The Most Unstable of Contents (now with more content!)
. 15The Intr-- oh, shit.* 5
Stage I: Shock 12
Those Two Words * 14
Two More Long Words* 20
Stage II: Anger 33
“Fuck Me.” 34
“Fuck Her.” 40
“Fuck yo’ Couch (or bedroom or backseat or wherever)” 47
“Fuck aaaaall your dandy asses!” 51
“Fuck ‘It’.” 58
Stage III: Bargaining 64
The Decision 66
Life’s the Bitch 78
What’s In a Name? 89
Every Body Wants You 97
Stage IV: Depression 102
R.I.P. You 103
Ice Box 108
Churning Point 116
Stage V: Acceptance 121
The Final Countdown 122
The Event 129
The Extra Point 134
This is (Y)our Life 140
Read This Holding Your Baby 153
Postpartum Deposition * 156
*Chapters marked * in preview
The Intr-- oh, shit. *
The Intr--oh, shit.
Well…you done fucked up now. If you have this book in both hands right now, one of 2 things are likely: either you have friends with a really twisted sense of humor or you just got some chick pregnant. (Either way, your purchase was appreciated.) If you’re like me, this is somewhat of an unwelcome development at this time…but unless you’re the kind of guy who goes around buttering hardwood floors every time something goes awry in your life, you are now staring down the barrel of something that can end your life as you know it: parenthood.
Maybe you thought she was on birth control, maybe she didn’t keep track of her moon woman cycles or whatever, maybe you got caught by the ripped raincoat or the dreaded halo, maybe you just played it fast and loose one too many time--alcohol was likely involved--in any case, she’s pregnant, and it’s your problem too. (Of course, you should get that checked out officially, but we’ll talk about that later.) If you choose to stay with her, you are now just as pregnant as she is…this book is mainly about accepting this, and maybe still almost liking her anyway.
You see, for best results in most cases, it ain’t just “me” any more, it’s “me, she, and 3”. You’re now 9 months (if you’re lucky and Junior Misfire doesn’t decide to make a break for it a month or 3 early) from having to shoulder the ultimate responsibility in life: attempting to raise a human being who can be let out in public without a muzzle. I don’t know whether you consider 9 months a long time or not, but if a doctor told you that you had 3 seasons left before your next life, you might take it a certain way…as I have a doctorate in Asshollectual Studies, you can go ahead and take it that way.
People say that pregnancy is one of the greatest experiences in life. They say that you and your creation partner (sounds nicer than “baby mama”, doesn’t it?) will grow closer than ever, and the announcement of every new life is cause for celebration. Some say that once you find out you have a child, you change in a fundamental way, instantly adapting your persona and worldview to fit that of a parent. Of course, if you’re like me, you think that’s total bullshit and that everyone who says that actually wanted children at the time…but that’s just people like me.
See, if you’re like me, you needed a child like you needed an electric loofah when you first found out you were on the hook. To you, babies are very cute in small doses, but overall are just adorable little machines that convert food into diaper stuffing and make a lot of noise doing it. (Well, except for those who aren’t even lucky enough to get a cute kid…yikes.) You are just not ready to be responsible for somebody else--especially when on most days, you can barely be responsible for yourself.
I know the feeling. I loved kids, as long as I could give them back to those in charge of them they were done being cute. To one 23-year-old AJ Moses, having a kid was like those full-body tattoos you see on the internet sometimes that make you look like a tiger or RoboCop…looks kinda cool, but really not for me. That’s when I found out I now had one of my own, and stopped liking anyone under the age of 5 for a while.
That’s right, I’m saying it: I did not want a kid when one was assigned to me. What’s more, I don’t see a damn thing wrong with it. It’s a crazy way to shake somebody’s life up…people say babies are gifts, but for the most part, you wouldn’t even give someone a pet as a gift. How is it a gift to have responsibility dumped into your carefree young adult life again? (Well, maybe it is...the Trojan Horse was a gift too. Perhaps you’ll recall the Trojans when next you go conquering.)
