Now that I’ve unleashed my hands on the keyboard there is no stopping me. I’ve had a truly awesome response to my first blog, it’s blown me away, so I thank each and everyone of you for reading it. I always used to think writing a blog post was easy but I have to say that it isn’t easy to lay your issues, fears and hopes bare for all to see. It is certainly a therapeutic experience though, so I will keep going, even if people pay to stop me… I take cheques or bitcoin (I know modern right).
In this post I wanted to share my experiences throughout pregnancy and childbirth from the perspective of me - the man/father/partner.
Having a child is a total whirlwind, don’t let me put you off if you are thinking of joining the club by the way. You will certainly use the word “challenging” a lot more though.
Let’s be fair and honest here, being the man during pregnancy is, well, easy. We don’t generally change shape, (I did, but I love sweet stuff) we don’t get pumped full of hormones, and we don’t have to give up all our favourite foods and drinks. For Nikki it was like a minefield of don’t touch this, don’t eat that, do this; quite frankly I am not sure how women manage it. I tried to stay off things as much as I could in front of her but, well, I am a weak, weak man when it comes to tasty cheese, caffeine and all the naughty bits that being pregnant makes you stop or moderate.
Being pregnant is magical though and as a man you probably get the best deal but certainly don’t get the best bits. Nikki was constantly feeling Max’s movements in a way I would never be able to, and had a connection that was totally impossible for me to have. It is an incredible part of nature that you can create life like that, and yes, I did feel kicks and heard heart beats, but it isn’t quite the same thing. My biggest role was the supporter, and I think I did a fairly good job but I was nowhere near organised enough. To this day I have no idea where the hospital bag is that I left in a panic when Max came early.
This theme carries on into childbirth and it is my biggest piece of advice to any expecting partner. Be supportive.
Unfortunately, you can’t feel what the woman is going through (unless they squeeze really, really hard) and you can’t fix all the issues that they have. What you can do is be there for them every step of the way. Childbirth is so brilliantly amazing and difficult for the woman, but, and hold onto your hats, it isn’t a piece of cake for the Dads either.
Men love to fix things. During pregnancy you can be supportive, but you can also fix most issues that arise. During childbirth you are left a little stranded. I was as supportive as I could be, getting whatever was needed, back rubs, helping Nikki to the loo, playing music, you name it I did it. But that pales in comparison to what she did. And it's tough, watching someone you love struggle. Childbirth, certainly from my perspective, wasn’t some 18th-century film drama where someone screams for 15 hours but it wasn’t the easiest thing to watch either. I love to fix a problem and you just can’t, for 8 hours I was sidelined and helpless.
I can easily see how if you don’t strike that balance between unsupportive and over supportive you could become annoying, but don’t panic, stay strong and rest assured that women have been doing this for thousands of years and there is nothing to fix.
Be that shoulder, lend that ear and be that stress ball.
You got this Papa!