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Junior's Gender Won't Be A Disappointment To Me

23/11/2016 14:28

For the first 41 years of my life I don't think I'd come across the phrase "second trimester."

But ever since my wife fell pregnant in August we've hankered for this time period like Rosie O'Donnell, black America and the US ambassador to Mexico are no doubt looking forward to the day after Donald Trump's presidency.

According to the library of self-help books my wife has devoured in the first 13 weeks of her pregnancy, all of the world's ills, well prenatal-related ones at least, appear to come to an end as soon as a woman enters the second third of her term.

"You can expect a surge of energy as your body really starts pumping out those feel good hormones," the Huggies Guide to Pregnancy predicted.

Now you could strap my wife to the lightning conductor on the Shard in the middle of a thunderstorm and she'd still come down saying she felt in need of a nap so we were both on tenterhooks to see what this "surge of energy" would bring.

But imagine our disappointment when she spent the first day of week 14 offering prayers to our toilet by kneeling with her head bowed over the pan as she had for much of the first trimester. Think a Trump second term and you're halfway there.

While her energy is not yet surging, one thing that has put a smile on her face during this onset of time is that she is now "showing."

It's not much to see, in the "comparing your baby to the size of a piece of fruit" ratio that the NHS's website deal in we are now at "apple," but it's discernible and enough for my wife to reject wearing a skin tight dress the other day. Never has she been so happy NOT to fit into her clothes.

Along with the photograph from her scan which is now in a frame on our mantelpiece next to one from our wedding, it has made Junior's arrival ever more palpable (as has calling him or her "Junior").

It has also led to us discussing what sex we would actually like Junior to be.

Whether "Junior" is a boy or girl worries me not. I can see the benefit of both. If it's a boy I can take him to watch sport with me. If it's a girl I won't have to feel guilty about leaving my wife on her own any more when I go off to watch sport.

(I know that pregnant women can be a bit tetchy - that's something I didn't have to read in a self-help book, I've experienced it enough first-hand - so I should point out to any reading this, that last paragraph is meant as a joke).

But in all seriousness, having a preference for Junior's gender hasn't even occurred to me as a first time dad. A healthy baby is as much as I think I can ask for at my age.

So I had an eye-opening conversation with an old mate who I met on the train to work the other day.

He's very similar to me, having lived most of his 20s and early 30s looking after number one and eating ready meal dinners for one while feeding his obsession with sport.

Now he's turned 40, married to someone ten years younger and about to become a dad for the first time any day now.

Whenever we've met on the train previously the topic of conversation has never roamed beyond sport.

But sat together for an hour on the 7.58 we spoke about paternity leave, how much we admired our wives for clearing up their own sick and the iCandy Peach 3 (if you're a man in your 20s or early 30s who hasn't had a child yet, it's a pram).

He also talked about gender disappointment.

My mate explained how he'd set his heart on having a son so, in his eyes, he could have someone to share his obsession for sport with.

At the 20 week scan he was told he was having a girl and admitted to me he went home and cried and was "down for days."

Now at the risk of sounding like Arnold Schwarzenegger at the end of Terminator 2, I don't know why he was crying and it's not something I'll ever do.

I'll welcome a daughter into my life just as much as I'll welcome a son. I'll enjoy whatever shared interests we have and, more importantly, in this day there should be no glass ceilings to what she can achieve - and one would hope there certainly won't be by the time she reaches working age.

And I would also hope by then I'll be happy for her to meet the President of the United States.

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