When you consider that over the next three-fourths of a year, your life will irreparably change, likely just as you had it kinda how you wanted it--oh, and by the way, you’ve been sentenced to 18 years to life with hard labor--I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that it’s not the most preferable scenario for an unwilling participant. If nobody’s ever told you before, I’m here to tell you it’s fine to not want kids, even when you’re actually expecting one.
It’s okay. Really it is. According to me, anyway (and since you have my book, I assume you value my opinion somewhat, even if it’s only entertainment value). I know a lot of people won’t like it…trust me, I took my share of heat for feeling this way and being very vocal about it when I went through this. Regardless, I figured fuck it…I’m already biting the bullet on this one and can’t hold my tongue in my teeth at the same time, so why not?
You won’t find me in any baby shower pictures. We did not go to a portrait studio to have me pictured kissing her bare stomach. Pregnant women never glowed to me…well kinda, it was a neon sign reading “I’m too fertile to fuck around with”. I’ll admit it to anybody who cares, I didn’t want this to happen and was prepared to shell out every dime of that $400 or so to make sure that it did not. (If you ever read this kid, it was nothing personal…you were just a really annoying cluster of cells that was fucking with my life back then, now you’re a whole baby that I kinda like).
In turn, I knew there were others out there like me. Had to be, there’s no way in hell that every single person who ended up with a baby growing inside them or someone they cared about (however short that caring was) was overfuckingjoyed about it…but for the betterment of society in general, they probably should report for duty regardless. I mean sure, there is always the option to head for the nearest border into a foreign country when you get the news, but that makes you both a deadbeat who should kill himself in the most inconvenient manner possible and a potential future guest on daytime TV. I’m not sure you want either for yourself.
Besides, the more random kids you go around making and not caring for, the more likely it is that they’ll find each other and accidentally have sex…do you want to one day find out that you have a horned grandchild with a concave forehead and eyes that can look east and north simultaneously? Thought so. For so many reasons, once this event is announced, you are stuck (to the baby, not her…sure, in most cases it’s WAY easier to just stick with her if at all possible, but that’s something else we’ll discuss later.)
Like it or not, your totally legally uncommitted life is over. Read that last sentence again. And again. And again until you fully appreciate the gravity of the situation. Of course, anyone who knows the laws of gravity (or even just knows of them) knows that it does one basic thing: pull shit down. When you finally realize that this is what is going to happen to you, you will likely be pulled down at Jupiter-strength into a pit of grief.
Some people may find it odd, even objectionable, to grieve during pregnancy, but those people should also find my ass and kiss it. From where you sit, you’re mourning your own prematurely lost life and are justified in doing so...it’s just like a funeral, except she was the “late” one. It’s a hell of a hole to climb out of, but you have to…and you can. I know all these things firsthand, as I just came out the other side of that very situation (and even had all 3 of us survive!).
Over the past yearish, I’ve figured out that grief, like pregnancy and…hell, life…is a process, and all of the above are easier with some help, and the best help comes in knowing what to expect. It might only be marginally easier to fight a bear if you expect to fight him and get the drop on him than if the bear comes from behind with a steel chair and catches you off-guard, but at least you have a chance at being ready if you know what to expect. (Okay, not really…kinda the point though.)
The chronological order in which the stages of grief you will likely experience are listed within this book is purely for formatting purposes. I’m well aware that all of this stuff comes and goes in heated waves during the summers of your discontent, so read it in whatever order is most therapeutic. If it makes you feel better, buy another copy and keep it on your person just so you’ll have it around whenever some realization or other hits you like the crosstown express train. I want to be there for you at all times.
Seriously, for all three of your sakes, it’s my sincere wish that you get something out of this book in what can be a very stressful time in life, even if it’s just a much-needed laugh. I had to look in the bottom of a lot of bottles for this knowledge. Yes, I did that, so hopefully you won’t have to go through that. (Besides, I found out too late that all the answers were under the caps, like those promo codes on soda.)
