Wednesday, 26 March 2014

To all you young fathers out there: A slightly bizarre request...

I've spent much of my time over the last few weeks thinking about images, narrative and movement ideas, and generally preparing for rehearsals for '2+1,' which start on the 7th April.  I've come to realize (unsurprisingly) that my vision is deeply one sided, and that there's a very serious danger that my portrayal of the first few months of a child's life will be seriously biased to the experience of the mother.      Hence I turn to you….

If any of you feel inclined to pen a few words,… to jot down some of the high, and lowlights of your experience, and send them to me, I would be deeply grateful.  It doesn't have to be a long essay, just whatever jumps to mind.  The piece looks at how your life changes in the first few months of your baby's life, and specifically at how this effects the relationship between the you and your partner.  Any tips, quips, memories or anecdotes would be welcome.

If you'd rather not post your ideas on the blog, just send me an email at



  1. I bashed out some stream of consciousness, hope some of this is in someway relevant!

    I have very strong memories of how I felt 'different' as soon as my first child was born. I mean the very moment on birth too. It’s hard to describe but I know my heart didn't melt, I didn't suddenly have a warm glow I wasn't ‘filled’ with love. It was more like a switch being flicked and instantaneously every part of my being just 'knew'. Terribly, terribly wanky, I know, but it was so clear to me that the sounds, smells and emotions of the moment are incredibly strong six years later. That’s how I know it was significant because there are so many millions of things that you experience and expect to remember for a lifetime that have disappeared from my memory, (“do you remember when she did that cute thing?”… “um, no not really) this, to me, proves the ones which stay to be truly significant.

    I can still hear in my mind, on demand, the sound she made as she took her first enormous gulp of breath and the ‘flop’ noise as the surgeon pulled her out (emergency cesarean). This was also true of the second child too – I was, I thought prepared second time round, but the same thing happened with minor differences – this time I was less worried I might put the nappy on backwards (IMAGINE THE SHAME OF DOING THAT!) or burn his arse off in a too hot bath, but when he came flying out at speed it was the same feeling. He provided more of a squelch sound and a short whinge, as I write this I can hear the noise in Dolby Surround Sound.

    I’d say that more than anything else this change in mental state is more significant than is given credit. You go in with 9 months worth of preparation as one person and come out hours later a completely inadequate and unprepared different person. “I’ll be like … this” goes out the window when the reality hits home.

    I suppose what I’m saying, other than I have a weird memory of strange noises my wife’s body has made, is that the biggest change was like a flash at the beginning. The first few months/years were a relatively gentle learning curve after that. I suppose with child 1 there was a lot more quiet time and worry about procedural things. Learning how to change a nappy or heat a bottle of milk or bath a baby is, I found, only hilariously disastrous in movies. After you’ve done each about five times there’s little to write home about. I think the learning curve resets every so often too, just to screw with you. You think you’ve got things sorted and they enter a new phase where all the rules have been subtly bent out of shape.

    It’s easy to get into bad habits and really hard to break them – a biscuit at bedtime becomes a biscuit OR I WON’T GO TO SLEEP EVER AGAIN YOU HORRIBLE PEOPLE AND I WILL PUNISH YOU WITH SCREAMING TEARS AND SNOT SO MUCH SNOT.

    In terms of how it changed the relationship between me and my wife I’m not sure it did all that much – other than the usual not having the same time together or there being another whole person(s) there all the time. But there is a sense of them having always been around – it’s weird because, of course, I know the dates and times of birth (I have to think about it sometimes), but really I’m not sure we think of pre/post baby, they become part of you. We are different, but I’m not sure exactly how because the now seems so permanent.

    Finally, I’d say that having listened to others with and without kids the only thing I’m sure of is that it’s totally different/identical for others. There’s so much scope that I try not to be “it’s this” and more “we did this, but it might not work for you so just relax and try everything until you find what works and stop at that until it no longer works”

  2. Thank you so much Chris, really sweet of you to take the time. It's funny how different things stay with different people, my husband always says that the look on my face when I first saw my daughter was the most amazing thing - pure bliss… all I remember is a vague blur of drugs, pushing and exhaustion, the details are all a blur!
    You're comments about incredible quantities of snot certainly rang true though….and then using her little hands to rub it all over get face and into her hair…aagh!
    Thanks again for your thoughts
    all the best