The beginning is usually a good place to start but I think I need to go backwards a little to give you the history of what’s happened and why I find myself not only wanting, but needing, to start a blog.
This is unusual territory for me, I am usually a private person and would never have dreamt of publicising my thoughts in such a way but during this whole process I felt very alone and felt that very few people, if any, actually related to what I was going through and although I’m slowly coming out of the other side I still feel like this. This blog is a way for me to put down my feelings and get my thoughts straight in my own head and if anyone reads it that is going through the same thing and it can make them feel just a little bit less isolated then I have done what I set out to achieve. Hopefully through the anonymity I can be honest with not only myself, but anyone who takes the time to read this, something that I am unable to do with the people closest to me.
So let me explain what I am talking about.
I recently became a father!
Nothing unusual there, happens to a lot of people, but, it was the last thing I ever wanted to happen to me.
This is where the problems begin because I am very much in the minority, part of the strange breed of human that doesn’t feel the need to reproduce and I know many people find it hard to understand this. I have nothing against children, quite the opposite, but never saw them fitting into my life. One of the most regular comments I heard was “oh but you would make a great father!” and without sounding too conceited I never doubted this, I am a calm, logical person who had plenty of patience with any situation but people couldn’t understand that I just didn’t WANT to be a father.
I want to point out before I go further that since he arrived I love him more than I could ever of imagined just as everyone said I would.
The “reluctant” part of my name comes from the way this situation came about not my approach to fatherhood now.
This situation was thrust upon him as well, he is an innocent party and boy is he beautiful, he breaks my heart daily and I am sure he will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I intend to give him the best upbringing I possibly can and he will never know how scared and desperate I was when this all started, unless he finds himself in the same situation and, should that happen, I will be there for him with the benefit of wisdom and understand his situation like no one else around him.
So why was I so scared?
I just never wanted kids in my life and all the paraphernalia that comes with them. I’m not just talking nappies, constant feeds and sleepless nights, I’m talking about the pressures that come from family (the jealous Grandparents have already given us grief, more about that another day!), advice from every single person you meet, even though you didn’t ask for it and generally the way it changes people, I didn’t want to change. I was happy with my comfortable life with my partner of many years and had no intention of rocking the boat. I liked my routine and I liked the lifestyle I led, it wasn’t anything that would be reported in the press but it was peaceful,I liked my house the way it was, liked the fact that I could focus all my efforts into work, love and everything else that I already had going on around me.
At this point it’s prudent to mention my partner. She was, and is, everything to me. We met at work, became friends and very quickly became more. We just fit perfectly from the start and in the ten years we have been together have barely argued. I know it sounds a bit idyllic but I promise that is how it is.
Did she want children? This was a conversation we had very early on, I wasn’t about to lead anyone on, so before it got serious I was honest that this was how I felt and she said she was happy with this. She explained that she wanted to be with me and if that meant no children then she was fine with it, she had never had strong feelings about kids anyway. As time went on she even said that she felt the same.
Also I have come into fatherhood a lot later than some. I’m not some teenager that knocked up his girlfriend after a drunken fumble at a party. I’m approaching my forties and have always said that this was the way I felt from around the age of twenty, something that people wouldn’t believe and they always insisted I would change my mind, well I proved them wrong for almost twenty years but accidents do happen.
When I started following people on Twitter searching for an audience for my thoughts I searched for anyone tweeting about “accidental pregnancy” and was shocked by some of the responses. According to some of the insightful comments it seems that they don’t believe that, in this day and age, there is such a thing as an accidental pregnancy but believe me any contraception can fail without you knowing before it’s too late and that’s all that happened here.
Which brings me to how I found out. Valentines day 2012, we had agreed to keep it low-key this year as we were renovating our home and didn’t feel that we needed to be extravagant to be romantic so we agreed on a quiet night in, she requested that we didn’t fuss with gifts, flowers etc. and it was to be just the two of us in our new home with a soppy film. Sounded great, apart from the film, and I look forward to our cosy evening after I had finished work. I couldn’t comprehend how differently that evening was going to be and I innocently drove home with a warm feeling.
As we settled down after dinner for our planned evening I knew something was wrong, as I have said we had been together a while so you just know, but every time I enquired what was weighing on her mind she brushed off my concerns with explanations of being tired and I accepted this at first. It gradually became apparent that there was more.
Now, as a male of the species, and women you all know that we believe that everything revolves around us, I naturally presumed I had done something wrong and could only be that I hadn’t bought chocolates or flowers so I kept on…….and on……..and on. The longer it went on, questions not being answered, I felt myself starting to panic, I could tell something was wrong and I saw her eyes filling up. She told me that she couldn’t tell me as she finally let go and broke down, sobbing, clearly unable to look me in the eyes!
At this point, I felt sick, I have a habit of thinking the worst and this night was no exception! Was she leaving me? Had she cheated on me? Was it both? I begged her to tell me. The one thing that never entered my mind came out of her mouth:
“I’m so sorry, I think I am pregnant.”
I have never felt two extremes in such a small space of time before, the relief that she wasn’t cheating on me was overwhelming and I broke down but then I realised what she had just said.
“You think you are pregnant?”
The next couple of hours felt infinite as she explained that she hadn’t intended on saying anything until she had had a test, which would have been the next morning, but couldn’t keep it in. We spoke until the early hours, surprisingly calmy about what was happening and I reassured her that everything would be ok whatever happened, even though I didn’t believe it myself. I managed to stay calm because I knew there was still a fifty-fifty chance that I wasn’t about to have parenthood thrust upon me.
We eventually did a test at 5am the following day and the result…well I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here typing this if it had been a different outcome.
I will have to leave it here tonight, my new family requires my attention and it has taken a small miracle for me to find the time to do this so far. This is my first blog and I do hope I have stayed as honest as I wanted, reading back its the tip of the iceberg and there is a lot more to come.
So I am not leaving anyone with similar feelings hanging, I will finish up by saying that no matter how bleak things look right now and this may have been the last thing you wanted it does get better, everyone told me this and I always asked them “Did you want kids?”, they would always answer “yes, at some point” so I never felt that they could start to feel what I was feeling. I didn’t want kids, I now have one, my life is no longer on the path I chose to be on but I am slowly realising that it’s not a dead-end, it’s just a different direction and no one has given me the map for this route so I do know what you are going through.