situation. If I were a betting man, I'd be betting that I won't see my family or friends until after the baby is born. The due date is the 1st of April remember.
But, it got me thinking last night as I lay in bed listening to the hypnobirthing affirmations. I know, I should have been paying more attention. But my mind wanders, far too easily sometimes.
I love being involved in everything with this pregnancy, but am I missing out too?
It's a little over 8 weeks to go and that's if the baby decides to arrive on time. They may be a punctual little munchkin or have their heart set on a birthday in March or they may fancy a lie-in inside my wife's womb.
"Come here! Are we still in lockdown?... Right, I might hang on here for an extra few days. I'm cosy out".
And would ya blame them?
Anyway, only 8 weeks to go until a life-changing moment. And when I say that out loud, there is a level of anxiety rising inside me at the daunting, minimum 18 years, task that lays ahead of my wife and me.
Putting that to one side for a moment, I do have mixed emotions of "Love being involved" with "Hate Missing Out". This might be the case for a lot of new parents who are having or have had 'Lockdown babies'.
Fuck, that's an awful term but it's a tag that I feel might hang around for a while.
The lockdown has allowed me the opportunity to immerse myself in the Dad life, my wife's pregnancy and be involved even more than if I was still commuting to work each day, training & playing matches with the rugby team and heading out to the pub with the lads etc.
It's been a big positive. I love being involved and don't plan on changing any time soon or in the future either. It has given me something to focus on and look forward to, during a time when people are struggling and feel there is fuck all to look forward to as it might be cancelled. I'm so thankful for that.
I have learned so much about what to expect throughout pregnancy, the birth and afterwards. And yes I still have a lot to learn but I feel as though, I'm preparing well for it, both for myself and my wife.
However, the selfish side of me and we all have one. Is pissed off that I'm missing out on so many things. Things other couples got to experience without the Covid cloud hanging over them.
These last few weeks before the birth, we should be meeting up family & friends. To show them the bump, let them experience the kicks and allow them to indulge in the excitement of their first grandchild or niece/nephew, just like we are. But that's not the case, it's just photos or a Zoom call to the family.
Fucking Family Zoom calls... Ugh. Once a novelty, now a pain in the arse. I say this as I'd much prefer to see them in person of course.
Personally then, I'm missing out on doing a whole host of things that I know I won't be able to just do at the drop of the hat when the baby arrives. I imagine if there was no lockdown, there would have been fuck all painting done in the house. And perhaps no blog either.
I can't go for a surf or a stand-up paddle. Rugby? Fuck knows when that will be back. I can't meet up with my friends for a drink, watch some sport and talk some shit. I even missed a close friends wedding due to restrictions as my wife is deemed high risk. And even though I know this lad says it was fine, he understands totally, it's still eating away at me a few months on. I'm still gutted I missed it.
Also, maybe other Dad's feel like this. And maybe, the Mam's that are reading this do to.
I can't show my wife's bump off? Now, It's not really a case of me going, look at me! A virile Irish man, an impregnating machine.
I'm just super proud of my wife and how she's kicking ass with this pregnancy and want to be able to show people. I imagine some women feel the same and want to show their bump off. There is some level of vanity in all of us. Hard to believe sometimes when you see the cut of me.
On top of that, I think she looks amazing and want to show off her bump. (Dad Tip: As with all pregnant women I have found, they beg to differ on this point. You're fighting a losing battle on this one lads, but keep fighting nonetheless).
"I proclaim, Yes you good sir! Look at this belly, is it not the finest pregnancy belly/bump you have ever seen?"
In reality, it would probably sound more like.
"Alright bai... look at the size of the bump. Go on, see if ya can feel a kick, Go on. Make sure it doesn't knock your Murphy's over now".
Oh how I miss pints of Murphy's.
Would I Feel More At Ease leading into the birth if I hadn't Missed Out on this Stuff?
I don't know is the honest answer. Lots of ifs, buts and maybes. Missing out on the above has been shit but it has afforded me the time to do stuff around the house and garden as well as be more involved with my wife and everything that goes into the preparation of pregnancy & birth too. That may have otherwise not happened. So, big thumbs up there.
I'd hate to think of my anxiety levels if I was walking into CUMH without being prepared.
However, I do miss seeing family, my brother, 5 am starts for the gym, walking somewhere other than the same roads in my area, seeing friends and the general slagging I get off them too.
My fear is, when will I get a chance to all of the above again? And in the interim period, find a balance of enjoyment & excitement in what I'm experiencing being a new Dad versus what I may be missing out on.
Sometimes, I feel guilty for being selfish or thinking selfish. That phrase "I want" can run and run when you allow it too.
I have spoken about mental health from the Dad to be's point of view before. I'll put my hand up again and say I suffer from anxiety at times. I have blue days or days I call 'meh days' which I think we have all had recently.
I do acknowledge I'm in a better situation to others, have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks. I'm aware of all of this but, I'm trying to share some honesty and a glimpse of what I'm going through on my way to becoming a Dad. A lot of guys don't share, so who knows, someone might read this and it might resonate with the thoughts & emotions running around their heads.
I'm 34, and I'll be 35 in a few months. You spend years cultivating a lifestyle, your own internal image of yourself, your persona, you and you do it for such a long time without necessarily thinking about it. From your teens, through your twenties, thirties via sport, college, work, interests, friends and all the other experiences along the way.
You're so fucking comfortable in that image, whatever that might be for you. I think I sound like an old man sometimes "I'm set in my ways, there's no changing me now".
Then all of sudden, you're not going to just be that lad, guy, or man anymore. You're going to be something else to someone.
You're going to be a Dad.
Those ways of yours are set to be changed. Like it or not.
I'll have to look out for someone, guide them (I don't even know If I want my own guidance at the best of times), educate them (eh... might leave that to my other half) and help them experience the most out of life as best you can.
It's an exciting thought but fucking scary too. Talking helps.