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The Wordwitch came round and we talked about things you are not allowed to talk about.

The sort of things that could have got you thrown out of Sing and Sign.
I said the words that would have branded me an outsider from Baby Massage.
We talked about things I would never have said in Sure Start.

When Prole1 was born, in the few minutes and hours afterwards I had a lot of feelings, relief, joy, excitement for the future and a huge realisation that my life had changed.

None of these feelings were particularly focussed around Prole1, except the last, the life change, and even then it was by proxy.

I was relieved that Loz was alive, well and not in any more pain.

I had been really worried, it was a difficult birth, I was really really happy that he and the baby were well, I knew this meant the world to her.

Now was to begin the next phase of our lives together as parents, the thing we had been planning for years.
It was here it was now.

Things with me and Loz would never be the same, we were setting out together on the big adventure, we were going to be a family.

And then.

There was this wriggly over grown baked bean of a baby, squashed up like a pink prune.
It didn’t look like mine particularly.
By that I mean, it just looked like a baby.
Just someone’s baby.
A baby in the room with me.

Loz was fast asleep.

I had dressed this baby in the tiniest of clothes, clothes that were far too big for it.

It was asleep too.

I am not surprised, if I had been through what he had I’d be knackered too.

But as I sat in the darkened delivery room, with just me and my wife and my baby, I looked down at him in his cot and I felt absolutely nothing at all.

This is the awful truth that is only hinted at or spoken about in the third person.

Some parents do not instantly love their babies.

I did not instantly love Prole1.

I did not have a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment of blindng vision.
I did not feel an unbreakable bond.

In truth, a couple of hours before, when the drugs were not working and the alarm bells were ringing and the surgeon was called I just wanted him gone, out, away from my wife.

I was not like Cary Grant or Rock Hudson, pacing the waiting room and ready to manfully take the bad news.
I was there, holding her hand, watching and listening to her pain and just wishing it would all go away.

When we went into the delivery room with seven, seven, seven members of staff all clustered arount Loz and I was back against the wall and looking at them all I thought about how much I wanted to pick her up and take her home and forget all about this baby business.

I just wanted her out of there.

Then suddenly, everyone was gone and I was left with a nice nurse who had obviously showed hundreds of shell shocked fathers how to dress their offspring for the first time.

And then she left and Prole1 and Loz fell asleep.

There was this baby.
I don’t know what I expected really.
I suppose I expected something.
Anything.
I felt nothing.

And no one had said I would feel nothing.

So I instantly thought what a terrible person I was.
I mean, we had talked about it often enough and I had read enough books and websites.

This feeling did not go away.
It was like being given a really expensive watch that you wouldn’t particulary have bought for yourself.
I could see he was precious.
I could see everyone else liked him.
I was constantly being asked if I liked him, if I loved him, if I thought he was cute and I always said ‘yes’.

Even though the answer was ‘not really’.

I mean, what is there to like?
New born babies are little squashed up things.
They yell a lot.
They do not look happy.
You have to endlessly feed, change nappies, wash clothes and not sleep.

Where is the magic?

AND YOU CAN”T SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE ABOUT IT.

I couldn’t say anything to Loz, she had enough going on re arranging her internal organs, not sleeping, trying to replace fluids after continuously vomiting for twenty hours and producing enough hormones to knock out a bull and matador combined.

She was also trying to lean the correct method for breastfeeding, a chapter of our lives together that rates as one of the most traumatic ever.
The early days were bad enough but it took a couple of weeks for Prole1 and Loz to work out breastfeeding in a manner which suited them both.

I could not say anything to any of the Grand Parents. They all would have taken a dim view at that stage.

I could not say anything to any of my friends because I felt like a wretched ungrateful piece of crap the entire time.

Those first few days were just awful really.

I did not think we had made a mistake.

I did not want to go back, I knew we couldn’t and anyhow the present was full and I needed to get on with it.

What worried me in the first few days was that I seemed to have no feelings for Prole1 at all.

It was like a huge secret, like I was having an affair or was suffering from an illness I had to keep from everyone.

It changed of course.
After the first few days I became depressed and after a while the world closed in and I pretty much hated everything about everything.
And I got help.
And Loz and I talked and talked.
And I worked at it, and Loz worked at it and we got through.

I can’t remember when I started loving Prole1.

It came slowly.

It started a couple of days in and grew I suppose.

There was no lightening moment.
There was no morning realisation that I now loved him.

There was a slow build as we bent our lives into a family and settled into our new skins.
We were better as three.
I loved that she loved him.
I loved that he became calmer when I was around.

He stopped being a baby and became my son and I would never have swapped him for the world.

But it is one of my ‘mental markers’, one of the things I have promised myself I will remember so I know where I have come from and what made me.

That time when I looked at him and waited for the ‘flood of love’ that did not come.

It is safe to talk about all these years later.

Sometimes it is love at first sight.

Sometimes you have to start working at a relationship straight away.

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