During pregnancy, much of the focus is on the mum-to-be. And that’s fair enough – I mean, no offence boys but your role pretty much extends to going out at 3am for supplies of the latest craving and telling your partner she definitely does not look fat. Except, it doesn’t. As amazing as pregnancy is, its really hard sometimes, and scary, and having someone around who can support you through it makes all the difference. This is especially true during labour. So here are some tips, from one woman who has been through it, for Dads-to-be.
1. You will never experience pain like childbirth. That’s not to say you won’t ever experience incredible pain – you get on the wrong side of an hormonal pregnant women and it’s more than likely – but you will never experience the same pain. Therefore, you are not in any position to comment on anything pain-related. She wants every drug going? Call the midwife for her. And if she wants to go drug-free, ask her what you can do to help. You might be in this parenting lark together, but when it comes to labour your partner is very much calling the shots.
2. Do your research. You want to at least look like you know what the midwife is talking about.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, complain that you are tired. Seriously, if your partner had the energy she would probably knee you where it hurts if you so much as yawn. I don’t care if you have been up for 48 hours straight. You are not pushing a watermelon out of your whoo-ha. You have nothing to complain about.
4. Pack a hospital bag for yourself. Change for the car park, a spare t-shirt, deodorant (you might be there a while!), phone charger, some kind of entertainment, camera (for those all important first baby pics), snacks and drinks. The last thing you want to be doing is annoying the mother of your child because you are bored or hungry.
5. You will get called some names. And you will make some mistakes. You might think you are being helpful, but there may be times when your partner just doesn’t want you to stroke her hair. Or try and distract her by talking about the football. Or be anywhere near her. Just suck it up, and be ready to step in when she undoubtedly changes her mind 5 minutes later.
6. You will be hearing about this for the rest of your life. So you took the bins out three times in a row? She gave birth to your child. You’re arguing over who should make tea? She pushed out an actual human being. You will never win an argument ever again. You might as well accept it now.
7. She’s exhausted and fragile, and has probably just gone through the most traumatic yet wonderful thing she has ever experienced. If she doesn’t want your entire family and their neighbours trudging in at visiting time then it’s really up to her. It’s nice to have visitors in hospital and you want everyone to meet your new addition. But when you are lying there with just a thin sheet to cover your modesty and you have been awake for days, turning the maternity ward into Picadilly Circus is maybe not such a good idea. So agree who will visit and when – and then it will probably be up to you to be tactful and fend off the extended family.
8. You will see things that you can never, ever unsee. Pregnancy, childbirth and life as a new parent can be pretty disgusting. There will be all sorts of unattractive ailments, far too many bodily fluids and you will literally see your partner at their worst. And their best. After all, childbirth is a pretty amazing thing. Okay, so hundreds of women give birth everyday, but that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement. Celebrate – and get ready for the really hard work of the coming sleepless months!
The List with You Baby Me Mummy