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“Inspiration when I write, I see my daughter’s eyes”
Common, ‘The 6th Sense’

“so if i should ever fall and get caught in a hustle, let ’em know that i died while i fought in the struggle/from the hood rats to rich kids lost in a bubble spray painted on the streets headed to subway tunnels/write it down and remember that we never gave in, the mind of a child is where the revolution begins/so if the solution has never been to look in yourself, how is it that you expect to find it anywhere else”
Immortal Technique, ‘Caught in a hustle’

Anti Iraq demo in Mexico

slow

March 19, 2007

Wow, the days are going by slowly. This is the baby’s ‘date’, yet no sign yet of an imminent arrival. We look set to be arranging a Caesarean section for later this week, a plan that will be confirmed by a visit to the doctor tomorrow.

Over the weekend I can clearly remember a realisation where I suddenly knew that the moment when she’s born, and I’m holding her in my arms will only be comparable to an explosion. All my musings, writing, and imaginings will not amount to much, will be blown apart in fact, by this – life – in my hands.

time travel

March 15, 2007

Well, not quite. But these last few days feel like they’re going incredibly slowly. The doctor said yesterday that it seems our little girl is in no immediate rush to escape the womb, and she’ll probably go past her specific ‘date’.

On a side note, I wish you could all see this video we recorded the other day of A’s stomach. When our daughter decides she fancies a bit of a stretch, A’s belly ends up looking like something out of Aliens. I know, I’m probably not meant to think like that. But I can’t help it, as A’s skin rises and falls, and limb shapes can be seen almost, so it seems, ready to burst out. Incredible.

father’s eyes

March 12, 2007

Over the weekend my mum emailed me 3 scanned photos of me as a newborn baby, in order that we can make comparisons with our own daughter on arrival.

My favourite shot, by far, is one taken when I was all of a day old. Held in my father’s arms, and looking up into his downward-turned face. A look of trust and love.

I couldn’t wish for a better prelude to my own Moment.

the womb

March 7, 2007

Our baby is due any day now, although the ‘date’ is not for another 2 weeks. Apparently, she is ‘poised’, head down, ready to make a move.

There have been several times when I’ve recalled my own birth, or, more accurately, my mum’s retelling of my own birth, an arrival that was primarily marked by the fact that I was both 2 weeks late and even then, my poor mother had to be induced.

I shared this a little hesitantly with A in case (feel free to laugh at this point) there was some genetic handing-down of reluctant birth syndrome, and she felt fated to a similar ordeal. In fact, she merely laughed in my face, and pointed out that even as an unborn child, I was so lazy that I felt no need to leave the womb, where all my nutritional needs were met, and I just floated around feeling rather warm and cosy.

celebrating life

March 2, 2007

Back in November, I posted an entry in which I mused that fatherhood was perhaps ‘the ultimate activism‘. Well here is an excerpt from a book I’m reading by Henri Nouwen called ‘The Road to Peace’. The bit in question was originally written in the context of the threat of Cold War nuclear obliteration, but it is easily transferrable to our own upside-down world, where billions are spent on death rather than life.

“Having a baby seems such a natural, obvious, and rather unspectacular event. But for those who are deeply aware that we are living on a planet that is being prepared for total destruction, in a time that we can be sure only of the past and the present but not for the future, giving life to a new human being becomes an act of resistance. Bringing into the world a little child totally dependent on the care of others and leading it gradually to maturity is true defiance of the power of death and darkness. It is saying loudly: For us life is stronger than death, love is stronger than fear, and hope is stronger than despair.” (Nouwen, The Road to Peace, p.43)

rehearsals

February 27, 2007

This last week¬† there’s been a few opportunities to practise for the big day, as A and myself have attended some pre-natal classes, and also picked up some tips for labour. Although, given the nature of the woman’s ordeal, this could sound ridiculous, I wasn’t aware of quite how much the responsible male was meant to do.

Breathing, contractions, foot massages, warm bath, pacing up and down, reassurance, rubbing a small foam ball over the stomach and back…it’s all part of the game plan. The ‘calming influence’ is probably one of the more amusing (and, coincidentally, vital) roles I need to play, since everyday recently when A has had a one-off contraction, my reaction has been to bolt up with huge eyes and exclaim,”Is this it??!”

But of course, my role is the Supporting Actor to the stars of the show, and, when it really is ‘game on’, I’m looking forward to tossing my metaphorically well-worn script on the ground and bringing it home. And, as in most things, there’s plenty to be thankful for. Someone told me last week that there’s a tribe in the Brazilian interior where the man sits next to the woman during labour as she squeezes his penis in proportion to the amount of pain she is feeling at any one time.

be ready

February 20, 2007

Well, in about a week’s time the baby would not be classified as ‘premature’ if born. So although going full term puts the birth in mid-March, in theory, if she’s good and ready, my expectancy might enter a new phase somewhat sooner…

And, unlike a trip to the cinema, or a dinner date, I can’t pencil this one in. It’ll just

happen.

Without (much) warning, the point that will forever separate ‘before’ and ‘after’ will arrive.

I feel like I should have some kind of detailed game plan written down, beyond the basics (e.g. call the doctor and go to the hospital rather promptly).  Some kind of motivational, chest-thumping, deep-breathing mantra to repeat aloud as I step into fatherhood.

But I think I’ll just go with the flow. One minute, I’ll be sitting around, working, perhaps reading a book, eating a bit of dinner…and the next. It’s game on.

unconditional

February 16, 2007

As the date of the birth approaches, people ask me if I’m feeling scared.

And to be truthful, I’m not afraid about things such as the baby’s physical health, will everything be perfect…

The thing that gives me pangs is for my daughter to know she is safe

and loved

unconditionally.

This I want more than anything else.