Bottom line is, I went kicking and screaming into being a parent…but I did go. In fact, her and I went together (and still do, I guess…hey babe!). You see, it’s not really necessary that you be in love with the idea of being a parent. You don’t even have to like it. What you do have to do is do it. It’s not going to be fun at first, but you do kinda have to. Some of the things I’m going to say probably shouldn’t be repeated in “polite company”, and there will be those who will say no book like this should even exist…but if I can make the transition a little easier by writing it, then I feel justified in doing so. Let’s begin…oh, and by the way, my condolences.
Stage I: Shock
Those Two Words*
Two More Long Words*
Those Two Words
Ironically, unexpected events in adult life do not happen as depicted in movies or television intended for adults. In most live-action entertainment, earth-shattering announcements are usually accompanied by dramatic camera angles, a foreboding soundtrack, and possibly a long lead-up featuring a number of clues about what will later transpire. (There could also be some internet spoilers, which the two concepts do increasingly have in common…but the role of social networking in real life events is part of a totally separate book which you might not own yet, so I won’t draw that parallel here.)
In real life, you get no such contextual alert system. Ironically, news that can fundamentally change the state of one’s real-life existence often behaves cartoonishly, suddenly dropping on one’s head apropos of nothing like an animated anvil. If you had never known before, you usually find out that life imitates artwork when you hear the two words I refer to in the title whistling toward your skull with seemingly deadly force.
They’ve been known to drive men to drink, to mild insanity, to alternate lifestyles, and to Mexico in more extreme cases. To many, and possibly even the woman who speaks them to you, these words are a happy pronouncement…to some, it’s a prison sentence. By now, I’m pretty sure you’ve figured out what those 2 words are “I’m pregnant”.
The phrase is sometimes accompanied by “I think”, but like any other warning of possible imminent catastrophe, like “I think there’s somebody trying to break in the house” or “I think there’s a twister coming toward this trailer” they should be taken with all the seriousness of the naked statement, verified, and dealt with as soon as possible. Yes, she did just say that. Yes, this is real life. No, you probably should not grab a bat or start running as fast as you can get your feet in front of each other as in the 2 aforementioned situations.
As said before, you don’t usually get too much notice that this is going down. You MIGHT get an awkward pause of a second or two in a normal conversation, but since those pauses are often the places where two people who really like each other take the opportunity to dispense with the discourse and begin another course, you might suspect nothing of it. However, this awkward pause is not your standard ambient silence…it suddenly becomes the second most-deafening silence you’ll ever hear, only to be exceeded by the one that comes after the announcement.
In the first nanoseconds following, you may feel the sensation that your soul has been punched in the face. It is to surprise what a ballistic missile is to a model rocket. It’s completely understandable. You see, contained within those 2 words are a vast number of implications she may not have known she made including “you will be a parent and your kids will be just like you like your momma said”, “you will either be here with me while I am pregnant or you will be gone forever”, “all your free time are belong to us”, and “you will now be forced to interact with me on some level for the next 20ish years no matter what”, among others. (Of course, none of it’s final quite yet, but we’ll talk about that soon and later.)
These are ideas which can be somewhat jarring to the unprepared mind…so when the boom drops, if you get nervous and pee a little or something, nobody’s going to hold it against you. The first thing you need to know here is that panicking in this situation will do you absolutely no good.
The second thing you need to know is that you probably will panic. It’s normal…it means you care a great deal as a result of being raised somewhat correctly. Therefore, you have an innate, if vague, sense of responsibility. (You may find yourself cursing your upbringing and resulting decency at some point in the next 9 months, but we can only cross one burning bridge at a time.) Were this not so, “I’m pregnant” would be her last words in your life outside of a courtroom.
