For those of you who have accepted a life devoid of passion, congratulations on getting married! But for the rest of us, a very magical moment awaits. It is a story older than humanity itself, when life begins anew. I am talking, of course, about the first time someone you loved becomes pregnant.
There is any number of guidebooks out there for the pregnant mother, the expectant father, and even the grandparents, who hope this baby will fulfill their dreams of becoming an astronaut baseball player.
But of course, there's one person even the publishing industry hasn't considered, and that's the humble ex. The grandparents' job is easy, after all. Their genetic future is assured. All they have to do is tickle the child and offer it candies only old people enjoy, like jellied onions or ptomaine buttons. No, sir, it is the ex who bears the real burden of labor. It is the ex who must push a watermelon-size woe through a tiny hole in the heart. And it is the ex who must find a path to genuine empathy for the happy couple.
Available in the self-hindrance section.
Is this you? Then suffer no more! Here is my guide to the ex-boyfriend's pregnancy experience. Or ex-girlfriend's. Or several polyamorous couples who have lost touch with a now-pregnant member of their cult. Really, this book is for anyone who has loved, lost, and foolishly stayed Facebook friends.
You should probably start drinking now if you expect to keep up.
Oh, this was a magical time in your lives together. Sadly, it is over now. The love you once shared, magical and heartfelt like an early era Weezer song, is now an emotionless echo, like a contemporary Weezer song. The important thing now is diet, exercise, and relaxation.
Right now, your only job is to not end up drunkenly chewing fistfuls of Chinese food over the sink while you sing "Pursuit of Happiness" to an empty house. You will know you are ready for pregnancy when you can slam-gulp an entire White Castle Crave Case without choking on your uncontrollable sobs.
Prepare your body for pregnancy: Try to smile through one shocking revelation every day until it looks sincere. In time it will be! Or you will be a husk. Either way -- change is coming! Hooray for you!
Keep pushing your limits! Did you make it out of bed yesterday? Today, go outside. It's a beautiful day! Christ, you have nobody to share it with. You never know what you can do until you try!
Technically, your crippling depression is an extreme form of relaxation. Focus on daily life, and don't worry! There's plenty of time for regret when you're old and you realize you've let happiness slip through your fingers.
"I was a fool not to take in the Tijuana donkey show while I still could."
But if you are stressed with the maddening knowledge that the entire life you imagined for yourself has been taken from you by another who did not earn it, take a deep breath. Don't think there's still time to get her back just because she isn't pregnant yet. Her future is already consecrated to her new man. You have already lost. You are dead and do not know it. It's over. Relax, and let oblivion take you- What?! NO!
One reason to hang in there: Many couples find it difficult to conceive, either because they let stress get in the way or because your prayers to Mot, the Phoenician god of death and rot, were heard.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Reminder: You owe him a burnt calf at midnight or his vengeance will be terrible.
Jesus, let's not think about that.
Oh God, it involves wafting curtains and soft murmurs STOP STOP STOP NO-
Alright. Alright. Here we go. When a man who is better than you and a woman who is right for you love each other very much, albeit not as much as the love you still carry for her, they join together at the fumbly bits. The embodiment of their love is a human being who possesses the traits of both parents, like great hair or money or leaving you for someone who has it.
Nobody leaves without an exit strategy. You remember that. You remember you read that here.
If their union is legitimate and God approves of it because neither one of them is trying to make a surrogate baby for a gay couple, her body allows his sperm to reach her ... I don't know, cervix or uterus or the manifold or something.
Not pictured: your dreams for the future.
Anyway, that's when the egg invites a spermatozoon in for a cup of tea, and yo, it straight up invades her system and refurbs her in its own image, because sperm are the Borg of cells.
The most important thing is to stop worrying. I can't tell you how many couples try and try, only to give up and find themselves instantly pregnant because she has a regrettable fling with an ex who can deliver the goods. So hang in there!
What follows are formative weeks -- less so for baby, more for your dread that the rest of your life will be a muted kind of happiness. Doctors recommend lots of folic acid at this stage to deal with your depression.
Here's a thought: Are you SURE the baby's not yours? Perhaps, like some species of ant, she kept your seed alive in her abdomen until the time was right to conceive.
No. No, that's crazy talk. The only reasonable explanation is that she stole some of your used condoms and kept them in the freezer for years until she married a better man than you, who, for unknown reasons -- but probably his walrus fetish -- has been unable to perform his husbandly duties.
