Pregnancy…. Without The Bump, And Giving Birth Part!
Discovering you are expecting a little bundle of joy has got to be the best feeling there is, but what follows next is a world of unknown and uncertainty, not all of which is covered in the baby books!
Speaking as a first time father, below are some things that I wasn’t warned about and I wasn’t prepared for.
9 months is a looooooong old time….
So, finding out that you as a couple are pregnant is an exciting and wonderful feeling! What I didn’t find so exciting and wonderful was the wait to finally meet our little ‘munchkin’.
Aside from feeling the odd kick now again – which, to be honest did freak me out a little - and getting the nursery ready (tip: do not get the nursery ready early into the pregnancy - I swear this this only prolongs the waiting game), I didn’t really feel any kind of ‘amazing, we’re pregnant!’ emotions, and it wasn’t what I thought it would have been like. That 9 months felt like an eternity.
But when the day did come it was, without doubt, the best day of my life and in the end, it was well worth the wait!
Hormones: watch out for them…. Or not, in my case
Pregnant woman hormones are apparently even scarier than every day woman hormones.
It turns out that not every pregnant woman changes their emotions like the wind and cries over the fact that she burnt toast or something stupid like that.
Yep, I was a little disappointed to say the least. I was rather looking forward to seeing what would usually be a meaningless event would bring a tear to my partner’s eye or just make her lose her shit! But nothing, not one experience filled with random emotions.
(Obviously, I mean all of the above in the nicest, most caring possible way.)
Having a birth plan is a good idea, right?
Of course having a birth plan is an excellent idea and is highly recommended in all the books and by the midwives. The likelihood of you actually following that birth plan is pretty slim! I mean, we had a birth plan. It was very open minded and basically boiled down to, whatever it takes to get the baby out safely, we will do it but, WE WANTED A WATER BIRTH. Yea…that didn’t happen.
As I say a birth plan is great but my advice would be don’t be fixed on the idea that this is how it is going to happen, because it probably isn’t!
Also, fellas, make sure you stay strong and whatever has been agreed prior to the birth, you stick to it. If your partner tells you they do not want a specific drug but then during the pregnancy they ask for it, DO NOT CAVE IN! You may be called every name under the sun, but the ladies will thank you for it afterwards…. hopefully!
Two choices – helpful or helpless
In the beginning, after the birth, I felt like I had two choices; be helpful or be helpless.
What I mean by ’be helpful’ is wanting to get stuck in and learn the basic things I didn’t know how to do, like changing a nappy, dressing Betsy, and settling her back to sleep. Naturally the ‘be helpful’ attitude was my default but I am not going to lie, there were times where I thought ‘be helpless’. Sometimes I honestly thought that I wouldn’t be able to get to grips with a simple thing; like deciding on what clothes were appropriate to dress Betsy in today, or, settling her in the cot, and my first thought was to let her mother do it. By doing that it meant I didn’t learn what it takes to do the simple jobs well and started to feel like a bit of a failure.
So, my tip to the fathers out there, is to be helpful! It will do you the world of good, both as a parent and as a partner.
Who would have thought that boobs could get you down?
I was, and still am, on board with the idea that breastfeeding is the way to go if that is what you want to do. What I will say however, is make sure that you find something that you feel creates a bond between you and the baby and make it a regular thing.
Naturally from the beginning, Betsy had a strong bond with her Mother, and when you add into the mix a pair of boobs that are a constant supply of awesomeness and sustenance, I was never going to be the favourite. Whenever Betsy was crying for food or needed feeding in the night, I couldn’t help and it was something that used to really get to me. At times I felt like I had a very weak bond with Betsy.
If you find yourself feeling like this I strongly suggest talking to your partner about it. Together you can come up with a plan on how to strengthen the bond. For me, bath time was the answer. I make sure that whenever possible it’s me who takes bath time. We have some fun, I make her smile and splash around and it’s worked wonders for my peace of mind. I genuinely feel that it’s led to the much stronger bond we now share.
You know that saying “babies love the car”? Nope, not ours!
I have heard this saying so many times that I honestly believed it was true. This was until Betsy decided that the car was not for her. Every trip was a nightmare - sitting in the back, stroking her hair, hanging a picture of Mummy and Daddy from the head rest. None of these had an impact.
Seeing how much Betsy loved BabyTV (Channel 623. You’re welcome), we thought that strapping the iPad around the head rest would be the perfect solution. This, along with removing the insert from the car seat was a good move. It definitely helped with the shorter car journeys but Betsy is still far from happy when it comes to travelling anywhere long distance so we find ourselves planning our car journeys in sync with her napping, or we just turn the music up really loud….. I’m joking, we don’t do that… it has crossed my mind though!
Photo, photo, update, update…
If anyone asks me, what is the hardest thing you have found about being a parent, I would have to say being away from Betsy for a long period of time. I class this as anything over a few hours - a lot can happen in a few hours when it comes to babies! Being sent constant photos, videos or just updates of Betsy most definitely helps this situation.
Sometimes I do feel like I am missing out, so I make sure that I make the most of the time we do have together. This is another tip I would give, make the most of every second, because you cannot get them back.
I thought that I would want/need a bit of a break from time to time, and maybe do something other than being a parent. I mean don’t get me wrong, I do have hobbies and I enjoy doing other things, but whilst I am doing them I am constantly thinking about my little girl back home. You could argue that if I feel like that, why I don’t stop doing these other things. My answer is simple, I need to. As much as these amazing little humans now rule your world, and believe me, they do, it’s important to remember to enjoy and live your life, not only as a parent, but as a partner and as a friend.