A flow chart I think we can all relate to…
Posted on 14 March 2013.
Posted on 20 February 2013.
Way back yonder in 2009 when I had my first child, life didn’t really change that much,
Sure we had a few more sleepless nights and we now had to consider how to drop the monkey off at creche while at the same time not be late for work. But the changes were manageable.
Then the munchkin arrived and everything changed.
Handling two young children is exponentially more difficult than handling one. On one hand you have a screaming baby who craves constant attention, on the other a 2 1/2 year old mischievousness troublemaker who is not averse to engaging in a little bit of munchkin jealousy every now and then.
We have more sleepless nights partly to the munchkin who is light sleeper, but also to the monkey who has made a fine art of getting in to bed with us before we notice only for him to knee or elbow one of us after he has snuggled in between us. And if one child gets sick, the other will probably follow suit soon after. And when that happens mummy or daddy will have to take time off work to look after them because they aren’t allowed to go in to creche when sick. And then there’s the cost of having two kids, it’s a lot.
I love my kids so much and I couldn’t t imagine life without them, but looking after them does take it’s toll on mummy and daddy. We get tired and that can impact our work productivity and we have to take time off work at short notice. My wife is lucky as she is self employed and has a lot of flexibility. I on the other hand work for a mobile phone firm that is not family friendly.
Taking a day off to deal with family matters is to them an ‘unauthorised absence’ even when taken from annual leave. I know it’s probably illegal, but they pay well so I wont complaint too much.
I have found it difficult to keep my family life separate from my work life If I’m kept awake I’ll be tired, if the kids are sick and it’s my turn to look after them there’s nothing I can do but take the day off.
What I have learned is that having a family friendly job is pretty important and if you can get yourself in to one before your kids are born then your life will be a lot easier.
Posted on 19 October 2011.
I grew up in an area where it was quite common to get married at a fairly young age. A lot of my school friends were married off by their early 20s. Some were clearly quite happy with their lot in life, but a fair few looked a bit miserable. They married the wrong person too young and realised they were trapped.
To me, getting married in your early 20s (or younger!) is risky. You are settling down with someone before you have had a chance to enjoy being single. You are also missing out on some important personal development. This is why I decided not to get married until I was 30. I spent my 20s learning, working in jobs I loved, indulging in my hobbies and having a pretty decent social life.
I was 31 when I met my wife, a year later we were married, a year after the the monkey was born.
I have often wondered how being a parent in your 30s differs from being a parent in your 20s.
Before I continue, let me detail some facts about how having children will affect your life…
With that out of the way, lets analyse things.
If you have children in your early 20s you are effectively stopping the development of your social life. You are giving it up before you have had a chance to fully enjoy and appreciate it. In other words, you won’t miss it that much. Us 30-something parents see it the other way. We have had longer to develop our social lives and it hits us harder when we have to curtail our social activities to become parents. Younger parents are less anxious about losing their social life, but we have learned more and had better life experiences to influence how we teach our children.
Us 30-somethings have much more responsibilities than younger people. We tend to be in jobs that require more of our abilities and with it a greater fear of being let go and not being able to provide for the future. This can have a big impact on our home life. Younger people naturally worry less about such matters so they tend to be more ‘sprightly’ and have a much more optimistic viewpoint on life. It’s true what they say, you do get more cynical as you get older.
If us older parents are in better jobs (in theory), then we should have more income. But we also have mortgages, pension plans and lord knows what else to pay for. Younger people worry less about their long term finances.
Also, as we get older we think more about the future. You become aware of your own mortality and start to think about providing for the future. If you have children you think about this even more. But as you may have guessed, use older parents think more about that younger parents.
So do us 30-somethings we make better parents than people in their 20s? It’s hard to say. Young parents have more energy and worry less, older parents have more learned more to pass on to their children but that comes with added worry and and obsession with being responsible. We also tend to be less rash and make better decisions. When we settle down we try harder to make sure the person we are settling down with is truly the right one.
On balance I think I made the right decision to wait till I was 30 before settling down and having kids. I know it is harder considering we worry more and aren’t as fit as we used to be. But I have so many good life experiences that I feel I know more and that help me to be a better father.
What do you think?
Posted on 18 October 2011.
Of all the skills a parent can possess, patience is the most important.
Patience is the lowest common denominator skill. The one that all other rely upon when children are involved.
Patience is the skill the helps you to persevere and keep going when you child refuses to learn and do what is right.
Patience is the skill that keeps your love for you child as strong as ever, even when thy are behaving at their worst.
Patience is what gets you through all those years when your social life goes out the window and you have far too many sleepless nights, because you know it is all worth it.
A parent who lacks patience can never be a great parent. Do you agree?
Posted on 13 October 2011.
Now here’s an article that might ruffle a few feathers, is it mums or dads who have an easier time when bringing up children?
I have heard it said that mothers switch in to ‘baby obsessive’ mode when their child is born, whilst dads became background providers. In other words mums look after the baby, and dads make sure the family is provided for. This may have been the case many years ago, but nowadays I would assume that such responsibilities are shared between mum and dad. I know that is the case with my family.
