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Joining the ‘cult of parenthood’

Published 9:33pm Thursday, July 25, 2013

I try to focus my column on the Suffolk community as much possible, but this week will be different.

My wife and I were booked to attend the birthing center at Maryview in Portsmouth at 7 p.m. Thursday, so you’re reading the column of a first-time dad, or at least a very-soon-to-be one.

At a time like this, it seems fitting to meditate on the “cult of parenthood” from the unique perspective of someone who has almost joined it — someone who, after assembling nursery furniture, visiting Babies ‘R’ Us a few times, intermittently perusing “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and debriefing several friends on the phenomenon, thinks he knows enough about it, but who I suspect is in for some serious schooling.

It’s difficult to describe my state of mind right now, so I won’t even attempt to. Let’s just say that I’m practically mainlining caffeine (two cups before 10 a.m.) after a yearlong coffee hiatus that I only breached (definitely no pun intended) about every 10 days.

As the excitement builds, sleep has been fitful at best for the past couple of weeks. Whenever my wife has risen through the night — with her bladder currently up near her throat, it has been frequent — I go into “it’s coming, get her to the hospital!” mode, which isn’t easy to snap out of.

In my final hours of not having a little creature dependent on me — except a border collie, though I’m sure she’d figure out a way to get fed pretty quickly if I dropped off the earth — my personal take on concepts like “freedom,” “selfishness,” “responsibility” and “compromise” — and others leaning toward the existential — is about to be redefined, I suspect.

Last time that happened, it was as simple as repeating “I do” a few times.

While I gradually come to terms with diapers, the stuff diapers keep from falling on the ground, and … well, diapers and their contents are the main things I’m trying to reconcile … my column will take a two-week break.

Whether I come back and report on my initial experiences in the cult of parenthood for the benefit of mankind is undecided. I’ll make no such commitment now. Maybe I’ll decide readers should be spared the gory details, or maybe I’ll conclude that to do so would be tantamount to betraying the final twist of the best movie in the world to someone who hasn’t seen it yet.

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