Why my dreams of parenthood are over

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Durban - I have always imagined that having a child would be a proud and joyous moment in my life. Yes, you lose innumerable hours of sleep, and yes, you have to change soiled nappies, but this is all negated by the fact that you have a living extension of yourself to marvel at.

Their life ahead of them, you will play an integral role in raising a human being – there can be few less rewarding, although daunting, tasks available to you.

Unfortunately, my positive disposition has been taken out to the edge of the woods and shot in the back of the head like Old Yeller, all thanks to new mothers on Facebook.

If this is the price I have to pay for having a child, then a childless man I shall remain.

From the moment the bump starts to show, an online photo diary of the pregnancy begins. Now the initial stages are tolerable, and in some cases quite cute – the expecting mother slowly growing larger, the expecting father (mostly behind the camera) sharing in the story of new life they are writing together.

But once the child is born the cute factor is soon replaced by the desire to conduct a vasectomy on myself.

Hundreds upon hundreds of photos of the, most of the time rather ugly, baby in the same pose staring at the camera in utter confusion begin to show up on the mother’s wall.

After the initial trimester of “lying on your back incapable of doing anything else” photos, the second wave of “I have dressed my baby in some ridiculous outfit and am holding him in front of the mirror” pics start to surface.

Album upon album of baby-centric images are put up, a continual flow, like diarrhoea, of a new-born infant.

Then the group event shots start popping up where you are on someone’s veranda, in a circle of plastic chairs and all the guests have children on their laps.

Even worse is the fact that most of the children have vomited all over themselves, yet the respective parents still look happy. Is this the quality of life you have now accepted?

In fact, there are more questions that this brings to the front of my mind.

Is that what your life becomes once you have a child? Do you spend every waking minute with this small version of you?

When do you get to go walk on the beach with your wife or girlfriend without it? Does it have to come to all the braais you host?

All these questions have proved quite terrifying, and thanks to the perennial baby albums mentioned above, I think the answer to them is: yes, yes, never and yes.

My dreams of parenthood are over, and although the joy of fatherhood will elude me, I will save a lot of time by not having to post baby photos on my profile. - Sunday Tribune

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