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Roisin Gorman’s open letter... on baby stags

The bad old days, when fathers only knew the baby had arrived because dinner was late, have long gone’

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Thrones star Kit Harington and wife Rose Leslie welcomed a baby boy this year

Thrones star Kit Harington and wife Rose Leslie welcomed a baby boy this year

Thrones star Kit Harington and wife Rose Leslie welcomed a baby boy this year

Welcome to the dadchelor party, the man shower, the daddymoon, or my favourite, the paterni-tour. It’s now a rite of passage for future dads to celebrate their impending fatherhood, or mourn the passing of their freedom, with a stag lite. In between pricing prams, researching stair gates and thanking a chosen deity they’re not the ones who have to breastfeed, the lads are also on TripAdvisor deciding whether to mark the milestone with party games and a few beers or the full weekend on the lash. While baby showers are a sober affair for the impending mummy, fathers-to-be can enjoy their last chance to fall over and throw up, because from now on that’s the baby’s job. And who can blame them? The life that lies ahead is a bewildering foreign land, where she’s just grown a human being so they’ll never win an argument again, deciding who’s had more sleep will require the services of a UN negotiating team, and sex is rarer than Halley’s Comet on a cloudy night. On the plus side the baby will one day give them a lift home from the pub, so it all works out in the end. Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington, who became a dad for the first time earlier this year with wife Rose Leslie, said the best advice he could give to new parents was to take a moment to say goodbye to their old lives. It’s already common for couples to take a babymoon, a last-gasp break before life changes forever. And women at least have the chance to prepare for imminent parenthood as their feet disappear under a bump and various organs make way for the baby, but we’re still not all hardwired for maternity. I remember miserably pushing a pram and wishing for my old life back, but by the time they were at school I’d nearly got over it. People who say they recognise their own baby’s cry are particularly annoying. One minute the lads have a partner happily holding a positive pregnancy test, and the next minute she’s a hormonally challenged harridan who’s about to discover her pain threshold. Usain Bolt says the only advice he got before his first child was born was ‘whatever happens, do not look’, and he didn’t. That may explain why the father of three now admits he only does the wet nappies; the smelly ones are his wife’s department. Maybe if he’d seen what happens when a lady garden becomes a birth canal, he’d be less squeamish about a bit of baby poo. The bad old days, when fathers only knew the baby had arrived because dinner was late, have long gone, although the role regression during Covid suggests women still shoulder most of the child-rearing work. Fathers now are likely to be older, more well off and more involved. They’ve also got more to miss when leisure time is a distant memory and just leaving the house with a baby takes half an hour and an argument. The rules about the daddymoon are flexible, but it must be undertaken at least a month before the due date. The father who’s knee deep in tequila and paintballing when the waters break will never, ever be forgiven for it. They’ve also got a single shot at it because you can only be a first-time father once, and when there’s more than one baby they may never be allowed to the pub again.

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