Jesus, paranoia really let us get crazy for a second there, huh? HA HA HA bitter laugh. But seriously, there's no hope left on Earth or in heaven.
It's not uncommon to suffer severe nausea during the early weeks of her pregnancy, especially upon waking, when the full volume of your living failure rushes in upon you. If nausea persists, you may want to settle your stomach with a small glass of ginger ale. If that doesn't work, try a tall glass of whiskey until you can't remember your middle name.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Your pregnant ex may also experience morning sickness, so don't worry if she isn't updating her baby blog every morning. Of course, if it were your kid it would have better manners than to send all its food back, that's for damn sure. This is what she gets for using inferior materials to do these crazy at-home interior renovations.
"I'm sorry, who are you again? The baby's alternate universe father?"
Her doctor will want an informed medical history, of course. Any responsible OB/GYN will have a very clinical, technical description of past conditions, so your job is to craft a warmer paean. Sit down and carefully write out everything you can remember about the tender, beautiful folds you once called home.
Many gentlemen feel they cannot talk to their ex's lady-parts doctor because they struggle to express themselves in poetry. Here is a clerihew written by a Cockney to get you started:
A girl definitely not named Nina
Had a flawless cup of china.
'Twas shattered by the baby's head,
and Jesus I'd rather be dead.
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
"It's ... so beautiful! My God, I've been blind to it all along, and today I truly live!"
Have we moved you, then, doctor? Have we shown you the glistening beauty behind your dry texts? Stand up and clasp us to your weeping breast in celebration, as men do!
It's an uncomfortable truth that most people are infected with an STI (Spreadable Testicular Invader) at least once in their life, including a shocking 100 percent of women who have slept with you. The only person who doesn't have to worry about sexually transmitted infections is model Alexina Graham, who is an angel of the Lord, and therefore incorruptible.
Rob Loud/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
That woman could cure cancer by blowing a kiss at it.
For the rest of us, it's an awkward conversation with our doctor waiting to happen. Therefore, it's important to be an adult and recognize that the baby may be threatened by bacteria and viruses -- or worse, Spongiformecium rex, the half-virus, half-bacterium were-disease! Some say S. rex is mere legend, but I've encountered him, boy -- aye, and with the scars to prove it. No, you can't see. They're private.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Prions are the RoboCop of infectious diseases.
What's important now is that the baby does not contract any contagion, even though carrying your retrovirus in its cells would, in a weird way, make you sort of its second father. But -- no! This is not a time for selfishness. Your ex should be screened for any and all infections. Why, there are diseases these days that could skeletonize a man in 15 minutes, or 10, if he's from one of those skinny European countries. And the catalog of STIs is growing daily.
Sadly, these are not the fun infections from back in college when everyone was experimenting with plague, but serious afflictions with hilarious names like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Here are some of the newer, trendier diseases all the cool kids are spreading:
All of the above can be treated with a spoonful of mercury.
Pause for Fan Theory
Oh my God -- what if Jason Voorhees is just a bacterium native to Crystal Lake that causes grim hallucinations in the brains of dying teens? And that's why Jason never dies! What if horny kids passed on the fast-acting disease, and that's why he kills the kids who have sex the soonest? My God, it's- OK, sorry, back to your plight.
Obviously for her this means lots of vitamins and some fad diet like cottage cheese with locusts. The rest is not for you to see, but surely it involves her overlooking a summer field. Suddenly, her husband appears behind her to run his hands protectively over the full belly they have made. Yes, it's paradise, and this is a good world -- a strange world where this child is not yours, but a good world -- that will teach us to grow strong and bright. And happiness -- oh, so much happiness.
Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
So much God fucking damn happiness.
Balance is key in a pregnancy, so be the yin to her yang! Do the opposite of whatever she does -- start by drinking for two. Is she doing yoga to keep her body flexible? Well then you have to compress your thoughts into a tiny ball and never, ever let them breathe. Is she moving on with her life? Then you date more coeds than you ever did in college in a desperate attempt to hang on to the past!
It is quite common to experience strange cravings during pregnancy. You will likely go mad with desire to touch, just one more time, her maiden's body. Alas, it is sacrificed to her new life. There are plenty of odd remedies for this dark and reaching hunger!
