I often keep telling my friends and acquaintances that there are two things that most of the men are never ready for – marriage and kids.
While the first one can be best compared with a Bungee jump, where your friends cheer you to wear the harness and then one ‘experienced’ guy guides you down the cliff, the other is a personal choice. The common factor in both, however is that it’s the adrenaline rush that gives you the high initially and when it is over you are left hanging upside down, alone.
Well, I am exaggerating, it isn’t that bad after all. Being married for more than a decade and being blessed with two beautiful girls, I can say today, it was all worth it. But I am sure, many men till date go through the same dilemma when it comes to becoming a father and through these little notes I wanted to share my journey with them.
So, it was back in 2010 when my wife and I decided to move forward with our first child. I still remember, in my head I was thinking – All right this is what it all boils down to. This is the make or break. You have to get this right etc. etc. With God’s grace things went fine and we were soon informed about the happy news by our gynecologist. I very clearly remember that evening when my wife called me in the office to share the news and was crying on the other side (I am sure they were happy tears). We took a day or two to understand the magnitude of the news and then decided to share it with our extremely close ones. Once that happened came the forever ‘priceless’ advise – Beta abhi 3 months tak kisi ko batana mat. I, like a very obedient yet accomplished man, decided to follow that 1000 years old tradition.
Now, with no clue of what we shouldn’t be doing and what we should be doing, those 3 months looked like the biggest secret mission I ever took. We had to live our life normally even though it wasn’t normal. I had to keep a straight face when elders and friends used to coax me for having a kid. In my head, I was smiling and saying – Fellas, I am way ahead than your thinking.
Finally, the wait was over and we had crossed the 90-day barrier. The news was shared with layer 2 relatives and friends. What followed was a barrage of phone calls congratulating me. Some calls made it sound like I have made the nation proud, while the others talked about how responsible I need to be now (as if I wasn’t that earlier). There were some preachy calls and then there were those ‘naughty aunty’ calls. Suddenly everyone thought I am now ready for any kind of ‘talk’ (I thought I had qualified for that after marriage but of course, I was wrong).
The next three months I was shown many ‘baby’ videos by my wife. The babies in those videos were laughing and giggling and my wife here was going ‘awwww’ ‘awwww’ at all of them. I, on the other hand, wasn’t able to feel any emotion and was, in fact, feeling silly watching them. This is the time where I realized, the next 6 months aren’t going to be easy. With my wife’s emotions at an all-time high and me not even started, the gap was clearly very wide. But then, I told myself – Buddy, you asked for it.
Then came the 3rd trimester and the coveted ‘Baby Shower’. One day, a friend of my wife called my saying, I need your house. Now that was kind of shocking because the last time someone asked me for my house keys, he had very adventurous plans. Anyway, she quickly understood that her statement can have multiple connotations and therefore was quick to mention about my wife’s baby shower. I, obviously, said yes and then again I was given the super-secret mission of keeping my wife at bay while they do their preparations. While this was all exciting, I must admit, but killing time forcibly wasn’t my idea of fun. Finally, the call came and we headed home. I rung the bell and the door opened and the house looked like a carnival. There were balloons, decorations, food and a lot of women. There were games and gifts; I won a few awards but those looked more like investments than prizes. The evening was getting to its end and women started asking me – Kya lagta hai? Ladki hogi ya ladka hoga? And I was like “Woh toh jo hona hoga, hoga. Par uske baad mera kya hoga”. The moment had started sinking in. The days were less, the last stretch of celebration before the baby was over. It is now that I started feeling the jitters.
Then came the ‘magical’ date of 7th February 2011. My wife was in the labor room and I had an army of relatives waiting outside to get into action at the first call. I was ready with camera to click the first picture. Suddenly, a sister called my name. I turned around and saw her holding a baby in the hospital green cloth. I rushed to see my baby with a sea of emotions. As I reached closer, I saw a little girl, looking at me with her eyes wide open. Everything just froze… I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t react, I couldn’t even press then click button. The joy of seeing my little one was magical, a moment that was extremely emotional. All those anxieties and apprehensions had disappeared, the doubts were gone, I felt like a different human being and that is when I realized – Yes, you are ready, DADDY!
What followed was a roller-coaster ride of 12 months but let’s leave that for another day. So, to all the men who are contemplating taking the BIG leap, I just want to let them know – Go ahead. You won’t regret!
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.