If you don’t have kids your are probably sitting there in front of your computer safe in the knowledge that human gestation, just like cattle, is a 9 month cycle. If you are pregnant, or have been recently, you will likely be more precise and refer to it as 40 weeks. As a father, I can tell you that both of these are completely inaccurate. No I am not talking about all those babies born within the first standard deviation or even those babies that are statistical outliers. I am informing you that we have been miseducated:
Human gestation is a 12 month cycle.
Before Katie was born someone actually warned me about the “fourth trimester,” but I could not yet comprehend the concept. Even during the first 3 months of Katie’s life I never really appreciated the accuracy of this characterization. We were so lost in the reality of being parents — the anxiety, the helplessness, the responsibility — that we had no perspective. Now that we have come through our second “fourth trimester” I can unequivocally attest to its accuracy. For the first three months after a child is delivered, they might as well still be attached to their mother by the umbilical cord. Lets face it, breasts are just umbilical cords with an easily damaged, difficult to seat connector. If you are a new dad you just need to be aware:
During the fourth trimester Dad is irrelevant.
The exciting thing is, I am no longer totally irrelevant in my sons life. Sure I am nowhere near as relevant as Mom, but he understands that my nose is not a nipple and he is happy to smile at me. We can sit on the couch and listen to a little Death Cab for Cutie — while I am still unwilling to seriously commit to non east-coast indie, he loves them — or we can lay on the floor together — he will practice rolling over and I will read the latest Paste Magazine. Really it’s just pretty cool to be able to hang out with my son who now understands that there are people in his life besides his Mom. This time, between infant and mobile, was one of the best with Katie. She still thought Mom and Dad were the greatest thing ever and wasn’t capable of getting into too much trouble. I am really looking forward to the next few months with our new baby.