A caveat. All the sacrifices that Catherine has made over the past 9 months have been incredible. There is no way I could have grown a human internally. Physically, obviously, but especially mentally too. She's a wonder and all achievements I've achieved in the past 9 months are lesser and subservient to Catherine's growing a baby achievement. And for those concerned, this blog has been thoroughly vetted and approved by my wife as it mostly concerns her and my interactions with her.
That having been said (and meant), it's well hard being an 'expectant' father. Yeah, sure, I don't have to feel nausea in the mornings for the best part of 3 months and I don't have to constantly go to the toilet because some internal being is literally sitting on my bladder forcing me to go to the toilet against my will, BUT I do have to be a constant beacon of light and support at all times and in all places. Woe betide the moment I drop the ball.
The eggshells I've trodden on just to survive have been sharp and unyielding. But what has made them even more razor sharp has been the fact I can't really tell the difference between 'upset hormonal pregnant' Cath, and 'you're a moron Greg' Cath. The line is blurred. It was particularly difficult to spot in the so called 'golden time' of the middle of the pregnancy where hair flows nourished, nails are perfect and impossible to chip and skin is aglow like a radiant star.
Later on (i.e. currently) is easy to spot. The lady with the moving tummy wants chips. The tired lady, sprawled out on the bed upstairs fifteen minutes after getting out of it, wants freshly buttered white bread, with no crusts, a packet of ready salted crisps and something healthy 'because I'm getting really fat'. You're not getting fat, you've got a big tummy. You've got a whole human life growing in you. From two very separate entities provided by two separate entities (who love each other very much), you've formed the most complex organic computer the world knows and a myriad of other internal and external biological systems inside your body, whilst already having two other children and what feels like 1 million business projects to manage. You're allowed to be 'fat' (NEVER, I repeat, to those unwashed in expectant fatherhood amongst you, NEVER say the word 'fat' around your expectant partner. Even a different context 'fat' could have dire consequences. The bacon has too much 'fat' on it for example. I said it once, and got away with it because I pretended I said 'cat'.) For those concerned, I provided a small cupful of seedless grapes and a cup of tea that wasn't specifically asked for BUT would have been sobbed over if not provided.
On one hand, the logical, knowing what's going on side of my brain is completely understanding of this fundamental shift of personality my partner is undergoing. But on the other hand, I simply can't grasp how anyone can suddenly be so different mentally. I've no personal experience to compare it to. I never will obviously. I'm pretty much unable to 'read' how someone might react to me on a day to day basis anyway. It kinda feels like the person who knows me best, who completely gets me and all my foibles, who married me knowing how completely challenging and difficult I can be has become someone I can't predict anymore. I know. She's carrying my child. Cut her some slack. Please re-read the first paragraph. I know. I get it. My issues are completely less. But it's worth pointing out. As an Aspie, I'm afforded a huge amount of rope in social situations by those who know me, and those who don't just think I'm strange or different and end up giving me more rope anyway. All of a sudden the person who practically manufactured all the rope in my life suddenly removed all of it. I have to get it right. Now. Straight off the bat.
I wish I could tell you that I do get it right all the time. That every social situation with my wife since January has been me smashing my normal person test out of the park. Sadly, I can't. Further to that, I wish I could say that I've gotten better and Catherine has had this perfectly awesome understanding partner who just did everything she needed straight away. That this pregnancy has been the easiest because of me! I wish. Or should I say, Cath wishes!
I'll tell you how it's been. From my point of view, it's as if Catherine hasn't been pregnant. Until recently of course. It's hard to get around towards the end. Despite her skills as a vocal teacher, singer, actress and general inspiration to many people, Catherine has been short of breath and super tired towards the end. Restless legs and sleepless nights have been her lot for the past month or so. She's been a real trooper getting through it all with two needy kids and a clueless man-child husband. Cath has taken all major body changes, mental changes and life changes in her stride. It's been a real privilege to stand by and say 'do you want a cup of tea?'.
So all hail the pregnant women in our lives. Particular cheers to mine. They are miraculous beings who bring new life into this ever so peculiar world. And as I apologise to Cath profusely for not being the perfect supportive expectant Dad, I'll also take a moment to remind her, that I'm hers completely. From my point of view, growing a child is like the transporter in Star Trek. Something other people do, something I might be able to do in the distant future, something that looks so simple and easy, but when you really think about it, is so freaking awesome.