It’s never too early to start being a dad - even when your kid’s in utero.
The moment I felt that first kick from my soon-to-be firstborn, fireworks went off in my heart. I gasped, grinned from ear to ear and a tear formed in my eye. It was like a secret sign from our baby. He was real. He moved independently. I’d seen him, knew about him and now I could finally feel him.
With my second child, there was an extra special moment of intimacy before she was born. My partner and I were in an antenatal appointment together, and the GP was checking things over. She was feeling around to see if the head was engaged, and then she turned to me.
“Do you want a feel?” the GP asked, and placed my hand in just the right spot. She showed me exactly where to grip and then jiggled my hand, and I could feel my daughter’s head. Not just in some abstract sense, but her actual head!
It was like a pilot light had sparked and caught alight in my chest and a feeling of warmth spread through my body. Suddenly, it was all a million times more real. I grinned like an idiot and I think that smile stayed on my face ‘til she was born.
If you have the chance to do this with the help of a midwife or doctor, don’t be squeamish about it… just get in there and have a go.
Getting to know you
Those first magic encounters with my babies-as-bumps were the start of something special. I’d rub them, chat to them, kiss them and tell them about myself. I would gently feel around and get kicks and feel jiggles as our son rolled around in there (when he still had room). Sometimes I’d press an ear to him to listen, and get kicked in the head. There’s nothing quite like it.
It’s around about week 18 of the pregnancy that the baby can actually hear when you speak to it, and I remember having some pretty one-sided conversations with the bump. I figured that baby was going to spend a lot of time in my arms, and I wanted my child to know me, to know the sound of my voice, that I loved it and that I’d be there to hold it when it came into the world.
I have no idea whether my babies got anything out of it, but I know that I sure as hell got something out of it.
Sure, I’d already bought a cot and onesies for our baby, but it wasn’t until I actually felt those first jiggles and kicks that the reality of fatherhood hit me. That there was a real living, breathing baby in there and life was never going to be the same again.