On August 31, 2013 by Kunle Barker

I’ve just remembered. I haven’t actually said how I found out we were going to have a baby. Well in a pastiche to the old school masculinity of the 60s and 70s, I was on the golf course when the news came in. Obviously, I have no chance of actually being on the golf course when the baby is born. In any case, it’s a very odd place to choose to be during one of the most important moments in your life, or perhaps I’m just turning a little metrosexual in my old age. Either way I shall be in the birthing suite with my wife silently wishing that I was the one giving birth, as at least that way I will not be asked to take a look down the ‘business end’, to describe what it looks like. Why would anyone want that described to them? “Well honey it looks like a human head poking out of your vagina…. oh, and you appear to have shit yourself.” Anyway I will cross that bridge when I come to it.



For some strange reason, and I really have no idea why, I am incredibly superstitious. I don’t mean in the perfectly acceptable way of not walking under ladders (although obviously I don’t do that), no, I mean in the slightly strange way that caused me to almost crash my car last week as I tried to avoid a black cat walking across my path. This superstition percolates every aspect of my life. For example, I never talk about things until they have actually happened in fear of Murray Walkering myself, a delightful phrase that someone at school invented after the fateful afternoon when Murray Walker commentating on the Canada Grand Prix exclaimed that there was no way that Nigel Mansell could lose the race. Mr Mansells’ car promptly manifested a fault and stuttered to a halt; not only did he not win, he didn’t even finish. In my mind, that story in itself totally justifies my superstitious nature.

I was delighted that we were pregnant, but my wife had said that she was not 100% sure, as the line that indicates a positive test was a little faded. So as she said to me on the phone, “Yes, the line is very light, but I’m sure that I am ….” I quickly butted in saying, “Don’t, don’t even say it, not yet!” This had set an unfortunate tone for the next few weeks as at every opportunity, my wife willfully attempted to unleash a torrent of bad luck onto us by doing all of the following:

  1. Saying that she was pregnant
  2. Talking about the future/names/sex/the nursery
  3. Telling family or friends
  4. Basically acknowledging anything related to the fact that she might actually be pregnant

What was she going to do next, take out an ad in the Times announcing the birth of a beautiful new baby underneath a photo caption of us smashing a mirror, walking under a ladder whilst a pack of black cats walk across our paths? I mean, why not? She has done everything else. The thought does occur to me that I’m probably overreacting, but then I remember that its bad luck to think that bad luck doesn’t exist. Phew, that was close.

I know it seems a little obsessive, but I have lots of stories that illustrate situations when tragedy could have been avoided by following a few simple rules. For example, I remember watching England versus West Indies at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. It was the second day of the test, and it was my friends turn to buy a round of Banks beers. As he rose from his seat, he noticed that Collingwood was on 96 and said he would wait to see Collingwood make his 100. “NO, you can’t do that, you will jinx him,” I explained, but he was resolute and stayed put so that he could watch Collingwood be dismissed by the very next ball. Now whilst not strictly a tragedy, I’m not sure what Paul Collingwood had done to deserve such a blatant disregard of rules of the ‘Jinx’.




After the pregnancy had been confirmed by a 3rd test (and a GP visit), I was taken to one side by my wife, and it was laid out to me in no uncertain terms that my obsession with superstition would lead to her ensuring that I would indeed fall victim to the fates. That I would be guaranteed more than my fair share of bad luck over the ensuing months. Reluctantly I agreed to curb my superstitious ways, but like a recovering alcoholic it takes one day at a time, and everyday is a battle not to relapse.

To be honest, it’s nice to start talking about the prospect of being a father, and although we agree not to tell anyone other than our immediate family until after the 12 week scan, it’s genuinely nice to speak to each other about the pregnancy. It somehow makes it real, not in a scary way, in an exciting way. I’m glad to have relinquished my superstitions in favour of speaking openly about our new baby and our hopes and fears for the life that we are about to bring into the world.


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