MAN'S GUIDE TO PREGNANCY:A Multi-Part Guest Post by Aaron A. A. Smith
No, this is not for pregnant men, like Arnold Schwarzennegger in Junior, or for that woman who had a sex change to become a man, then got knocked up.
This is for expectant fathers. And, men, I'm not going to give you some touchy-feely, Deepak Chopra, life is so beautiful ecstasy trip. Yes, there are many wonderful things about the process by which your demon-seed tadpole develops into your little bundle of screaming, pooping joy. But you're going to hear plenty about that stuff, probably while doing yoga in a unitard, soothing whale song permeating your pink, frilly environs. Instead, I'm going to try to help your confused, overwhelmed ass. I will discuss, purely for your edification, the gross, disorienting, and sometimes funny new world you have entered.
No, I'm not personally saying that to you. But you're gonna hear that word a lot over the next several months. I'm just trying to desensitize you to it so you don't wince, pull a face, or get that deer-in-headlights/ I just shat myself look in your eyes. Yes, I know you are shitting bricks about being a father and all the attendant responsibilities that come with the job. But never, EVER, show your fear. And for those of you who just found out that your significant other is preggo: when people you haven't seen in a while just ring you up and randomly shout "Congratulations!" into the receiver so loud your ears bleed into your fucking shoes, don't be confused. No, you didn't unwittingly win the National League Cy Young Award or some such shit. They're simply acknowledging the fact that, in spite of what your 3rd grade teacher wrote on your report card, you are not an impotent, sterile, limp-dick who shoots blanks. Not only did you somehow convince a real live woman to have sex with you, one of your little, white, half-retarded trouser monkeys actually managed to stumble into an egg (and to think, you can't find your way to the exit at The Home Depot). On top of that, your partner liked you just enough not to abort your little hellspawn. What was I saying? Oh, yeah, the answer to "congratulations" is "thanks."
Now this is a very important stage in your life. And with every stage of life, there is an annoying, repetitive question you will be asked. Assuming you have been with your partner for a long time, you have already caved in to two really annoying "questions." I put quotations around the word questions, because they are not really questions at all. They are in fact subtle, prying nags, designed to wear you down and beat you into submission. The first question generally comes from one of your partner's female relatives every fucking time you see her: "When are you getting married?" "When are you getting married?" I know, guys. You can still hear the bloodcurdling drone, ringing through your ears and making your testicles retract into your stomach like nagging nails on a soul-draining chalkboard. Take a deep breath, you've already made like France in WWII and surrendered. You'll never hear that question again. You're safe now. It's over. I'd hug you, but that would not be very manly. And it's time to man up, you sobbing bitch.
The second so-called question comes from either one of your wife's female relatives (again, surprise, surprise) or one of her female friends who thinks you're hot so she wants you to clone yourself for her sick future enjoyment. Never mind the fact that she's like 30 years old. Every time she sees you, she'll ask, "When are you going to have a baby? You'll have beautiful children." You can start a betting pool with your wife on how long it will take for her to ask. You probably won't make it past 5 minutes (just in case you have money riding on it). And sooner or later, your wife is going to get that Angelina Jolie at a third-world orphanage boner. She'll start talking about how she wants 276 kids and start musing about potential names. The worst place she can do this is at a family gathering. The hens will all cackle their agreement and the men will be silent. Except for the miserable dicks who already have kids and want to drag your ass down with them. Here's how it goes: the Mrs wistfully talks about her interest having children. You try to be responsible and suggest waiting until you're done with school and have a good job that you can properly support a family. Sounds reasonable, right? Then some asshole you've never even met like your sister-in-law's boyfriend's brother-in-law (what the fuck is he doing there on Christmas anyway?) fucks it all up.
An evil twinkle lights his eye. A crooked smirk twists his lips. The theme from The Omen begins to play softly in the background.
Why is he smiling?
