TV’s Advice For The Expectant Father

October 4, 2012


In these final days leading up to having the baby, there’s been a lot of advice for me, the dad-to-be, on what to expect, and how to prepare.  Lots of clearly false information, doled out by so-called “doctors,” so-called “books,” and “Doulas” which, for all I know, could be the Dutch word for “hippie.”  Lots of hoo-ha about packing bags, and timing contractions, and making “who to call lists,” and the slow build of contractions until the cervix (which I’m pretty sure is a kind of garden pest) “effaces.” Pff.  Please.  Thank God I was raised on sitcoms and movies, so I know what to actually expect.

“Ayuh. See? Cervixes. You’ve got to spray before they efface or you’ll never get ’em all.”

Q: How should I prepare in the days leading up to labor?

A: As the expectant father, it is your job to race around comically, running in to things and dropping food every time she  makes a sound.  If she says anything that rhymes “labor” or “baby” or mentions a “contract,” then it’s very important jump up shouting “Here we go!  Here we go!” and run out to the car without your keys, the suitcase, or your wife.  If you’re really wanting to “sell” the experience, just starting running down the street toward the hospital.

Q: How will I know when labor begins?

A: Ignore all that stuff about “timing contractions” and the slow build of labor.  Labor begins one of two ways:

1. Your wife will suddenly moan and announce that “It’s time! It’s time!”  You – despite days of hyperbolic panicking – must then not know what she means and say something like, “Nonsense, the movie doesn’t start for another hour,” to which she will reply, “No, you idiot!  The baby’s coming!”  At this point – and it’s a good idea to stretch out – you should bug out your eyes and shriek, “WhhhaaaAAAATTT???!!!”

*Note: there may be an exception if you’re in a taxi or in the woods.  In this situation, when she shouts, “The baby’s coming!” you should then ask when, so that she can tell you, “Right now!”   You will then need to find a charmingly unusual place to deliver the baby immediately.

2. Usually inspired by an ironic statement like “These floors are filthy!” your wife’s water will break.  When this happens, 3-5 gallons of fluid will immediately dump on the floor.   It is strongly recommended to have someone on stand-by to then walk through the room, obliviously, who can slip and fall.

Aaaaand tell him you’re in labor…. nnnnnnn… nnnnnnow.

Q: When my wife announces that it’s time, should I do a double-take, or a spit-take?

A: Excellent question.  The general rule is that if her water breaks, do a double take (two water gags in a row is never a good plan).  Otherwise, trust your instincts.  The fact is, it’s a clutch moment and no one’s going to judge you too harshly if you choose the less funny option.

Q: What’s the best way to drive to the hospital?

A: However will get you pulled over. This is an excellent way to work in another double-take, and to then get a police escort.

Q: What happens after that?

A: Well, TV’s always been a little unclear on this.  There’s a little bit of yelling and pushing, and then the nurse hands you a clean, 3-month-old baby.  It only takes a few minutes, though.  Likely the mom will have a delicate sheen of perspiration, and you’ll have a faint 5-o’clock shadow.

And that’s it!  After that, you’ll be ready for those kids to start wise-cracking, making two dates for the same night, and – about once a year – having a very special episode where they learn an important life lesson.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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72 Comments on “TV’s Advice For The Expectant Father”

  1. Hippie Cahier Says:

    If you decide to make a video version of this most insightful guide, may I suggest Jon Cryer in the role of expectant father? I pictured him in every scenario you described.


  2. 1pointperspective Says:

    You’ve learned well at the foot of the glow tube, young one. You have forgotten only the hapless bachelor sidekick, who will take over as lamaze coach when you either pass out or have that zany mix up in admissions.


  3. Eagle-Eyed Editor Says:

    In regard to the preparation, it also helps to sell the experience if you’re running down the street with the appropriate panic-stricken, wild-eyed look on your face, accompanied by the words “OH, MY GOD! WE’RE HAVING A BABY!”