If you’re lucky, the person you’re now giving a stupid looking face to as a clever response to their revelation is--or at least was at one point and can be again--a decent, upstanding and tolerable woman with genes that will not foul up your poor embryo’s face or can cover for your own aesthetic shortcomings. (Call those low standards if you want, but make a list of the females you know who meet them all, then re-evaluate my statement.)
In short, she might not be ideal, but she’s good enough. She may be your significant other, or she may be just a friend with benefits that apparently overpay. In any event, if you hear this from a girl you even kinda like, you’re getting the lite version of this situation.
It could be worse…you could be the unenviable bastard who knocks up some unruly chickenhead they lured home from the bar a few months back for some meaningless calisthenics, then gets a very unpleasant surprise a few months later in the form of a real day-fucker of a phone call, text, or online private message. Even worse, she could be some pug-fugly abstract-faced special-teamer who was only called into action when the entire roster was unavailable. Hell, it might even be someone that your wife or girlfriend would be very interested to know that you got pregnant.
If any of those last few nightmares describe your situation, I’m truly sorry about your damn luck…but it’s too late now. You’re in it together, just like all the backseats, bathrooms, alleys and hourly motel rooms you snuck her around to. No matter the circumstances behind this conversation, you are now having it.
Somehow, the only thing larger than an elephant in a room is a fetus in a stomach you didn’t plan to put it in. There’s no avoiding it once it’s out there. Do both her and yourself a favor and just get all your initial feelings on the subject out in the open. If you don’t want any damn kids because you can’t afford it, don’t know the first thing about babies (well…technically, you do know the very first thing, but you’ve known that since you got cable TV) and don’t want to be responsible for the life of another person, don’t be afraid to say that verbatim.
She was honest with you (as far as you know right now) by telling you that you might have a child on the way, so it’s only fair that get your shit together, close your mouth before you attract flies, and be honest with her as well. Just like the cartoon coyote who often is struck by large plummeting objects to no lasting effect, you must peel yourself from under the crushing weight of the concept, dust yourself off, and continue to the next scene.
Whether you’re clicking your heels or gnashing your teeth about what you just heard, make your unfiltered stance known immediately. It’s not only the only way to access the next conversation you may have to have…it may impact the results. (Maybe not, but nobody can say you didn’t go on the record.)
Two More Long Words.
If you’ll notice, the first two chapters describe the impact of 4 total words using a lot more than that. This is because of the many things that they can mean, not only in dictionary terms, but in life. The first 2 words, “I’m pregnant”, were enough to deal with, and now you have to contend with 2 even more unsettling ones, these from yourself: ”what now?”
I’m betting a lot of things are going through your mind right now, but besides cuss words, you are probably considering one of 4 basic options that you have available to you at this point, which I call the 4 “A”s: abandonment, abortion, adoption and acceptance. Before you actually follow through on any of them, it’s important that you discuss it with your creation partner. As this can be a somewhat tricky conversation, allow me to show you how to navigate all 4.
The first option, of course, is abandonment. If “baby on board” translates to “there’s a bomb on the bus” in your language, this is the one for you. It’s the chosen course of action for many males, and is a pretty short discussion (usually “fuck that”, “that’s your problem”, or “cool, I’m going for a pack of smokes, see you in 15 years—uh, minutes”) followed by an open-ended process of the fugitive’s choosing.
Some people choose to flee as far as they can away from their new responsibilities like a cowardly cruise ship captain, maybe even to a foreign country like Canada or New Jersey, but I suggest these people hide underground and stop breathing so nobody hears their punk-ass heart beating under the floorboards or anything.
You see, unwanted as this new development may be, there is a chance that one or both of your parents felt a similar way about you back when you won the Great Sperm Grand Prix and fertilized some unsuspecting egg. (Not me…I know for a fact I was on purpose. It’s nice to be able to say, so I did. Nothing wrong with being an accident if you turn out well, though. Silly Putty, cheese fries, and factory-faded jeans were all likely accidents at first. Those are all pretty cool, eh?) If one or both kept you around anyway, you owe it to them to show they did a decent job raising you.
