Dad of a Newborn Part II: Stumbling along

Some people ask me how I'm. Often I say I’m OK - as I should be, as I think they expect me to be. If, however, I suspect they actually want to know, I’m left a little stumped. ‘Yeah, OK, I think’. At least that suggests some uncertainty on the issue.

When I took a moment to reflect on how I actually was, what came to mind was that life was like walking around in my house, with the lights off, and the layout slightly changed. It’s like my house, but not quite. Things aren’t in the right places. And so I shuffle forwards, trusting the next step will hold me, but aware that it could be a table that wasn’t there before, a wall instead of a doorway, a slippery floor or the stairs.

This person has exploded into our lives and rearranged everything. There’s nothing predictable any more. I don’t know when sleep will be. I don’t know when peace will be. I don’t know how my toddler will behave. I don’t know how I’ll do work as well. I don’t know if having people round will be helpful or disastrous. I don’t even know how my partner - who I’ve know for a relatively long time now - will behave or what she’ll need from me next or what she’ll be able to manage. I don’t, for that mater, know how I’ll behave, what I need, what I’ll be able to manage.

So, yes, so far, it’s OK. Mostly, I step on carpet. There are times of wonderful joy, as the whole world seems to smile on us, as I can start to see how we’ll be a family together. But I’ve got a few bruises, a few times I fall on my backside, a few times I’m wondering what on Earth is happening as the ground suddenly seems to open out before me and I’m free-falling.

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