    Yup, handy things, those sitcoms and movies. I don’t know where I’d be without them.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I know. I don’t know how many times I’ve had the big bowling league championship the same night my boss was coming for dinner and I wouldn’t have known how to handle it otherwise.


  4. Go Jules Go Says:

    I think it’s actually the baby that has the five o’clock shadow on the reallllly good shows.

    I love love love that ladybug caption. But the guy with the water is creeping me out. It looks like he’s SUPPOSED to be the picture of health, but is…not. If you see him at the hospital, you and your wife should steer clear.


  5. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    Oh good, I was worried you wouldn’t be prepared but seems like you’ve got everything under control. 😀


  6. Valentine Logar Says:

    Might I add, running down the street in your skivvies, it would help at this moment if they had some appropriate cartoon character on them so we could all see you as something less than a serious person.


  7. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    You are so Ready you will rock…
    One piece of advice which will keep you alive
    Do not and i mean no matter what happens and/or you are at gun not ask you wife (when is in labour) where to look for a particular thing..don’t do that


  8. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson Says:

    If your wife ever asks you: “Did I poop?” The correct answer is “Absolutely not. It was a beautiful delivery.”

    Got it? 😉


  9. Love & Lunchmeat Says:

    I actually wanted a police escort when I was in labor with my third. GAH! It was a miracle we even made it there in time for me to give birth in the (not even remotely clean) hospital doorway. First labors are usually slow though.

    I’m kinda hoping you have neighbors who are good with a video camera so we get to see all of this. “Expectant father slips on his wife’s amniotic sac and ends up with a mild concussion. Allowed to room in with wife and baby, thus is still able to help with those critical middle of the night feedings, which are his favorites anyway…”

    Seriously though, good luck to Mrs. Byronic!

    P.S. Please don’t name your kid Princess Buttercup. That’s just cruel.


  10. susielindau Says:

    Oh yeah baby! You are good to go…Thank god for TV.
    What about video taping? In my son’s video, he looks as if he came straight from heaven since the glare from the mirror they used for me to see the birth, completely edited my nether regions with white light! When my daughter was born, it was waaaaay too much information!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’m hiring one of those caricature artists you see at street fairs and Saturday Markets to do some hilarious sketches.


      • susielindau Says:

        Your wife won’t mind. After a day of 25 assorted doctors and nurses inspecting her crotch, one more person staring won’t bother her I’m sure.

        WARNING! You better not show her what the cartoonist draws DURING labor, since she won’t be in the laughing mood…


  11. Michelle Gillies Says:

    It seems to me that you are well prepared for the impending arrival of Baby Byronic. Most of my learning has come from TV sitcoms as well. They have never given me any reason to question their sage examples. Of course I still believe that Ned the pie maker from “Pushing Daisies” is out there somewhere with his magic finger.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Well, I’d hope he’s out there.

      Did you see the final Pushing Daisies? When they got canceled so they wrapped up the show in the final 90 seconds with auctioneer-speed narration? That was kind of disappointing.


      • Michelle Gillies Says:

        Heheheh … I love it that you always know the show I am talking about no matter how obscure.
        I did see that episode and you are right it was disappointing but, I was already disappointed that they had cancelled it.


  12. mistyslaws Says:

    I think you have neglected to include one critical element. As your wife is going through labor, make sure she contantly screams obscenities and blames you for getting her in this situation. A bunch of “this is all your faults!” and “you are never touching me agains!” would suffice. Please make sure she is on board with this. You may want to let her practice a bit before the big event so she doesn’t have to think about it too much. She will be sort of busy.

    And also, make sure you are prepared to pass out immediately upon seeing the first evidence of any blood and/or bodily fluid and that the medical staff rushes to your aide to make sure you are ok.