Hell, even if one of them didn’t stay around, you remember how that made you feel about them, right? I’ll bet they’re not your friend on Facebook, to say the least. Do you want some kid going around feeling that way about you? That’s just as much, if not more reason to handle things differently. Even if that doesn’t get you, consider this…you might need an organ or some blood one day. It’s best to be a parent to your kid(ney).
However, since she made a decision to be a parent singlehandedly by keeping a future baby with only one willing parent, you have the option to ensure she does it that way by leaving her totally alone and disappearing. Seriously, if you’re that averse to the idea, your legs are probably unshackled…get yourself some pocket sand, throw it in her face as a distraction, then get the hell out of Dodge. You see, one line of logic dictates that if it was just as much your responsibility, you could decide all by yourself to have to just dump the thing at a fire station or preemptively stop the pregnancy presses altogether just like she can.
Nonetheless, by today’s law only she has that right of refusal, so if you just can’t deal, you do technically have the opportunity to leave it all behind…that is, if you can later look at yourself in the mirror without getting a taste for bullet. Societal conventions can be (and were doubtless designed by) a bitch.
The second route is called abortion. I’m pretty sure we all know what that is, if we watch the news a lot…it’s that thing that’s more important than the fucked-up economy or that war that still hasn’t really ended yet.
Anyway, it’s option 2 you can have available to you, and is a quick and permanent solution to your new problem, but it comes with a serious catch: you have to convince her that’s the thing to do. (Yes, you do have to convince her…hiding the plan B pill in food like she’s a dog is dirty pool, and a brick could be utilized in an at-home procedure, but that’s illegal and rude.) Notice how I said that: “convince” her. Not coerce, convince.
You have to use logic and reason to illustrate that having a child right now is not the best thing for any of you (but be aware that using logic on a pregnant woman can be like using Pokemon cards in a game of blackjack). Bring up your shitty job with the paper hat and how it’s not fair to add an expensive child to an already underfunded situation. Remind her that one of the reasons she hates you sometimes is that you act like a child yourself…how the hell can you care for one?
If she asks how you would have felt if your parents had done it to you, reply truthfully that you would have never gotten the memo. If she’s uncomfortable with the word “abortion”, use the term “postponement” instead…it can make her feel that she can eventually redeem whatever feelings she may have about it, and even implies there’s a plan for the future with her in it, should she be interested in such a prospect. Works almost every time, I hear.
If you must, wax melodramatic about the dangers of today’s pointy, dangerous world and how you’re just not sure that you want to even bring a new life into it at this point. Say whatever you have to, just as long as she says “okay, I guess” back.
When that doesn’t work, you can try throwing out option 3, adoption, a different way to ensure that you will be childfree until you fuck up again. The traditional system of infant reassignment is still in place, and there are plenty of families that would be happy to have a baby…y’know, because they’ve actually been asking for one. (I’d have wanted a kid if I wanted a kid too.)
If that’s a little too involved, safe haven laws permit babies to be dropped off like a Redbox disc at pretty much any municipal establishment (hospitals, police stations, etc.) with no questions asked, as long as you’re not a guy. Of course, good luck convincing most women to carry a developing organism to full term and partially destroy her body in the process just to give it away for free. Outside of “Juno”, I’ve never seen it happen firsthand. That’s not to say it shouldn’t probably happen more…it just doesn’t.
(the path to) Acceptance
If you’re lucky/clever/soulless (or any combination of the 3) enough to be able to work one of the first three out, you don’t really need to read the rest of this…but feel free, if only just to point and laugh at those of us who could not. Of course, option 4, is acceptance. It’s exactly what it says, simply sucking it up, grabbing a mop, and beginning to clean up the disaster you may now find yourself in the middle of.
