Joni Willa // Taking Over

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What's been the biggest revelation in the early weeks of fatherhood? Nobody tells you just how deep you're in it, until you're in it. 

In the weeks running up to the due date, every person's first question was 'are you ready/organised/prepared?'. I eventually came up with a stock answer to bypass the conversation, because, frankly, I had no idea. We had bought all of the things you're supposed to buy (honestly, SO MUCH SHIT TO BUY, and apparently you NEED it all) and done most of the things we were supposed to do. Hospital bags were packed, we'd read books, followed blogs  & instagram accounts of parents who undoubtedly had their shit together. It seemed, almost, like we were prepared.

Oh my god, we were not prepared.

Joni arrived 4 days early, on a Saturday. 3 days before the 'beast from the east' swung in. Russian interference in our weather system apparently. Despite the photos getting fairly personal, I'm not going to go into detail with my words. Suffice to say, it wasn't plain sailing, but Cat powered through, and Joni joined us, after a struggle. 

I want to take a wee second here to publicise my eternal gratitude and respect for the NHS staff at our maternity hospital. They were, and are, incredible. Literally every person we dealt with over the few days Cat was there, was a dream. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart. You are wonderful and hopefully you have some kind of idea as to how much you're appreciated by the people you help, if not by the people in power.

Anyway, fatherhood, at this point (6 weeks 4 days) is becoming fun. Joni smiled for the first time last week. She still looks grumpy most of the time, but her occasional smiles melt me. I haven't though, forgotten about the trauma of those first 2 weeks. Every expectation I had for that period was chewed up and spit out at my feet, ready for me to fall over in a 4am stupor. I expected sleepless nights, of course. What I had expected a bad night to be, turned out to be what we aspired to. "One day, we'll get two consecutive hours".

People have the tendency to sugar-coat. Understandably so. It's usually an exciting time and nobody wants to piss on a parade. I do wish though, that my expectations had been a little more closely aligned with our reality. It might not have made a difference to what was happening, but I might have been better placed to cope. 

For now, I think that's enough words. Here, instead, is a frank, open & honest document of how we coped (and didn't) with our first week as parents.

Let me finish by saying how grateful & lucky I feel to have this wonderful new person in my life. She's not what I expected, she's a game changer for sure, and if I make one promise to her, it's that I'm never going to take her for granted. 

 This image, of me & Joni, by the immensely talented and very good friend  Nikki Leadbetter

This image, of me & Joni, by the immensely talented and very good friend Nikki Leadbetter