  13. She's a Maineiac Says:

    The spit-take and double-take lines had me rollin’! Oh, how I love this post. You just get funnier with each one, how is that possible? (I think when the baby’s finally here, you should still crank out posts, even while sleep deprived….in my experience comedy and madness are separated by a thin line anyway.)

    This reminds me of that very special episode when Balki Bartokomous realizes the baby is coming so he runs to the phone, picks it up and yells “Hospital? Baby coming!” then hangs up. This is exactly what you should do.


  14. Bethylicious Says:

    The whole cervix/insect thing had me laughing out loud in the office. They’re probably sending the white coats after me thanks to you. You forgot the portion where the wife raises up and screams “YOU DID THIS TO ME, YOU BASTARD!” Or is that a different movie?


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Same movie, but I figured I’d just focus on advice for the dad. He’s really the central player, anyway…


      • Bethylicious Says:

        Absolutely, and he certainly deserves more recognition, but I would have loved to have seen his reaction to that comment rather than just cutting back to the screaming wife. Does he reply with a sheepish look, fall on the floor in the fetal position and hide under the bed until it’s all over or make choking motions at her throat while she’s busy watching her belly deflate?


  15. sj Says:


    Also, I’m very excited for you guys. I know this is sappy and not funny, but I’m really happy for you and hope everything goes smoothly.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Thank. I also hope things go smoothly. Or as smoothly as possible. I’m also hoping it’s this weird medical anomaly where it doesn’t hurt at all, and the whole thing’s done in an hour or two.


      • sj Says:

        I have two friends whose first children were labour of less than 2 hours with only one push necessary. I hope your wife falls into that camp. Truly.


  16. pegoleg Says:

    This is all fabulous preparation for the rest of your clueless, stupid-father sitcom life. Just be sure to look lovably inept at everything you do.


  17. A Broad at Home Says:

    I love this, especially the bit about the 3-month old baby being humbly presented to you. I think you describe most all of our entrances into the world perfectly.

    Don’t forget to tell your lovely wife that her baby bump will be gone in about three or four days after the baby comes and she will have her pre-baby figure back in literally (figuratively?) no time! Ah, the magic, er, miracle, of childbirth.


  18. Audrey Says:

    And here I thought you’d need to be reading all those baby books like “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”. Pssshhhh… tv’s done all the hard research for you!


  19. mylifeisthebestlife Says:

    I’m obviously going to print this out and give it to Husbandio. It’s important that he be prepared.


  20. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Be prepared for a twist in the plot. After 28 hours the Dr. decided to do a C-section. I was screaming “give me a knife” around the 13th hour. Life is full of surprises, including a 9 pound 7 ounce, 23 inch long baby. Well played with the C-section, well played.


  21. benzeknees Says:

    You’ve got it down pat, you’ll do all the right things! Just don’t forget about the freak snow/ice storm/hurricane you will encounter on the way to the hospital while your wife gets closer & closer to delivering.


  22. becomingcliche Says:

    Someone has to boil water. And someone needs to faint.

    Good luck with everything. Your life is about to become a more amazing place to be!


  23. girlonthecontrary Says:

    I think you forgot that you’re supposed to get just teary eyed enough that people know you have a heart, but you can’t cry too much because then it looks like you’re trying to take attention away from your wife. (Although I suspect on TV men don’t cry too much because it would mess up their makeup. But you probably don’t wear makeup. Probably.)


  24. Carol O. Says:

    I’m sure Mrs. B has heard all the horror stories by now –and has marveled that each woman somehow went on to repeat the horror risk two or three more times! I hope neither of you are worried. Delivery may at times not seem to be under control, but remember that all three of you are in very good hands; and that moment when the babe is placed on Mom’s skin and they leave the 3 of you alone for a few minutes, a brand new family … OMG. 🙂 I’ll be thinking of you all.


  25. The Bumble Files Says:

    Good luck and go with the flow!


  26. Paul Says:

    Hey, good luck with the fatherhood thing. Not to worry. It’s just like tv. And every day for the rest of your life will now feel like a rerun!


