It was a long, tough second pregnancy for my wife. She spent almost the entire nine months feeling tired, sore, and altogether over it.
But even though we were both eager to meet the new boss (same as the old boss!), and she was desperate to be relieved of the back and hip and everything-else pain the little fella was causing with his extended stay inside her uterus, there were some moments when it didn’t seem quite so bad (not that I have any real idea of what I’m talking about).
I’m a guy, so my experience with pregnancy is obviously a bit different than my wife’s. I didn’t get her aches and pains. I didn’t gain the extra weight. I didn’t have strange cravings. I kind of jump-started the process and then had nothing much to do but sit back and watch, lending support in any and every way I could, be it emotional (helping my wife weather her erratic hormones), physical (rubbing her back and shoulders and feet when she was uncomfortable), or irrational (running to the store at 11 p.m. to find Tastykakes).
Despite being by her side throughout it all, my perspective as a dad-to-be couldn’t help but be different. Nothing has ever grown inside me except resentment and the occasional weird fetish (like, you’re not aroused by coconut-scented shampoo? Don’t judge me!). But that doesn’t mean dads don’t get swept up in the beauty and awe of it all, in our own way.
Take, for example, this one night in particular, when we had about a month to go before our second kid was born.
We were lying in bed, watching and feeling my forthcoming blog-fodder move. He was an active guy, far more than my 5-year-old was when he was still percolating, and while that was often a cause of consternation for his mother, it was also a fascinating thing to see, and to touch.
With that in mind, I curled up next to my wife in bed, and we watched—thanks to his late-term size and tremendous energy, we could even clearly feel—the son we had yet to meet flipping and rolling and spinning and kicking and doing whatever the hell else he was doing to pass the time in the womb until his nine months were finally up.
I’d been through all of this once before, but still, it’s hard not to marvel at the beauty of it: A new life forming inside of another, growing bigger by the day, slowly developing, bit by bit, into a tiny human being, until it’s finally ready to burst out and take on the world. It’s incredible. There’s a reason it’s called the miracle of life.
So there we were, barely a month to go before we would welcome this amazing, innocent, flawless child into our lives, lying next to each other and contemplating the beautiful, perplexing complexity of it all. Ready-as-we’d-never-be.
Almost absentmindedly—after nine months, even the sublime can become routine—I placed my hand on my wife’s stomach. Suddenly, as if he knew we were there, as if he were reaching out to us, sensing how close he was to the end of his long, unfathomable road and how near he was to being in our arms, I felt our yet-to-be born child push up from within, grasping for contact.
At that moment, I needed some contact of my own. And so I reach out for my wife, my partner in this amazing, terrifying journey, held her hand, looked in her eyes, and said:
“This is some weird-ass shit!”
I am still a guy, after all!