The Byford Files

The Seven Fears of an Expectant j3

My lovely wife and I were conversing one day about an article she had read which detailed the top seven fears in expectant fathers. At the time, I was closer to a sustained state of confusion rather than fearful of anything. It got my mind moving a bit, though. Because I wasn’t fearful of anything, was I ready? Or am I now fearful of fatherhood for the reasons stated in the article like, “Sure, I’m scared of that.” Here are the top seven fears of new fathers according to this author:

1 Security Fears

Will I be able to provide for my family. You don’t grind, you don’t shine. But it goes further. It’s providing emotionally for not only the child, but the partner. I guess, I’m somewhat susceptible to this. Everyone’s concerned these days about financial stability. You see a couple of layoffs and you keep your head on a swivel. I’m probably less concerned about carrying my emotional weight. My middle name is “Cries During Toasts.”

2 Clutch Performance Fears

We’re talking about birthing room performance here. When the perimeter has been breached and this kid has made her way into the final stretch, will you perform? Many men fear of fainting in the moment. Getting queasy and throwing up. Don’t think I have any real fears of that moment except if there’s a way to get ejected by someone other than your lovely wife. Like would a nurse penalize me for, say, a pregnancy joke I’ve been holding onto for five months for that moment? Would I be asked to leave? What if I slip and drop a perfectly placed obscenity in amazement like when my family came home from Joyland and our dishwasher had overflowed? Would they tell me to go into the other room? It’s not a fear that I’m really concerned about. Still good.

3 The Povich Effect

The fear that you ain’t the daddy. It comes out with red hair like Michael Rappaport. The article articulates this fear is closer to an almost surreal emotional moment where the dad believes that there is no possible way that he could have contributed to a miracle such as this. “He’s dwelling on his own inadequacies: ‘It’s too monumental, too godlike, being part of the creation of life. Someone bigger than me must have done it.'” Nope, incorrect, he’s scared that his lovely wife was col’ creeping. There ain’t no other way of cutting it. Not scared of this bad boy at all. Secure enough in our marriage to know that Ellison is my work. That girl is mine.

4 Fear of Your Own Mortality

Apparently, for many men, now fulfilling the older role in a family unit leads to many fears of their own mortality. The recognition that your child will likely outlast you sparks a number of fears in men. Don’t know if I fear death at all. I don’t wanna die, but I don’t fear it either. It certainly isn’t anything I’m fearful of as an expectant father. I’m more fearful of opening a sagging diaper.

5 Fear of Your Partner or Baby Dying During Birth

Sure, I’m fearful of this. It happens. But then again, there’s millions of babies that are successfully brought into this world every year. The mortality rate is quite low. Expressed as a percentage, it’s currently hovering around .017%. That’s pretty low. If that was a batting average, you’d have to play close to 10 seasons in the major leagues and never miss a game and only achieve one solitary hit in your career.

6 Relationship Fears

Fear that your relationship with your partner will change when the baby arrives. I’ve already accepted this. Our relationship changed with the addition of a beagle. Even more when we introduced another. And, Jax fights me for his mother’s affection. That’s a dynamic that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Dude wants to kill me. Knowing you have that in the home is a complete freakfest. I’m serious. He wants to kill me. That’ll throw a kink in any relationship. Our relationship is good. Just different than it used to be. Yes, I feel Ellison will change it. But I’m not scared of that. I love my lovely wife.

7 Women’s Medicine Fears

Safe to say that I don’t know much about anything medical. It comes from lack of experience. Rarely am I sick. And when I am, my lovely wife will tell you, I rarely do anything about it. I just push through it and conquer it with coffee and vitamin C. The only thing in our medicine cabinet I recognize is ibuprofen. Everything else is a crapshoot. So when my lovely wife gets “all medical” on me, I don’t have a clue if she’s talking about her pregnancy or someone dying of cancer. And when we’re at Miles Davis’ office, I feel completely inadequate. That’s where they get to talk in this secret language with each other. I’m just sitting in the corner in wonderment thinking, “What in the hell are they talking about?” It’s alright, though, not the first time that I’ve felt stupid. Won’t be the last. I’m just trying to keep up. I try to keep it conversational. Know enough to term-drop and not get myself into too much trouble. Like if I was asked to make a 911 call, I could explain what’s going on. Miles, on the other hand, intimidates me. In a good way. More on that later. And it’s not because he’s the greatest jazz trumpeter of all time.

I’ve thought for some time about what scares me in all this baby madness and I’m prepared to deliver my own top seven fears of an expectant father. While I respect the article from which the above material was pulled, I don’t feel any of those fears except for one. That either makes me atypical or that article totally inaccurate. Probably a little of both, but not all of either. Without further adieu, here’s my top seven…in order, no less.

The Seven Fears of an Expectant j3

1 Fear for the Baby’s Health

No question. Did we do it all as instructed? Did I push my lovely wife too much? Did she get enough sleep? Did she eat right? Count the fingers and toes. Is she breathing alright? It’s nerve-racking. The other day, my lovely wife said she hadn’t feel Ellison move for a while and I freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. I was wondering if there was CPR that I could administer immediately. We all know the risks. You hear them. You hear more advice that you’d ever want to listen to. I wasn’t a great student growing up and I feel like one of these days it’s gonna catch up with me. Maybe in fatherhood. This is, undoubtedly, my biggest fear.