  27. marbles Says:

    Good luck for the imminent arrival!

    One thing you do need to organise if you intend to stay true to the theme, is to somehow have twins, so when one baby is crying and grumpy, you can replace it with the one that’s been well fed and burped. It worked with the Olsen twins in Full House!


  28. Sandy Sue Says:

    And don’t forget the delivery room scene where the normally petite, polite, perky wife grabs Dad-to-be by the throat and roars, “Touch me again, you *&$%@* and I’ll hang your junk on the clothesline!”


  29. tinkerbelle86 Says:

    hahaha (secret shudder) good luck padwan!!


  30. madtante Says:

    The cousin who bought my Gram’s place a mile or so away (we live REMOTELY) had to deliver his wife’s last baby on the side of the road. You could try that…Makes for a good news story (which btw it didn’t become one cos we’re Hillbillies and this shite happens but for YOU…).


  31. Lorna's Voice Says:

    Get ready. Life as you know it will change forever. TV doesn’t tell you that, either. 😉


  32. anecdotaltales Says:

    To be fair, I think Rachel in Friends was in labor for several hours, not just minutes. Of course, she ended up getting engaged to the father’s friend just hours later. So maybe her visit was special. Also, there is never a bad time for a spit-take.


  33. Laura Says:

    With all this preparation, I’m sure you’ll do fine. In fact, you might want to consider doing something extra special, like misspelling the baby’s name on the birth certificate.


  34. Richard Wiseman Says:

    With our first child due we went along to a group meeting with our midwife. There was a gathering of people in the room, pregnant women with partners obviously. There was a guy in a purple shirt who looked ill at ease. The midwife spoke to us at length then asked us if we had any questions. I put my hand up and said ‘So how will we know if it’s really time to go I mean my question is…’ then Purple Shirt exploded into neurotic angst mode “What if snows do we get a helicopter? If there’s a flood are boats made available? Will I need drugs too? What happens if the baby isn’t mine? How long after the birth can we have sex? Does not having sex include oral? Is it safe for me to suck on her breasts if there’s milk there? Do I get a police escort to the hospital? What happens if the blood makes me faint? is there a coffee machine near the birthing room? Can my mum and dad watch too? Can I film the whole thing? with which he ran out of breath and there was silence and I paused for dramatic effect pointedly looking at him and then turned to the midwife and said’… so when?’ The midwife gave Purple Shirt a look and said to me ‘Yes that is the question…’
    Purple Shirt’s wife gave birth on the same day as my wife, though we were done by 7 a.m. (12 hours) New Year’s Eve 1998 and she arrived with him at the hospital at 11 p.m. that night just as I was leaving after visiting my wife. He had a party hat on as he drunkenly weaved through the lobby of the hospital hissing ‘Now? You have to have it now?’ I’m guessing some guys don’t really get the whole ‘It’s a relationship’ idea.
    Take care Mr Byronic and enjoy it. I recommend being there and seeing your child born, it’s amazing, truly amazing! God bless and I hope it’s all the stuff of good memories for you.


  35. Angie Z. Says:

    “After that, you’ll be ready for those kids to start wise-cracking, making two dates for the same night, and – about once a year – having a very special episode where they learn an important life lesson.” Did you write this part just for me? Did you? Oh, how I loved this! Oh, it’s not even Christmas! You’re too good to me.

    True story, my water broke with my second kid almost exactly as you described and my dog slipped in it. And we just had new wood floors put in the prior month. And my husband was sleeping so I cleaned it up myself using a bath towel. See — you can believe what you see on television.


  36. Elyse Says:

    The role of a lifetime for you B-man. Break a leg. Just not your wife’s or the baby’s!


  37. cassiebehle Says:

    Thanks to you, I will never again view giving birth as a beautiful moment due to your #2 visual. Because I certainly did before. Yes, sir, certainly did…


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