Even with responsibilities balanced out between mum and dad, there are some significant differences in how we parent. For example in Ireland, mothers are entitled to six months maternity leave after having a baby. That’s very nice I’m sure you would agree. But dads get nothing, except what their employer offers them as a perk. In my case I get just three days, if I want more I have to take it from my annual leave entitlement. The problem with this is that it assumes the father is the most important earner. That is no longer the case. Although I am a fancy computer programmer type, my wife is a much-needed childrens speech pathologist and it is harder for her to take time off from her job than it is for me. It would be nice if we could split the six months of leave between us, but the law does not allow that. It means both parents would get to spend equal amounts of time with the baby at a very important time in its development.
Another issue is that there seems to be a wide ranging assumption that when a child misbehaves that the mother is primarily responsible for the child displaying such traits. If you were going to complain about a child’s behaviour and you could go to wither the mum or the dad who would you go to first? I would assume the mum and I can see why that would be a pain for her.
There are also lots of little things that make it more difficult to be either a mum or dad. For example dads can feel a little bit uncomfortable taking their child to the park by themselves because they assume that other people view men without wives/partners in parks as suspicious. Mums sometimes feel like they must live with being labelled as ‘homemakers’.
Plus, there is the big one – children preferring one parent over the other. This can cause so much stress like you wouldn’t believe.
Personally, I think both parents have it equally as bad, but that individual family circumstances can change this balance. I know in my family’s case we share the pain and joy. But we may be lucky, what do you think?
Posted on 27 January 2011.
I love being a father. My son, The Monkey, brings myself and my wife great pleasure and happiness. And I’m sure pretty much every other set of parents feels the same way.
Before Jake was born we read a lot of books and scoured hundreds of websites trying to learn as much as we could about babies and toddlers in the hope that we would be the best parents ever. We learned a lot from the experts behind these books and websites. Alas, they neglected to tell us certain things that had we known before Jake was born our lives would have been so much easier.
Here is a list of 10 such things that we have learned…
1. Not all baby poo is equal.
Ordinary baby poo smells, we all know that. It’s bad, but not so bad that it makes you retch. However, if you feed baby some food with a high meat content, the stink level goes off the scale. I have never retched so hard in my life when I had to change Jakes nappy after a feed of Gerbers finest meat based baby food. And before you say anything it’s not just a man thing, my wife suffered the same too. So bear in mind that what you put in to baby has a major impact on the smell of what comes out of baby.
2. They learn to be manipulative at a surprisingly early stage.
At 4 months Jake learned how to manipulate those around him with cute looks in order to get the most attention. If there were several people in a group around him he would move his head to point at each person in the group and make a cute look. If the person failed to respond with enough attention for him, he moved on to the next person and repeated the process. Having observed this I can be certain that there were deliberate though processes powering these actions. When you think your 18 month old has just learned to take advantage of you, bear in mind they have probably been doing so for about a year already.
3. They are stronger than they look.
Although Jake is tall for his age, he is still skinny. This is perfectly normal for a toddler of his age. Although, he doesn’t look like he could take an adult on in a fight, the truth that he can lay down a fairly painful punch if he wants to. There have been occasions where either myself or my wife have been holding him and he has seen something that he wants to investigate (usually an animal of some kind). When this happens he wants to be put down immediately and will struggle to break free from our grip, but we have to hold on to him for safety reasons. Although we usually win, we pay the price through sheer exhaustion. And just today I got a nice punch in the face from Jake after he decided he did not want to get eyedrops to help cure his conjunctivitis. To be fair getting eyes drops isn’t pleasant and I could see why he would want to fight back. So bear in my parents everywhere, toddlers are a lot stronger than they look.
4. Crèches will make your child and you sick.
Crèches are like aeroplanes in that loads of people come in to a confined space and force everyone else to share their germs, but with children instead of passengers. You child is going to get sick from other children, your child is going to get other children sick. And no matter what – the parents are going to get sick too. It’s normal and there isn’t lot you can do about it except take the usual precautions to prevent you and your family getting an infection such as eating healthily, exercising and taking vitamin supplements
5. The paperwork is a right pain.
Imagine a pile of forms that you will need to fill in for your child during their first year. Now multiply that pile in height by 10 and you will be heading in the right direction.
There is so much paperwork that need to be processed for your child that you never know when it has all been completed. For example this is a selection of things that we had to process for Jake in his first year…
The worst thing about all this is that there is no list of things you need to do paperwork-wise when a baby is born. We learned all this as we went along or got letter in the post asking why we hadn’t something we were supposed to. It was all such a pain.
6. Even more expensive than you think.
We all know that having a baby is expensive. Hospital bills, clothes, nappies, food, pram, car set etc. It all adds up pretty quickly. Sadly there are loads more other costs that are very easy to overlook.
Firstly, the car seat and pram you bought will have to be replaced. They don’t last as long as you think. Jake is already on to his thrid pram and he has just managed to break the foam inside his car seat. In fairness, we are fairly outdoorsy people and that could explain the rapid pram replacement. But we paid lot for each pram, yet only got about 8 months use out of each. You should expect the same no matter how much you spend.