2 Fear My Daughter Will Not Respect Me

It kinda looks stupid typed out, but I suppose I’ve been wrestling with what kinda father I’m gonna be. How far will my words go? Will she come to me for advice? Will she even care? Will I love too much and push her away? I just have this terrible fear that I’m gonna end up on the outside of the relationship looking in. A therapist would probably say that it stems from some terrible unresolved rejection in my past and I’ve internalized it for years instead of taking it on. I struggle with it at work too. That fear that I won’t be respected and, as a result, the wheels fall off.

3 Fear of the White Foamy Milky Stuff That Flies Out of Their Mouths

Now, I pride myself on my tough stomach. My job growing up was to scoop all the dog turds up out of the backyard. Yeah, glorious occupation. I came across all kinda turds. Thick ones that could break windows after they dried up in the West Texas heat, chocolate yogurt, hairy turds and then the turds that looked like some varmint died in the lawn. I’ve cleaned them all up…every last one of them. I left a clean yard with no so much as a solitary dry heave. I’ve ingested some pretty tough stuff. I even one time inadvertently tasted urine. Long story. Well, not really long as much as that the details of the story won’t help my case much. You had to be there, but probably are glad you weren’t. I didn’t even throw up after that. When I see that white stuff come flying out of a baby’s mouth, I nearly lose it every time. What’s probably worse than the substance itself being strewn across your shirt is that you have absolutely no clue when it’s gonna happen. It just flies out. I’m reminded one Thursday when we did an inshore with the one Ice Cube in Albuquerque and the line was wrapped around the store what seemed to be twenty times. While we’re awaiting Mr. Jackson to arrive, I head into the bathroom and when I walk in, there’s a dude with his shirt in the sink and a little boy sitting on the counter next to him as he frantically scrubbed the garment in the sink moaning, “No. No. No. No. No. No!”

I ask if everything was alright and he told me that his boy puked on him while he was near the front of the line to meet Ice Cube and he had to leave his place in line to go to the bathroom to clean the vomit off of his shirt. While he was telling me, I’m almost spewed like Lard Ass from Stand By Me. Dude probably never met Ice Cube that day. And it’s the kid’s fault. I mean, it’s alright to blame the kid there right? Or is it not only disgusting and unpredictable, but consequence-less too? Maybe so.

4 Fear of Not Balancing Life and Work

I’ve been accused in the past of not balancing my life and work appropriately. It’s a pretty simple fear. You’re absentee because you want to do so well to provide for your family but then you don’t provide for them emotionally and, because of this, they’re left to answer the questions themselves and it leads to a life of drugs, deviancy, crime and life as a stripper. I mean, this has after-school special written all over it. Not the life I want. Nor the life I want for my family.

5 Fear of Not Teaching the Right Lesson at the Right Time

I’ve noticed that parenting is so much doing the right thing and creating the right example, but then it also requires a comedian’s sense of timing as well, I’ve found. You’re constantly being evaluated and watched. How you handle key situations and what you pass along in impressionable episodes is absolute key. I’m not used to being “on” all the time and I’m afraid I’m gonna drop the F-bomb in a joke with the boys and then next thing you know Ellison blurts it out at daycare. I’ve got some growing up to do. Never been a teacher. Never wanted to be. But here we go…trial by fire.

6 Fear my Daughter Will Get Involved in Drugs

I have no doubt that this comes from watching too many episodes of “COPS,” “Breaking Bad,” “Dateline”, “Intervention” or watching Traffic one too many times. I sometimes have fears that I’ll be searching through the ghetto for my drug-ravaged daughter before she overdoses on some stupid street drug. This is probably the most unfounded and completely idiotic fears, but it’s real to me. And it’s probably all self-inflicted. Most of the media I’ve fed myself over the last, say, ten years doesn’t paint such a pretty picture of the world around us and, for that reason, I don’t see the good in the world. I think, sometimes, that everyone’s out to score some drug money. Sure, drugs are a major issue and I’m gonna do everything I can to keep them from my daughter, but it’s not typically something that you’re fearful of before the baby even arrives. Essentially, I think I’m just scared of the world and that’s what I need to find ways to cope with.

7 Fear of the Shrill of Pre-Adolescent Screaming

Hey, I didn’t say they were all reasonable fears. I worked retail and been public enough to recognize the obnoxious and deafening screams of playful girls. I don’t respond well to it at all. I hate it, frankly. Sure, I wish that I could have an angelic, quiet and well-behaved girl in Ellison, but a quiet girl is not always a happy girl. The screaming, giggling and piercing sounds of a slumber party of five girls…this ain’t for the faint of heart. That’s real talk right there, homie.

Sox took another against the Rays. Tampa Bay doesn’t even love Tampa Bay. It loves the Sox. That huge dome was only a quarter full and about 60% of it was Sox fans. Wonder what impact that has on an owner that has the best team in baseball, but they can only pull together a smattering go home fans. Sox, in the meantime, have won 7 of their last 8. Not calling it a comeback, but Wyricks are most ferocious when down, but not quite out. We’re starting as the fourth team in the AL East. Enough of the season pissed away. Let’s get this thing going.

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2 thoughts on “The Seven Fears of an Expectant j3

  1. I fear that any future child of mine will have crappy taste in music. Slipknot, Insane Clown Possee, Justin Bieber….whatever. I think it will be payback for my two years spent loving New Kids on the Block.

    You, sir, are going to rule as a father.

  2. Amanda says:

    Through all of the fears parenthood is amazing. Also, the same fears you have now are nothing compared to when they arrive. I think fears, irrational and rational, make us better parents. Parents who have no fear have kids on Springer. I am positive you are going to be an exceptional father because of your attitude toward life and all things Jeff. Congratulations!

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