As the analogy implies, it’s FAR from instant and fuckdamn sure not easy…but if you can do it, you can look at yourself as a minor superhero, doing what many mortals can or will not. (Not, like, Batman or Captain America...you ain’t that special…maybe Aquaman or something.) Point is, if you’re left with nothing but this option and take it anyway, you’re doing the right thing. It rarely even requires a discussion, as most chicks assume you’re going to be there whether you like it or not anyway.
Whatever your choice, make it early, make it known, and make it so if at all possible. The worst thing you can do is change your mind after it’s too late, whether you decide you want an abortion after it becomes less “surgical removal of undesired developing tissue” and more “pulling a whole baby out feet-first and lightly tossing it into a nearby trashcan”, decide that that you want to accept a few years after you’ve abandoned, or worst of all, the other way around.
Feelings will probably be scuffed, maybe even some beyond hers if she’s one of those rare women who likes to talk, but worry about that later…or never. Emotions tend to fade away as time passes, pregnancies do not. What’s important now is that the only person that matters at this point at least knows where you stand (unless you’re not a stand-up guy…then, what’s important is that nobody knows where you slither).
Now that your world has been rocked as a result of a prior world-rocking, it’s pretty much inevitable that the tremors will now be felt outside of ground zero. That hyperextended metaphor isn’t nearly as protracted as the process we’re about to discuss: telling your family and friends that they have a new member and that you won’t have as much time for them, respectively.
Before I say anything, I have to admit I didn’t say shit about being pregnant to my family for a while--okay, most of the pregnancy--and told my friends in the order I vented to them in, but nobody was satisfied with my timing…not even me, I wanted to tell nobody first.
To me it didn’t matter who got the bad news in what order, it wasn’t getting any better with time. In fact, I told the majority of people, including my own parents, on the same day about 5 months after I found out. It only took one 20 minute phone call and a well-timed status update. However, almost everybody I eventually told thought I should have told them first and I caught plenty of flack despite never reaching out for it.
Of course, at the time I couldn’t give a shit less about anybody’s fucking hurt-ass peanut gallery feelings on the situation while I was dealing with it firsthand, strolling through my own personal hell with no better weapon than detachment and dark humor. In fact, I still feel the same way right this sentence, which is why I’m writing this book. (Well, that and actually trying to break even off this whole thing…since the kid can’t get a job yet on this side of the Pacific, it’s the closest I can get.)
However, I’m not really what you’d call a normal person. Maybe you care about that kind of thing more than I do. If that’s true, then let’s discuss more “acceptable” ways to spread the word about spreading your seed. First off, you’ll want to tell your parent(s). Not because they have to sign a permission slip or anything, otherwise I might have forged my mommy’s non-signature…but because they have to have time to slowly transform into grandparents.
You see, it’s going to happen regardless…the same person or people who you likely grew up fearing to an extent are now about to become human Teletubbies, constantly squealing with joy, tailored to small children, and totally nonthreatening in every way. (Of course, they likely didn’t do you that favor, but they were only parents then…now they’re grandparents.)
Seeing this transformation happen overnight can really fuck someone up in the head, so for the sake of your own mental faculties, it’s best to tell whoever’s in that role very early so it’s more of a slow burning process than an inferno of “who are you and where are the people who raised me?”
Also, you’ll likely need time to adjust to becoming a second class citizen for a while…nothing reminds you how much love you’ve taken for granted like having some of it redirected. Just wait until the first time someone who you’ve known your entire life asks how mommy or her abdominal escort is before they ask how your fucked-up life is going, then see if I just lied to you or not.
After that whole production is over, you have to start telling your friends. Choose the order in which you let them know carefully, you don’t want to let the news slip to a person who is several friend rankings below another friend, because the not-as-close friend will invariably tell them sooner than possible like it’s some kind of breaking international news story that Twitter isn’t even onto yet. That scenario can see you end up on a shit list of some kind. These are the people who may have to talk you down from some ledge in the next few months, and may even be willing to babysit for free…so be sure to stay on their good side.
