You Are Pregnant?!?

By Dad…

How does one react when your wife tells you that she is pregnant? Some husbands dance for joy, some enter a state of catatonic shock which takes awhile to get out of, others demand a second opinion and then there are the few who faint.

I did none of the above…

Let me set the stage. I did not like kids. Unsurprisingly, my wife and I had no plans for kids. No, we planned to use all the money we would have spent on kids to travel the world instead. We loved surfing, wake boarding,  cross country ATV, and dreamed of picking up scuba diving, skiing, skydiving (ok, skydiving was just me). The point is, our life plans left no space for a child. Added to that, my experiences with kids completely rid me of any romantic notions of fatherhood. I was a full-time Aikido instructor who taught students of all ages from  3 to as “young” as 70. I would see upwards of 500 different students each week. Sure there were cute kids, but most were, at best, little balls of energy which would put vibrating molecules to shame and at worst, shockingly defiant spoiled brats. You know the kids on YouTube who refused to vacate the nursing room for a breastfeeding mom? You will be surprised at how common kids like that are. Dealing with such kids everyday and seeing the tired expressions of their exasperated parents did not leave me with much fatherly inclinations.

So when I picked up my phone and heard “Dear, I am pregnant. What are we going to do??” my initial reaction was “Oh crap”. Of course, had I expressed that particular thought at that point of time, I might not be around to write this now. Not that my wife was expecting a positive reaction to the news. She had given up her dreams of kids because she knew how much I disliked children. Unlike me, she loved kids and had an innate talent of communicating with them. She was popular with the children and could always sweet talk them into cooperation. The children of my classes naturally gravitated to her and I never forgot the sacrifice she was making for me in deciding not to have kids. And suddenly, she was pregnant…

I knew that as much as I might feel that my world was falling apart under my feet, it had to be much worst for her. So I surprised her and myself with a calm but rambling response:

“Umm..Ok. Is that why you have been throwing up so much recently? Yeah, there must be it. Makes sense…Ok..We’ll talk about this tonight ok?”

Granted, it was not a Hollywood worthy response, but it was the best I could manage at the moment. I hung up the phone and just felt numb. How were we going to afford raising a baby in Singapore where the cost of raising a child is so high? We would not be able to afford our pursuit of our hobbies, not be able to travel adventurously anymore, no more relaxing weekends, late nights, and carefree existence. I literally felt my dreams slipping away from me. Even more frightening that that was the realization that I was going to become one of the tired, exasperated, soulless dads I pitied every time I ended my classes and watched the children resume their reign of terror over their parents. And I actually considered the alternative..

Perhaps it was fated that just at that moment, a child ran screaming across my path. I looked at him and realized that if I really chose to abort the baby, I would forever regret it. I would be haunted every time I looked at a child, reminded that I ended a life simply cause I was too selfish. And what would an abortion have done to my wife? Given her love of children, she would have been even more devastated. “Is this what my baby would look like today if he was alive?” “Would the baby have been a boy or a girl?” “If we had kept her, she would be 5 years old now..”  Thoughts like those would haunt us both forever. I knew we would never recover from it and that sooner or later, it would tear us a part.

No..I could not live with such a selfish act nor could I put my wife through such torment. Neither was I going to be trapped in a nightmare for the rest of my life. When I discussed it over with my wife and we decided to keep the baby, I told myself that this was going to be a good thing. I took the first step in changing my mentality towards children. We would love the baby and raise him or her well. The little one would not become one of the little terrors, and my wife and I were not going to one of those burned out parents. We would enjoy our life together. Sure it would be tough, but we would experience the joys of parenthood that everyone keeps talking about.

Right?

I had no idea the ride I was about to step into….

to be continued…

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