Pregnant 4-6 weeks
After sitting on the cold tiled floor for a few minutes I think that might be bad and get up. I look at my face in the mirror. My mother was ten years younger than me when she had my brother Michael. Did she look like this? It was so normal for them, but she must have felt something, the first time at least. I put on makeup – not enough to be obvious, just to make myself look flushed with pleasure – and go next door. It smells like boy after the makeup. He’s face down, twisted with a cold, white arm hanging over the side. The Father. We made a baby. I push his shoulder gently. He grunts. I do it again.
‘Ah leave it will you, I’ll get up when I’m ready!’
I leave it.
Downstairs I make toast and jam and a cup of tea, and sit in the cold kitchen chewing, reading yesterday’s paper. We’ll need to have the heating on more, it can’t be cold like this. I think? We’ll need to get a proper rubbish collection. And a baby seat. He’ll need to get his driving license. He’ll need to drink less. He’ll need to give up smoking – in the house, at least. No – altogether. It stays on your hands and on the walls and things. We’ll need to move house. We’ll need to find a school, you have to enrol very early. Should we homeschool? Would I be able? I think so. But then he wouldn’t be socialised. I could put him in lots of groups. But that costs money and school is free. More or less. It would still be cheaper to keep him at home than to send him to school, and then we could use the extra money for the groups. We will have no extra money, ever again.
I don’t know how I feel about it, I mean I’m over the moon, I can’t believe it, I’m overjoyed, you know? I’m the happiest man on the planet! But you know, it’s such a huge thing, I mean I know people do it every day, you know, but it’s my first time and it’s a big thing, you know? I want to be . . . I want to be the best father I can possibly be, you know? I want to give her the world, I want to spoil her rotten. I want her to have everything. I’m going to give up smoking. But in the meantime can I bum one of yours?
Kathy D’Arcy is writer in residence with Tigh Fili Cultural Centre, Cork, and has published two poetry collections: Encounter (Lapwing 2010) and The Wild Pupil (Bradshaw 2012). She studies and teaches Irish women’s literature with UCC’s MA in Women’s Studies programme, and also teaches creative writing. She originally qualified as a doctor, and now works with homeless young people in Cork city.