Your friends who do not have children will likely be very happy for you, as they effectively now have another nephew/niece/cousin they can mess around with for a while until they get bored with them and that they don’t have to take care of themselves. Your friends who do already have kids will be happy too, if only so that they can now secretly commiserate with you about how much it sucks in between pretending it’s an 18-year trip to Six Flags Over Heaven because that’s what you’re supposed to say in public.
Non-special coworkers, neighbors, and other fringe folk from “around” can find out at your leisure, unless you know and care that they give out good baby shower gifts. They might be a little upset that you kinda casually mentioned it a few weeks before the due date or on the way to the hospital, but they’ll get over it.
Remember, they’re not as aware of your life situation as people closer to you, so they may feel the need to effusively congratulate you, like you just got the winning hit in the World Series, built a skyscraper with your own two hands, or won a fucking Nobel Prize in astrodynamic quantum superiority instead of simply displaying a lack of proficiency with birth control. Resist the urge to attack such people. Forgive them, future father...they know not what they do.
You’ll know you’ve done this in the wrong order when you hear a “why didn’t you tell me” that doesn’t answer itself. As you doubtless know by now though, you are very capable of mistakes…there’s a chance that somebody may slip through the cracks that you meant to tell like 12th instead of 137th. It’s not the end of the world (that was chapter 1). Just bring the baby around at some point afterward and all will be forgotten.
As you will find over the next year or so, a newborn baby is a tiny 8lb bundle of excuses, ready to be deployed at any time. So, if someone comes to you complaining that they didn’t know about your business before some other person, say you’ve been very busy getting ready for parenthood and it slipped your mind. It’s likely not true in the way they imagine, you traipsing about shopping for baby clothes, bottles, and bastardettes…but it likely is true (and even more so if alcohol is helping you through this…at least there was a bottle involved somewhere).
Breaking the big news to everybody else doesn’t have to be the hard part. You only have to do that once per person…it’s yourself that you’re going to end up telling 1,004 times. It’s all part of the shock and “aww shit” portion of your emotional process. This might be the shortest section in this book (because there honestly ain’t too much else I can say to help you in this stage), but in my case it was the one of the longest phases. It may be the same for you. Understandable, since it can be the emotional equivalent of having everything you own destroyed in an earthquake.
In truth, that’s more or less what pregnancy is to those who don’t want it, a personal natural disaster…the only one people will be happy to your face about. Think about it…the sudden nature of the event, the forced rearrangement of your life, the fact that you’ll need to be pretty damn lucky to get effective insurance coverage, the really annoying people telling you this is a blessing in disguise as you think to yourself that it must be a master of fucking disguise, that “I’m watching my house burn down” look...it’s all there.
However, it’s up to you to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding…at least enough to get some feeling back in your soul. Trust me, it’s coming…every feeling you got. When it does, you better be prepared. (Of course, if you’re not, that’s what the rest of the book is for.)
Stage II: Anger
“Fuck yo’ Couch (or bedroom or backseat or wherever)”
“Fuck aaaaall your dandy asses!”
Stage III: Bargaining
Life’s the Bitch
What’s In a Name?
Every Body Wants You
Stage IV: Depression
Stage V: Acceptance
The Final Countdown
The Extra Point
Afterbirth- What does it sound like?
This is (Y)our Life
Read This Holding Your Baby
*note: No babies were harmed in the making of this book.Can you handle it? Get your copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting (the Worst)" today!
Hey reader…thought it was important here at the end for me to take off the Dr. Philthy hat I’ve been writing this book with and speak to you as AJ, regularish guy.
This is the part where I’m supposed to say how much I’ve grown to love parenting, that having a child was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, that my existence was empty and meaningless before February 2012, and that I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.
Well, I probably was “supposed” to not write this book and yet look what you’re holding. (Hopefully not your breath waiting for me to go all Splenda on you.)