Some men find relief in comfort foods like pickles and ice cream. Others sate their strange urges by dating a woman who could be her twin. Still more cackle madly in the night, knowing that all chance of happiness is gone, and their choice now is to settle for less or wander the Earth in a haunted charade of life. You should find a method that works for you and not worry too much about looking like a big old silly-billy. Perhaps you can start keeping a rage journal? Remember, you can't spell "cravings" without "ravings"!
But don't get bitter. Nobody likes a bitter ex.
Anyway, you can relax knowing that she will put baby's health first and eat plenty of that ol' folic acid, which is apparently an acid that fetuses are immune to, like they're goddamn Superman or something.
She should also get plenty of exercise and not stay on the couch chomping FUNYUNS while tears roll down her cheeks and she masturbates to that sex tape you two made one summer because it's the only way she can feel desire anymore. That would be unhealthy behavior even for a full-grown man!
If, rather than love, you crave violence, try directing it inward. Stand in front of a mirror, punching yourself until you no longer recognize the voice shrieking "You're a LOSER!" as your own. If you don't own a mirror, or have a pretty face, hit something else -- perhaps a clown? When you punch a clown, the clown's nose squeaks real good.
Also, and this is just a thought: Have you considered that the problem is you? Destroy anything that reminds you of this fact.
The day has arrived! O, happy event! Soon the baby will be expelled from her vagina with the force of a Super Bowl touchdown pass and life will assert itself in a bloody baptism of poop.
Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty; Francisco Goya
Another victory for God's finest creation!
Adding to the fun is morphine on tap, which you could really go for right now, but of course you can't be there to see any of this. You're home, oblivious, confused by how seven seasons later you still aren't sure if you actually enjoy Burn Notice. And then you see the Facebook update.
Yes, it's been a wearying, emotional day for all. But you cannot stay in that dark, warm, safe emotional place where you began. It is time to exeunt.
Holy cow! Did you see that? Her body just, like ... expelled an entire organ. Now the placenta lies there, pulsing weakly like a dying heart. Some people eat the placenta for strength. Others plant it beneath a tree because they're not complete psychos. Still other, slightly more civilized people hire a woman to dehydrate the placenta and turn it into pills to combat depression. But for you, I recommend gin. It fights sadness by making a man mean, and in your case, that's a calmer state.
Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty; Nicolas Poussin
A great many of us were conceived by gin, nourished by gin, and enabled by gin.
In fact, this inability to let go ... this is your problem. You can't choose unhappiness and then blame other people for enjoying life.
Well, the hard part's over now. There's naught left but to take baby home. Many sleepless nights await the parents of a newborn, and also await you, who wake in the dead, bleak hours to a house of total silence.
Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty; Alfred Kubin
Many new mothers report an inexplicable depression. You may feel something like this as you ponder losing the world to the next generation. Where her husband has been raised above space and time and begun the long and happy process of accepting Death, you have merely stared Her in the eye socket and known Her hunger.
That's right. Death's a lady. What are you, sexist?
Use this quiet time to accept that things are over and there are many deaths. Time to kill your old identity and become someone else. Time to plot big moves and seek new frontiers. Time to do things you never could have done before. No, I don't mean shooting heroin, that is a step backward and you know that.
Now that baby is safely swaddled and tucked at home, you have to consider your future, and the lack thereof. Wish them well, turn your back in politesse from this scene, and hover on the past no more.
'Tis time to seek new and better frontiers. Time to dash your hopes on the shoals of reality and build new dreams from the flotsam. Time to become one of those rich old guys who dates highly motivated younger women they will never connect with emotionally.
Oh, who are you kidding? You'll never be rich.
But you will soar higher, even though you don't want to. It may feel like a betrayal of your own pain and feelings, but it's going to happen no matter how much you fight it, so you might as well embrace it. Personal growth is like gravity. Everybody resists it, but it happens anyway. Take the fall. And maybe one day an angel will catch you and exalt you above this world.
Brendan pondered self-reinvention before with The Ultimate Breaking Bad Infographic and The 5 Most Ridiculous Attempts to Reinvent Superheroes.
The main benefit of watching TV is seeing the plight of sad bastards who aren't you.
The 'wellness' market is thriving right now.
Most people have a pretty basic idea of what it's like to be a parent.
There's no shortage of downright absurd conspiracy theories out there.