By DAN MACDONALD
Tearing off the wrapping paper to a pair of woollen socks or a six-pack of underwear will mean a lot to me on Sunday. It’s the first Father’s Day I get to enjoy as a dad, and I will revel in every minute of it. I’ll tell anyone who listens about the moment my son’s head first entered the world and how his eyes instantly locked onto mine. I’ll be milestone man for a day; proud to remember his first smile and to boast about him being the biggest boy at mother’s group.
Last October my wife and I conceived for a third time. Relying on a three-stick policy of pregnancy confirmation, to say the affirmative result pleased us would be an understatement. We were buoyed by the news, and felt especially fortunate that my wife could get pregnant.
Although we had endured two miscarriages, the positive tests lent us some permission to be excited, but I felt an overwhelming urge to keep my happiness in check.
Before the first miscarriage, my wife and I had been trying to have a baby for six months. Our doctor shared with us all the dos and don’ts of getting pregnant. We cut the don’ts from our diet and did the dos like our lives depended on them. Our diligence proved our dedication to the cause, and showed each other we were committed.
Learning we had succeeded the first time, I was on a high for days. I celebrated by buying parenting and names books. We told our families and friends. Biologically, I had fathered a fetus. But, significantly, in mind and emotion, I was a parent, a dad; our child was going to grow up fortunate – well-educated and part of a loving family.
A fortnight later, the joy turned sour. Scans revealed that at eight weeks, our baby had died. It happens to one in five pregnancies, our obstetrician told us. I was angry for getting ahead of myself. We contributed to that alarming statistic again in August.
Our third time we vowed not to talk names and I baulked at plotting our baby’s future. We would initially limit the people we told to those we could rely upon for support.