Anyway, I said a lot of uncomfortable things in these pages, and I meant every last one of them at one time or another. If I’m a horrible person for admitting it, then so be it. However, this book was not just a recollection of personal experience. (Why would I write a memoir of a time I’d like to forget?)
The truth is, many people can relate…maybe even someone you (apparently don’t) know (so well). For proof that having a hard time adjusting to a new job one did not intentionally apply for is pretty common, Google either “I don’t want to be a…”, “I don’t like being a…”, or “I hate being a…” and see what they suggest as the most popularly searched endings of those sentences. Whether this surprises you or not, they’re things like “dad”, “mom” and “parent”. As a career asshollectual, I’m just the guy tactless enough to say it out loud.
See, I’ve always believed the truth trumps the convenience of self-deception. It’s like tattoos, once you realize it doesn’t hurt that bad, you can become addicted to it. The worst part is, whenever people even anonymously make candid statements anywhere close to those put forth in this book on some message board/forum/answers site/real life (bless you), they’re told what horrible, undeserving people they are to have such a blessing bestowed upon them and not appreciate it, etc.
It all sounds nice, but it’s not so easy to just “get over” it. People who were in my position never get to see that what they’re feeling is a natural response to unwanted change and confront these feelings so they can possibly work through them and maybe, just maybe, make their peace with the new piece to the puzzle.
Instead, they’re bashed all to shit and told they’re worthless when they cared enough to at least try. It’s like going up to a kid who just fell learning to ride a bike, performing an elbow drop on him, and trying to steal the bike. It’s just not helpful in any way. Shit, it might cause a child to never learn to ride one and hate all dual-wheeled conveyances for the rest of their life. That does not make the world a better place, no matter the “noble intent” behind it.
I figured if I put the experience out there the way it was where people can see it, they won’t feel so bad about feeling some if not all of the same way. Esteemed philosopher Tony Montana once said that people like me were needed so others can point their fucking fingers and go “that’s the bad guy”. I dig that. I’m more chaotic neutral than full-on bad, but if laughing at my pain can help ease somebody else’s (and make me a couple dollars along the way), it’s worth it to me. If I can talk one family together by talking somebody down off an emotional ledge, then I’ll talk all the shit required.
All that said, as of a few months after my son (still sounds weird) was born, I find parenting largely bearable. Of course, the diaper changes, the holding of a bottle not containing liquor for hours on end, the abysmally timed wake-up calls, and the ungodly random screaming honestly and consistently suck. Anybody who tells you different is delusional or trolling.
He’s very cute when he’s happy though…it balances out how much he can get on my nerves (takes after his mommy on both counts). He has good coordination, a silly disposition, and he generally seems like he’s going to be a lot of fun in a month or two when he does something besides need to be cleaned. He grew on me a lot…I might even love him (haven’t decided for sure yet). I know I like him most of the time. Either way, it could be worse…I could have gotten a girl.
To wrap things up—or not do so, I suppose--an unplanned pregnancy is an arduous event from both sides of the equation. I can honestly say I appreciate the woman I went through it with more than my vocabulary can convey for being likable enough not to chuck a grenade at throughout the process. Nevertheless, I can’t say it’s ever going to happen again. I’m not gonna be that guy who gets a kid for every birthday…and really, that’s what this book is all about, learning from your mistakes. (People say they learn a lot from their children, right?)
In all seriousness, it’s not as bad as you might think. Being a parent is even enjoyable in spurts. It’s just something you want to ideally avoid if you know you’re not ready (even if that’s never). Unfortunately, back in real life, almost half of women will have an unintended pregnancy in their lifetime. That means someone’s knocking them up, and lot of guys will also ride this emotional rollercoaster.
Fittingly though, like any ride it’s a little less scary when you know what to expect…especially if you’re expecting the worst. Thanks for reading (and at least not putting anything dangerous in the hate mail…I have a child)! Oh, and good luck...you’ll damn sure need it.