The following is an extract from Neils book Be My Baby – an honest and humorous diary detailing a mans journey to becoming a first time Dad.
Monday, 17 March
29 weeks today. The babys elbows are beginning to stick out as they struggle for room to manoeuvre. There is little room left in the inn and discomfort is becoming the norm for my wife. Being a petite woman anyway, the weight is centred only around her uterus making leverage a real problem. Watching her get off the sofa as if she were a flailing turtle makes us both laugh, but she is exhausted by the time she gets into an upright position. Our baby should be heading towards 1.5 kg by now, but that does not take into account the placenta or the amniotic fluid (at least 1 litre) that is sloshing about inside. My wifes breathing is also noticeably more laboured as her expanding uterus pushes up on the diaphragm and reduces her lung capacity. She is resting more now, which gives me a chance to talk rubbish to the baby.
Research shows that with only ten or so weeks to go, babies are not only able to hear but can identify specific voices as well. It is extraordinary to think that my baby should be able to detect, deduce and store such knowledge already and I am eager to take advantage. So I have taken to talking to my wifes bump. She doesnt mind, largely because she is asleep. I prefer to chat with my baby when I go to bed, usually around 2 a.m. I sneak under the duvet and talk in whispers. The baby occasionally kicks and the euphoric rush is such an incomparable high that it feels absolute and complete until it gives way to an unexpected impatience. I want my baby now. I want to hold it now.
When the baby responds directly to its fathers voice and a paternal connection is made, all rationality is overtaken by selfishness. For a few moments, I refuse to compute the risks involved if the baby were to be born ten weeks premature. I want to cuddle my firstborn. I want to squeeze my child tightly and never let go. I want my baby to be here now.
Thankfully, such irrational behaviour doesnt last. As soon as the baby settles down again and the kicking and elbowing subside, selfishness gives way to elation and I accept the importance of playing the waiting game. Besides, ten weeks will give me a chance to brush up on my small talk. The baby only needs to hear my voice regularly at the moment which is rather fortunate because my one-sided conversations in the small hours are monumentally dull. After spending most of the day sitting at a desk, I do not have the most thrilling anecdotes to share with a foetus. This evening I told my baby what I had for dinner and discussed West Hams current form (mediocre), the plight of Tibetan protestors (very bad) and the quality of the second series of Life on Mars (very good). My child may one day thank me for an eclectic, well-rounded knowledge of current affairs and popular culture. My child may also call me a boring bastard.