Everyone loves a cutting cliché and a juicy generalisation.
The irritating thing about them is the fact that they often prove themselves to be true.
From the moment you start trying to conceive up, right up until your kid is attempting to lure you into a retirement home with a trail of wurther's originals you get bombarded with them.
While ‘just relax, it will happen’ was the runaway champion in the days of TTC, the days and months that follow becoming pregnant bring their own beauty.
‘Just you wait until…’
Who knew that at any given stage of pregnancy, nothing is as big, small, scary, beautiful, endearing, or terrifying as it will be at some later stage. On the basis of this, I calculate that I will should optimal happiness when I keel over and die clutching the part of my chest that houses my lard encased heart.
One of the generalisations I scoffed at in the past was the idea that as an expectant father, I wouldn’t feel any sense of connection, or have a realisation of what was taking shape and going to happen until certain milestones were reached, ultrasounds, heartbeats, and kicks to name a few.
I wasn’t having any of this idea, along with ET, I had worked and pushed for two years to get to this point, and that in itself was evidence that I was more advanced than the average father-to-be.
I'd know better.
I was wrong.
It’s hard to believe in something you can’t see or feel the evidence of. It’s hard to put into perspective, and prepare yourself mentally for, something you find hard to believe. It’s hard to put your hand on a belly and feel no movement and be 100% satisfied that everything is as it should be, and is leading to how it will be.
As time passes the evidence starts to build. Ultrasounds initially show pictures of things that look like beans, and later show grainy images that are baby shaped. Like a couple of oranges in a sock.
You hear a heartbeat, and things change a little. Things become a little clearer in your mind, more believable.
The lucky ones eventually start to feel movements. Not a feeling like anything you recognise, you could never say with any certainty that it was a foot, or hand, or forehead. Still, a feeling nonetheless, a physical touch.
But now, I look through the 3D ultrasound pictures over and over and I see the fleshy palms of little hands. I see upper arms that I bet I could ring my own thumb and forefinger around. I see lips being pushed and probed by long fingers in the same way they will be when the baby is lying in its snot green room.
I see lids covering a child’s eyes that will soon open and look back at my stupid face gawking back at theirs.
Looking at these pictures has catapulted me as if I've reached some secret level in a computer game, from where I previously thought I believed and I connected, to a place that’s a little scary. I believe more than I ever did, I’m more excited than I ever was, but I’m now aware of how much I still can’t yet believe, and how much more excitement there will be.
I’m a relatively bright person, I can do my job reasonably well, I can stutter through a foreign language, and I can understand the 3 boxes I have to fill in on my tax forms. I can drive a car, mow a lawn, and sometimes make my wife happy.
I know I can do these now because I’ve done them all before, but I don’t recall the first time I attempted any of them going particularly smoothly.
It’s hit me that this is another ‘first’, probably the first ‘first’ I’ve had in years. I don’t know what to expect and trying to think about it too much makes my brain react the way it does with mathematics. I strain and fail to wrap all the elements of the puzzle within my poor brain’s reach, and everything remains unresolved.
In the end, I suppose I just have to do what everyone says.
Just wait until.