I have been lied to by every sitcom and mid-range comedy film I have ever seen. There are no plastic models of uteruses, and we do not sit in a circle and practice breathing, while I try not to faint at faint at stories about tearing, and stitches and various bodily functions that frankly don't crop up in games of D&D all that often unless you've done something really wrong.
Instead, the nice lady talks gently about how the needs of the mother must be addressed as well as the needs of the baby. Yawn. I fight the urge to stand up and tell everyone how I got into scriptwriting, which is what I've had to do every time I've been in a room with plastic chairs, bottles of water and more than five people in the past five years. At various points I try to meet the gaze of the only other male parental unit in the room, and go 'cuh', but he's busy leaning forward, frowning studiously, while the nice lady goes 'blah blah blah' in the background. He's not observing what's going on around him at all! His blog post will be rubbish. I am already the winner!
Patroclus gently nudges my foot (ow) and I realise we are being urged to discuss Our Fears About Baby. Well, my main fear that we are moving into a parallel world where the Definite Article has unaccountably vanished seems to have come true without anyone else noticing. I consider asking the 'What if Baby is really really ugly?' for a laugh, but decide not to in the end. In the end I come with something about dropping Baby (argh, now I'm doing it) on a tiled floor, just to keep the meeting moving. I can't remember what the reassuring answer was. Anyway, I have big goalkeeper's hands, it'll probably be fine.
Now, says the nice lady, let's talk about all the positive things. What have you all been looking forward to?
Patroclus and I exchange a look, and it suddenly occurs to both of us that we have been expecting nothing but unrelenting horror for the forseeable future, with the best possible result being that after eighteen years or so, Offspring learns to treat us with a sort of affectionate disdain.
Every one else is looking too shy to speak. Dammit, I could have cleaned up, if I could think of any positive aspect of baby having. Patroclus and I rack our brains. Nothing.
Well, says the nice lady (we lean forward, expectantly) sometimes parents learn to take things at a slower pace. You often find yourself singing little songs to yourself! And making a little commentary to yourself as you go about the house. And when Baby is a little older, a simple five minute trip down the road can take half an hour, as you have to stop and make a story about every leaf and snail you pass.
That appears to be it. Patroclus and I slump back in our chairs. These are all things we do anyway. Bugger.
Finally, the nice lady talks about to juggle both aspects of parenting. She seems to be under the impression that all mothers stay at home, while all fathers go to work! Fortunately, ours is a more modern relationship, where Patroclus works from home, while I sit around the house and turn down work, and play games on the X-Box, and sometimes fall asleep in the afternoon.
This is going to be easy!
On the way out, I sing the Nokia theme song, and stop to look at a snail.