Everyone tells you that having a baby will change your life.
When people say this to you before your child is born, you nod politely and smile, while thinking they’re idiots for allowing their lives to alter just because a tiny little being entered the fray.
You tell yourself you’re a bloody bloke and you’ll watch just as much Game Of Thrones and drink as much beer when that baby eventually comes along.
And then when said baby does come along, you realise everyone was right and you were full of crap.
Which, incidentally, is what your newborn is full of too.
Your life changes forever, of course, but the first few days, weeks and months include some particular shifts that may come as a shock. Here they are.
1. YOUR HEAD WILL EXPLODE
Arriving home with your newborn baby for the first time is a little like that recurring dream that you’re back at school and have to take an exam without doing any revision. You haven’t a clue what’s going to come up, but you know it’s going to be hard.
2. YOU WILL FORGET EVERYTHING
Linked to your head exploding, but a very different kind of feeling. When you’ve just had a baby, expect seven or eight thoughts to run through your frazzled brain every second. Think of it as a bit like having Sherlock Holmes’ mind palace, but your palace is made out of melted chocolate.
If you don’t immediately perform a task that pops into your head, you simply won’t get it done.
3. YOU WILL GET FAT
You know that thing where women get really big before they have a baby, then they shed loads of weight once they’ve had it? Expect that to happen to you, only in reverse.
The only gym you’ll see once you’ve become a dad is the jungle-themed one your baby lies on. You’ll be too tired to exercise, anyway – your main manual labour now involves stuffing your face full of meat-heavy freezer meals and copious amounts of cake.
4. BUT YOU WILL BECOME A LIGHTWEIGHT
In the run-up to the birth of your baby, it’s highly likely you will have been laying off the booze. It helps to be sober if looking after your partner when, you know, she can barely move.
Once the baby is in your life, you may stick with the teetotalism, given that you’re clumsy enough with your newborn without having sank three pints, so why make things even harder?
So be warned, when you do finally get the chance to unwind and have a drink in the weeks after becoming a dad, take it easy. Half a lager will probably have you dancing on tables, a pint will leave you crawling along the floor.
And let’s not even mention hangovers.
5. YOU WILL CRY… A LOT
There’s going to be tears and plenty of them. The slightest thing will set you off: a kind commuter letting you get your pram off the train in front of them; a gift of some much-needed frozen food from a neighbour – even the ‘competition time’ bit on Loose Women will have you in buckets.
Oh, and your baby might make you well up slightly too.
6. YOU WILL LOSE TOUCH WITH THE WORLD
You won’t watch the news on television or read it on your phone for at least a month. In the first – and potentially last – year of the Trump administration, that isn’t a particularly bad thing.
7. YOU WILL BECOME AN AMAZON NINJA
Before your baby was born, you would peruse the reviews sections of Amazon products for hours before deeming a product worthy of your incoming precious bundle.
Once your baby is in the world and taking up every waking second of your time, you click BUY before you can say, ‘I need this item and I need it right now’.
8. YOU WILL BECOME A SLEEP SENSEI
Nothing can prepare you for the lack of sleep in the first week of parenthood, but transforming into a zombie has one massive advantage; as soon as your baby gets some shuteye and you have the chance to do likewise, you will be out as soon as your head touches the pillow.
9. YOU WILL BECOME A PSYCHOPATH
Pity the fool who comes between you and your new unit. Except pity will be the last thing on your mind when you’re ranting down the phone at some poor customer service worker trying to tell you that baby bouncer you ordered will be a few hours late.
Everything even remotely negative that happens in your life is now a personal affront to you and your family. You’ve become a big angry bear, basically.
10. YOU WILL BECOME LESS SELFISH
An obvious one, perhaps, given that you now have to care for someone small and defenceless when beforehand the only thing you cared about was what time Countdown commenced, but still striking.
And not just because of the new person in your life. After seeing what your partner has gone through, not only in having the baby but in coping with the painful and uncomfortable aftermath, you will realise how lucky you are and act accordingly, doing whatever she says.