We often look at things from a female perspective but our guest blogger this week gives us a whole new perspective on parenthood, from a new father’s point of view!
‘I’m pregnant’ was the last thing I expected my wife, Marie, to tell me that day or any other day for that matter, due to the that fact we were not trying for a baby and she was on the pill. We had had a few discussions about children with the predictable response of ‘let’s talk about it in six months’. Did I say she was on the pill? “Super sperm” is all I can say.
We found out about four weeks into the pregnancy but by the time I got over the shock it was more like six. A good friend said “if I were Marie I would have slapped you by now”. Being honest I can’t believe she didn’t. But there was a lot going through my mind “I’m too young to be a dad”, “we cannot afford a baby”, “what time does the football start?” It was a hard week with such a big game coming up.
As a man there are many good and bad bits to finding out your wife is pregnant. I have super sperm- good! The bad: whatever she says (or thinks) goes, even more so than normal, no matter how unreasonable or stupid it is. This is made worse by the fact that all her friends stick together even more than before. I told the same friend that that day Marie had told me that the sun was blue and I corrected her by saying “no honey the sky is blue, the sun is yellow”. My friend told me I was being insensitive and should be nice! So when Marie told me she was going to play music to our unborn child as she fell asleep I did not say a word as she went upstairs with headphones in hand.
And then I found out about the NCT: £250 to be in a room talking about what is going to happen with other people that it is happening to. This is why it costs so much to have a child. No matter what I said I had to go. By the end of the first session I could not wait for the following week. I could not believe I had not thought of it before. I was in a room with 7 other men going thought the same thing as me. I think 7 out of the 8 of us said that our wife had started snoring and had moved out of the bedroom to get some sleep.
The little man came 5 weeks early due to Marie having severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome – not good. After 4 days in hospital and a short period of unsuccessful induction, Marie was given an emergency c-section. The surgeon introduced us to our baby at 7.26pm on 6th March 2012 by lifting him over the curtain. He was then taken away to the other side of the room as they do for all c-sections. I was holding Marie’s hand saying everything is fine but inside desperate to hear him cry. I have no idea how long it was but it was the best cry in the world.
The fun really begins when you are discharged from hospital which for us was 8 days later. Then it is truly down to you. You can read all the books there are or listen to all the advice there is but when you walk out of that door, get into the car, check the car seat is in correctly several 100 times and drive at a snail’s pace home, you’re on your own. Walking through your door for the first time, no longer just the 2 of you but the 3 of you, your home will never feel the same again. You will make mistakes. It doesn’t improve; you just learn to deal with them.
By the way, the NCT was one of the best things we did. We have made some great friends who have been a great help. In the early days when Marie thought she was the only new mum having issues and being convinced that the other mums were doing so well, it was good to know the same was happening to the others and we were all, in fact, doing fine.
As a new dad you have got to learn far more than some women give you credit for. Not only do you have to learn how to look after a new baby, you have to learn how to be with your partner: a new mum. Dads, there is one simple rule: she knows best. So when she changes the ‘routine’ without any discussion DO NOT question it. When you do the same, unless she has proof, lie and say you have done everything as she would. It takes a few weeks to learn the new tone she has in her voice.
The last 9 months have been great, with a few lows but mostly highs. I love my sleep but being woken up 4 times a night for feeding and nappies changes is fine (really!), although I’m glad that’s mostly over. Seeing him smile for the 1st time is wonderful. Being woken up every other hour because of teething is ok. Seeing his 1st tooth is amazing. 2 nights ago was the worst so far, but last night as I was putting him down for bed some of his medicine ran down on his chin; watching him licking his lips was the highlight of my day.
With each week that passes by he loses a little part of what I love whether it’s the last time he was this tiny little ball sleeping on me or the last time I saw his gummy smile. But each week there is something new to love whether it’s him leaning into you when he’s tired or his now-toothy smile!
I think Marie and I are doing well. Marie has been a great mum more so then she will ever know. She is too hard on herself sometimes but I could not of asked more of her. She has given us the perfect baby boy who gives me so much joy, for which I could never thank her enough.
I think a lot of people put too much pressure on themselves to be the best parents ever and lose sight of here and now. I think you have to do a lot wrong for your child to grow up and think that you are a bad parent. I just hope I remember to enjoy it.
Darren , http://www.malicedesign.co.uk/
- 6 Moments You Need to Let Dad Have With Baby (thebump.com)
- Dads-to-Be: What Changes When Your Partner Gets Pregnant (and What to Do About It) (thebump.com)
- I Am Pregnant (aka a Message for Dads-to-Be) (thebump.com)