The moment your wife/fiancé/girlfriend/neighbor/pizza delivery girl tells you that she’s pregnant with your baby gives you that intense “Shit just got real” feeling. Later, when you see the first ultrasound of the alien-like creature that will become your child, you realize that shit wasn’t really real before but, now that you can see a picture of it, shit just got real. A few months after that, when your female baby host walks out of the bathroom looking like she just swallowed a watermelon whole, it’s like the realness you felt before was so not real and suddenly shit is the realest that real has ever been.
But all of that realness wasn’t really real. Shit didn’t get real. You might think it got real, but it didn’t. Because no matter what she said, or what you saw on an ultrasound, or how monstrous her belly appears, it’s all conceptual. Then one night you’re laying in bed, resting your hand on what you thought was a one of those giant exercise balls, and you feel a tap against your palm.
“Did you feel that?” she asks excitedly.
“Feel what?” you reply dumb-assedly.
“The baby kicked,” she says, leaving out the “you idiot” part.
You’re too stunned to believe that the tap was what she claims it was until it happens a second time. Then a third. Now your jaw is on the floor and your eyes are wide as saucers because your unborn child has just reached out and touched your hand for the first time.
And that, my friends, is when shit gets real.
Lisa started trying to tell me that she could feel the baby kicking about 6 months before she got pregnant. Every twitch or gas bubble or eyelash that floated down and landed on her stomach was, “I CAN FEEL THE BABY MOVING!” Like a dutiful significant other should, I mostly ignored her. But eventually I succumbed to her insanity and started placing my hand upon her ample stomach, pretending to concentrate really hard on feeling for movement while I watched Blacklist out of the corner of my eye. Every so often she’d look at me questioningly, as if she just felt something and wanted to know if I did as well. I learned to feign a disappointed look and shake my head sadly. Truth be told, I didn’t expect to feel anything for a few more weeks and her claims that she could seemed a little “girl who cried wolf” to me. So the night that it actually happened I hit more of a state of shock than I did when she told me that she was pregnant.
The first little poke was gentle. So much so that I thought I might have imagined it. Then a second one came and I knew something was going on but I’m not sure that I was completely convinced. The third one was so strong that it felt like someone flicked me in the middle of my hand and I couldn’t think straight. I started grinning so hard I felt like my face would burst while I simultaneously struggled to fight back tears. Lisa was laughing at me and at how powerful the kick/punch/headbutts were from inside of her, although I think part of her joy stemmed from proving that she wasn’t delusional. I was simply astounded.
My child, the actual living being growing inside my fiancé, had made physical contact with me and proven that he/she was real. I can say unequivocally that I was, in that moment, the most amazed that I have ever been in my entire life, and I was reasonably certain that my heart was going to explode. I was so filled with love for both Lisa and our baby that it consumed me in a way I never thought possible. It gave me an entirely new meaning to the word “life”.
The baby went crazy for a few minutes, punching, kicking, throwing elbows, trying for an armbar but ultimately finishing the umbilical cord with a rear naked choke. All while I sat there like a big fucking dummy all smiles and watery eyes and probably lactating nipples, lost in space.
Now her belly gets hand time every night. It also gets some ear time, in case the baby tries to tell me something (my kid is obviously a genius, like daddy, and can already speak). It gets face time, and kiss time, and plenty of conversation time, because that baby in there has something that no human has ever had before in the history of my life.
My undivided attention.
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