The other day I was talking to an expectant father and I said something stupid and conversational like, "Are you guys all ready for the baby?" (as if one can ever be ready for something like a baby) and he said "Yeah, man, we're all set. We're just going to, like, love it and stuff."
My first thought was: Don't laugh in his face, that's rude. My second thought was: This guy is not nearly as scared as he should be.
Cocky as he is, I get why he thinks that. There's no way to really prepare yourself for child birth and having a baby. You can read up on it, but I think a good rule of thumb is that approximately 95% of
books and blogs about parenting (including this one) are total rubbish. You can talk to your friends who have already had kids, but the 95% rule also applies there. Even if you do find some source of pure parenting wisdom, there is no amount of abstract words spoken into the air or lying impotently on a page that can prepare someone for the miracle/disaster that is having a baby.
Basically, you just have to let parenthood come and crush you like some kind of avalanche and try not to lose your mind. However, I've thought of a few ways that the expectant father can prepare:
First of all, hire some people to beat up your wife. Have them really kick the crap out of her. If you think there's a risk she might have a cesarean (and there is because most docs are pretty liberal with the scalpel) you can ask your hirelings to bring a switchblade and cut her up. Then duct tape yourself to a chair so you can't move and then watch helplessly as all this violence transpires against the person you love most and know that there is absolutely nothing in the universe you can do to help. That's good preparation for the labor and delivery process.
Next, don't sleep for at least six months. To help you do this, get an IV that constantly drips adrenaline and fear into your bloodstream, and then get an alarm that is the sound of a miniature person screaming bloody murder and set it to go off every hour or so. When you do fall asleep, let it be anxious, fitful sleep tortured by stress nightmares.
Finally, go out driving in a blizzard on black ice and be sure to wear a blindfold. As you spin out of control and possibly to your death, savor the feeling and get used to it. From the moment we first stepped into the hospital until now, almost three years later, there has never been even one moment where I've thought, "Everything is under control." NEVER.
Simply put: A baby will ruin your life. I don't mean forever, I just mean the life you currently know that includes sleeping in, coming and going as you please, and having spending money is OVER. You get a brand new life, and some would say it's a better life, myself included, but it bears not even a passing resemblance to your old life.
The only true advice I have for an expectant father is this: Good luck, sucker.