Monday, 31 October 2016

A Drive to be Forgotten

That’s it, just come a little closer, I’m going to tell you something tonight, a chilling tale of a man’s complete inadequacy.  It will be a story to curdle your blood and have you sitting up at night wondering about how such a man has managed to survive for thirty something years.  

I need you to imagine yourself in a hospital labour ward.  Your wife has just suffered through a very painful, though quite speedy labour, and you have a newborn daughter in your arms.  You got it together enough to tell the midwife the name that you and your wife had literally just decided upon.  I mean it.  We had a number of names that we were pondering, I had vetoed some of my wife’s more outrageous suggestions (I don’t care how much you like 70’s soul and funk, we were never going to call our baby Earth, Wind & Fire, no matter how well it describes it’s early days, just imagine how terribly it would go with the registrar) but we had not managed to agree on a name until she popped out.  
Still imagining?  Excellent.  So you’ve cleared the first hurdle, and now you’re being asked if you want to cut the cord.  Normally your immediate reaction to being asked to perform any sort of medical procedure is to look around in panic and hope that the question is being addressed to someone else.  On this occasion though you’re fairly sure that you’re the only one there in a fit position to do this, and the midwife is assuring you that it really is very simple.  You successfully manage to navigate this as well, without changing your new baby in anything other than a medically sanctioned way and now you’re on your way to the less immediately nerve-wracking part of the hospital.  

All this is really just to set the scene and to put you in the frame of mind of our poor new father.  It has been a harrowing few minutes and really you are looking forward to a bit of a nap.  Which, remarkably is exactly what happens.  Your new baby also seems to have had the same idea and she is snoozing merrily as she is wheeled along to the ward.  All three of your are popped into a little room and you immediately find the cosiest spot and join your baby in the land of Nod.  Sadly, there is only one comfortable chair in the room and so your wife has been relegated to the slightly uncomfortable hard chair in the corner.  

Your sweet slumber is coldly disturbed by your wife and the midwife.  They are both saying that actually you can go home now.  You are thrilled at this naturally, mainly because there’s a much more comfortable place to sleep at home than the slightly too small settee that you have been managing with here.  Your baby is still sleeping and you have always liked that old adage, ‘you should sleep when your baby does’.  However, getting home requires transport, in this case driving.  You all get to the car and safely deposit the precious bundle into the back seat.  But here comes the really shameful bit, the moment that you should probably be sitting down for.  I understand that up to now you have been identifying with our hero, and his understated masculinity has been a shining example, so this will really shock you, because as the little family drive home, the eagle-eyed among you, even though it is quite dark, you might notice that the person driving doesn’t look much like our ruggedly handsome protagonist.  In fact, is that...could that possibly be?  Yes, I think it is. He has somehow convinced his wife to drive home.  Surely, after going through labour, and giving birth just a few hours ago she deserves a rest?  But no, there she is, having to navigate the mean streets of Coventry while her husband crafts a, no doubt stupendously worded, email to let his work know he won’t be there for a couple of weeks.

And so there it is, I am the worst. I made B drive home after giving birth.  Amazingly we were only out of the house for around 7 hours and we managed to leave and return to home while the other two children were fast asleep.  And I have made up for it with a number of sleepless nights since then, but that night I will admit, with my head hung low that I failed in my husbandly and fatherly duties.  It probably won’t be the last time, but it might be the most shameful.  I’m sorry to have let everyone down, next time we’ll have a story that makes me look like a proper superhero (which I will have to make up) but I hoped you enjoyed this little look into my darker, less capable, side.


  1. I think people forget how hard it is for the fathers. Thanks for pointing it out! Great post.

  2. Your wife must be amazing ;)

  3. Was it her idea really?

    1. It would be true to say that she certainly looks upon herself as the better driver out of the pair of us. But I think on this occasion she probably would have let me.