We aren’t the kind of couple who do grandiose events for such things, my recent proposal would’ve been much the same as it was despite COVID restrictions (in fact it would’ve been exactly the same except we’d have been in a different place and likely had the dogs with us).
And so it was when Becca wandered into our “home office” (aka spare room) one morning, asked how I was, waited for me to babble about nothing of importance, and then, when I asked how she was, paused and simply said, “I’m pregnant”.
We’d been trying for a while so the tears that instantly formed in my eyes were ones of joy and relief.
Since then, the realisation has set in and I’ll admit there is no small amount of terror as well, I mean I’ve barely figured out how to be an adult and now I have to be responsible for a child! Don’t get me wrong, the dogs take some looking after but for most of the day their main concern is how to find the perfect sleeping spot – for those interested, Dave favours lying on the sofa with his head and neck hanging off the edge whereas Sasha is happiest following the sun through the day and then disappearing under a blanket at night.
I digress. We are pregnant. We’ve known for a few weeks now, as have our families, but we are now at the point that we can tell the world.
And I’m so excited and so happy, and while this will come as no surprise to the parents among you, I’m already starting to see the world through different eyes. There is so much to do!
When Becca and I first got together we talked about long-term plans and hers definitely included a baby or two (one at a time!); she’s a few years younger than me but didn’t want to wait too much longer. She was very clear on this and so I had some serious thinking and soul searching to do.
When I was married before, my ex-wife Louise and I discussed having kids but both decided it wasn’t for us (perhaps because even subconsciously at that point we knew things weren’t quite right?) and had told both our families as much. It was the right decision for us and neither of us had any regrets. We reasoned that as neither of us had pushed to have kids despite having been married for several years, and with our lives nicely comfortable, why would we change that? It didn’t feel like we were missing out, it wasn’t something I secretly went along with, I was genuinely quite happy and content with that decision for many years.
So when Becca asserted her desire, a desire I already knew to be fair, it forced me to think about the decision I’d made some 13 odd years ago, did I really want to have kids? Clearly, the answer was yes, and in a way that conversation has been a silent driving force behind a lot of my other decisions over the last couple of years, during which I’ve felt more and more like I’ve found my place in the world, discovered the man I truly am, a man who every day feels lucky, feels loved and supported and who (finally) feels ready to build a family.
I guess all it took was finding the right person to have a baby with to make that decision an easy one. I went for a walk one sunny afternoon and by the time I got home, it was clear in my mind. This is the person I want to be with, the person I want to build a family with. Better late than never!
I’m 47 as I write this and will likely just have turned 48 by the time the baby emerges into the world (they are due to appear at the end of October). I don’t feel my age, just like Becca and I don’t feel the age gap between us, and all my initial worries and fears of being ‘old’ have withered and faded away as I watch this amazing woman grow a new life, watch her deal with the day to day struggles of being pregnant (she’s spent the first trimester constantly nauseous and exhausted) all whilst she runs her own business, is in the midst of creating a new one, and is already clear on a whole raft of things concerning how we will bring up our child.
She is more than ready and capable of being a wonderful, loving, nurturing mother – to paraphrase a certain TV show, Becca was already a mother without a baby to love – and her quiet confidence makes me feel ready and capable of being the best Dad I can.
I think I’ll be alright at it, and whilst there is always the sadness that my own Dad won’t see his latest grandchild, I know he will never be all that far from my thoughts as I already know a lot of the Dad that I will become was borne from the Dad he was to me.
And if nothing else, it’s a whole new subject around which I can get my geek on! What’s the best cot to buy? Do we need a baby monitor with a camera? How do we bring up a baby as ethically as possible? How many nappies do we really need? It is ok to play Queen, and Foo Fighters, and The Chemical Brothers to them from day one? What if they pick up a dog toy and chew on it? (I’m ok with this one, given there are pictures of me chewing my dog’s bone and hey, I turned out ok, right?)
OH MY GOD!! What happens if they take after their mother and DON’T LIKE ICE CREAM!
These and a bazillion other questions rattle around my head on a daily basis, alongside more practical matters like when do we need to start thinking about booking them into a local nursery, which local school is the best option and, if we buy rusks how many am I allowed eat?
We are having a baby.
I can’t wait.