I once heard that all fathers-to-be develop a heightened sense of fear. They can’t help it; having a baby is a life-altering event. Before you had a pregnant wife, your biggest concern was that your favorite fun-loving coworker Maria—who walks with you to the pop machine when you’re thirsty—will still talk to you after your not-so-inconspicuous booger-flinging incident. But now, months into the pregnancy, boogers are the furthest thing from your mind.
Just a few short months ago, the only two reasons I’d stay up late were for 1) extra innings and 2) sex—both of which irritate my wife. Now, I lie awake all night with my eyes wide open, running scenario after scenario in my head, terrified that something will go horribly wrong. Honestly, I haven’t felt this scared since I was nine years old and noticed the uncanny resemblance between My Buddy, the doll I cuddled at night, and Chucky, the mass-murdering doll from the Child’s Play movies. (Note: That was the night My Buddy got banished to the basement and was replaced by the extremely trustworthy and not-at-all threatening Strawberry Shortcake.)
Back to the point: Earlier this week, BabyCenter.com—the epicenter of everything you need to know about babies, parenting and ovulation calendars—featured an article covering the top seven fears of your average expectant father. It was so nice to know that others were experiencing the same anxiety. So I read the list of fears:
1. Will I be able to protect and provide for my family?
2. Will I be able to perform when my wife is in labor?
3. Am I really the baby's father?
4. Can I handle dealing with my own mortality?
5. Can I handle any health issues my wife or child encounter?
6. Will my wife love the baby more than me and exclude me from that intimate relationship?
7. Will I be able to handle "women's medicine" (the OB/GYN establishment)?
As I read down those fears one thing came to mind: What a load of crap! Those are the top seven? Not in a million years. Number three is the only one that even cracks my top 50, and it’s strictly because I know that if
So I got to thinking, What really terrifies us fathers-to-be? For your benefit and the benefit of other future dads, I’ve compiled a list of the seven real fears that I—and other expectant fathers—face. Maybe BabyCenter.com can take some notes.
The Seven Deadly Fears
The Seven Deadly Fears
1. My 50-inch Television, Steven, will feel neglected. Sure, I’ll attempt to express my love by cleaning its remote and occasionally wiggling its antenna. But at the end of the day, when the baby consumes my time, Steven will give me the doe-eyes and take his picture-in-picture somewhere else.
will rip off my arm and use it to beat me senseless over an empty tub of ice cream. Seems silly, but I’ve seen her maim for less. Brittany
3. After I’m dead and cremated, my child will snort my ashes. Unthinkable, you say? Reports about Keith Richards beg to differ.
4. My mother-in-law will steal the baby. I have this reoccurring nightmare that, moments after delivery, Mama T swipes BK3 before I get to hold her and races down the hallway yelling, “I’ve got one! I’ve got one!” Keep in mind that if this actually happened, my mom—who’d murder someone before giving up a grandchild—would jump up and immediately chase after her. Of course, it would go down as the slowest, silliest race in the history of mankind. (Where are the dads, you ask? In the cafeteria, sharing a celebratory dinner of liver and onions.)
5. In spite of years of conditioning, the child will hate baseball and the Reds. I could barely type that sentence without getting the shakes. In fact, I’d have an easier time accepting a shotgun blast to the crotch.
6. My Buddy will kill me in my sleep. I know this isn’t baby related, but still, freaks the shit out of me.
7. The baby will grow up to look less like me and more like Hervé Villechaize.
There you have it, a complete list of fears that terrify all of us dads-in-waiting. I’d like to think they’ll go away, but somehow I doubt it. In fact, I can only assume they’ll get worse. And, on nights where the anxiety keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep, I’ll just turn to the home remedy that calmed my fears when I was younger: a warm glass of milk, a peanut-butter cookie and a hug from Strawberry Shortcake.