Because he has, like, 6 kids and a shit job. He is miserable. And he is a total dick. And miserable dicks love company. "Oh, they're not expensive at all," he bullshits mirthfully. When he sees the horrified look on your face, he chimes, "Oh did I just get you in trouble?" as if it were a fucking question, a delighted smirk on his face. He knows damn well he just fucked you. That was the whole point. But remember, you can't punch this asshole in the head. He's some guest's degenerate, white-trash, mongoloid third cousin or some such shit. And nothing ruins the holidays for old farts and starry-eyed little tikes like the sight of some douchebag with a Christmas tree up his ass, so you pretty much have no recourse unless you randomly bump into him in a blind alley.
At any rate, either voluntarily or accidentally, you have made that beautiful baby, and if it's a boy, you have already noticed that your wife's phone rang eerily fast after she posted the ultrasound shots of his massive dong online (what, that didn't happen to you?).
The question you will now hear over and over again actually is a question, as opposed to a thinly-veiled nag to make your marital and reproductive decisions to suit somebody else's weird whims. This question is, "Are you excited?" Only women ever ask this question, as men instinctively know that this is a touchy subject. This is a well-intentioned question in spite of the fact that it raises your hackles (no, that was not a dick joke, you illiterate perv). Now remember, guys, the correct answer is a simple "Yes", because a complete answer like, "Yes, I'm so excited I can't feel my left arm. I'm not emotionally or financially ready for this. Holy shit, I can't believe I'm responsible for the life of another human being. How am I supposed to pay for all this shit? What if my wife and I split? I don't want my kid to grow up in a single-parent household--that sucks. I don't want to be an absentee, deadbeat dad; they suck. What am I supposed to do? Answer me, damn you!" just doesn't go over well. It's OK that you're thinking this shit. In fact, it shows that you care about your child's well-being. Just don't say it out loud. So let's practice, lads. "Are you excited?"
There you go.
Some of you may be asking, "Aaron, what are the next stages of my life and what dumbass questions accompany these magical phases?" Well, I don't know the questions, but here are the stages:
Right now you are transitioning into the lame-ass, tired-as-shit parent phase. Your life has started to ebb, and with it all your fucking energy. You have that 2:30 feeling all day long and you just want a freaking nap. You are actually starting to think about your bedtime and everything cool or fun takes place after said bedtime. Pretty soon you will stop swearing. And for that I say, "fuck you." You are also frantically trying to sell your soul and your last bit of cool to establish a stable career to support your growing family. This is a long-ass period of your life.
In your next phase of life, your mind and body will fail you. Your brain will degenerate, leaving you a drooling idiot who calls everyone mommy. Your body will shrivel into a dried up, feeble husk propelled by a Rascal which will take up the entire fucking aisle at Wal-Mart. To top it off, your prostate will swell to the size of Farmer Jenkins' pumpkin that won the blue ribbon at the county fair. You will also develop an irrational fear of minorities, the loss of your social security benefits and medicaid, and the general prospect of dying alone in a ditch (OK, that last one isn't actually irrational because that's what happens in the last phase. Okay, I'm just kidding! You won't die in a ditch. You'll die in a hospital bed. But you'll still die alone). In addition, you will develop an inexplicable fascination with model airplanes, the sanctity of your lawn, Judge Judy, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, how much shit cost when you were a kid, and paintings made by serial-killer clowns. Ok, maybe that last one just applies to geriatric me.
Finally, you will either get cancer or have a stroke. You will the die alone in a hospital bed (see above).
But for now, we'll focus on your current phase: your awe (and horror)- inspiring journey to fatherhood.
Enjoy the ride. I'll be right by your side.
But I will not hold your fucking hand.
Coming Up Next:
Part I: Shopping for Baby and Your First Day of Lamaze
Aaron A. A. Smith is a Historian, Juris Doctorate, Humorist/Fiction Author-to-be (his first book will be out in November), and Beefcake Spartan Daddy-To-Be. He lives in San Diego, CA. with his wife, Dani, who is pregnant with their first child, Ryker. He will be launching his own blog about pregnancy and fatherhood in the coming weeks.
And, no, he will not join your Civil War reenactment troupe.