OPINION: My very dark slide into fatherhood
I LOVE water slides.
The best are pitch black - you're kept in the dark, the drops and turns are impossible to see coming. It's thrilling.
This is how I feel about becoming a dad.
My wife and I learned the oven light was on at the end of October. We told the world a little after Christmas.
Now that all the cheers and the vaguely-offensive 'You've ruined your life' back-slaps have died down, I feel like I'm back on some kind of super slide.
Sure, it's exhilarating, but there's no guarantee that I'll land softly on a cushion of water.
Who knows what the hell will be at the end of this.
Basically it's what Homer goes through below:
I've done some digging on the internet in an attempt to sneak a peak at what lies beyond the bend.
Apparently soon-to-be dads are mentally healthier than those not expecting a new bub.
Good news! Wait, what's this?
About 9% of Australian men will have "symptomatic or clinical psychological distress" before the new tucker turns five.
Oh and one-third of those already struggling before the baby turns one will be stuck with the same or more agony as the baby turns two, then five. Great.
What's more, new research out last week shows 10 per cent of Australian fathers reported symptoms of clinical depression in the "post-natal" period.
So only one-in-10 of us are going to struggle. That's a relief.
And what should I expect while we're expecting?
Sure we're likely to have a boy or a girl, but what else?
A little monster? A nocturnal beast that feasts not just on my wife, but also devours our sleep and sanity?
Our little 'Spud' will come into a world with nothing but excrement and potential.
It's up to us to to convert this tiny poo factory into some kind of a functioning human. I barely function as a human.
Spud - our genderless placeholder name -- could be the first Australian president, leading the nation's breakaway from the monarchy.
She could be the first woman to hoist a flag on Mars.
He could become an ice addict and steal the wheels off my flying car.
Whatever Spud becomes, any shame will be laid at Dad's feet.
We bask in their reflected glory, but will be doused and set alight by their failures.
Of course, Spud's oven and I aren't drug addicts, alcoholics or maniacs so our baking potato might actually make it out OK.
That's the occasionally terrifying part of all this - the rushing, bruising and harrowing trip down the tube.
At its end, I'll tumble into fatherhood whether I'm ready or not.
It could be worse.
Poor Spud has no idea of the family out here waiting for its arrival. Sucker.
Owen Jacques is an award-winning journalist and publisher of The Hairy Chest.
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