By having a baby you instantly become members of the new parents club. All of a sudden neighbours, colleagues and friends will invite you to their children’s birthday parties. You will have to buy presents, it won’t be cheap.
You will discover soon enough that the cheaper nappies will make babas bottom a bit red and that you will have to buy the expensive branded ones from then on. The same goes for wipes too.
And I haven’t even discussed the cost of baby sitters and Christmas!
Yep, it’s more expensive than you could have ever imagined.
7. It won’t affect your social life, until…
…baby learns how to crawl. Up to that point our baby will be a little cute stationary bundle of love who will happily stay in their pram all day long. You can go to restaurants, do shopping and even go to the cinema without any problems. Once your baby learns how to move on their own say goodbye to your social life. From this point forward you will need attention 110% of the time and there’s nothing you can do about it.
8. Some people hate babies and will let you know this.
There are some people in the world who have a weird and downright irrational hatred of babies. There are the people who say things like “I hate being in a room with a crying baby” or “I don’t want that baby anywhere near me”. Some of these people will actually let you know how much your child irritates them. Although I have never experienced it as I am built like a proverbial outside toilet, my wife has. She has had people come up to her in restaurants and tell her to make Jake be quite, sometimes this happens when he is just making happy sounds and not even crying.
The people who say such things are idiots who don’t realise that they were babies once and probably caused the same commotion out in public. Babies do make sounds and yes they sometimes cry, it is annoying, but it is also a natural part of being ahuman being.
If someone says something to you along these lines just point out that they are being a hypocrite as they were babies too. Whatever you do, don’t let it get to you!
9. Most child locks are crap.
Yep, they are. We’ve tried loads and The Monkey has learned how to defeat each one either through intelligence or sheer brute force. So stay alert mum and dad, always keep an eye on the little one.
10. Valuables will get lost or destroyed.
You can never make a house 100% child proof, your baby will find and destroy important things. You have to accept that. Jake hid my fancy Nokia N900 smartphone last October and I still haven’t found it.
11. It’s more amazing than you could ever imagine.
A bonus point just to say that despite what I have said above, I love being a dad. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I am so glad that I have such a wonderful son. Yes, it’s expensive and tiring, but I don’t care. Jake makes everything perfect for me and I recommend fatherhood to everyone.
Posted on 30 June 2010.
This is a follow on from my earlier article “The First Six Months of Being an Expectant Father – What to do…”
So you’ve managed to get past the first six months without too much stress. That’s the easy part. Now things get really interesting.
At six months the real work begins. The emotional support you’ve been providing your partner up till now will still be needed, but moreso. The last few months of a pregnancy do lots of odd things to a woman’s body. Your job is to look after her by giving her all the support she needs – emotionally, practically and physically.
Your partner will express her emotions in different ways. Most emptions will be positive and good, something that you can share and enjoy. But occasionally some of those emotions will be less positive and it will be your job to help out. Here are some emotions your partner may encounter and how you can help.
Pregnancy has it’s risks, both for your partner and the child. Although modern medicine has minimised the risks, it is still natural for your partner to be worried. Your job is to acknowledge such worries and to discuss them with her. Don’t be tempted to try and prove her wrong with facts and figures, it won’t help. Simple reassurance coupled with being a good listener works best.
There may be times your wife will be overwhelmed with her pregnancy. There is a little human growing inside her and that’s a pretty amazing thing. This emotion will probably manifest itself by exhausting your wife. When this happens a gentle massage and chat will work wonders.
Let’s be honest, pregnancy may be cute, but it doesn’t do a lot for your partners appearance. You should attempt to prevent her from feeling bad about her appearance by praising her. Tell her she is beautiful everyday – no matter how she looks. It also helps to say things like “I’ll never be able to understand what you are going through, but I love you for going through it to bring our little bundle into the world”.
Generally, you should be very pro-active in providing emotional support to your wife. Try talking to the baby in your wife’s tummy. It may feel silly, but it will be appreciated. Read pregnancy books and magazine with her and learn all there is to know about the pregnancy process. If she craves food, get it for her and share it too – no matter how odd it is.
Is you wallet ready? Then let’s begin…
Around six months in to the pregnancy you will need to start buying baby things. You should also buy them quickly as sometimes babies arrive a lot earlier than expected.
To make it easy, I’ll write a list based on my own experiences.
If you do not know the sex of the baby (either by choice or necessity), then clothes should be bough in unisex colours.
Although this list may seem excessive, I have found through my own experiences that it is in fact pretty basic. You will need more, but fortunately you can get the extra bits and pieces you need as you go along. As your baby gets older, they will need other items such as cots and bigger sheets. I will address such issues in a later posting.
As for cost, yes, it’s a lot. But not as much as you think. You can get all he items listed above for circa €750 with some shopping around. You can save even more if you are willing to accept hand-me-downs from family or friends.
What about toys? If truth be told babies don’t really care much for toys until they are a few months old. By all means buy toys, but remember they will be more likely to be used as cute props in photographs, rather than being enjoyed by your baby. It’s also worth noting that your friends and family are going to buy baby lots of toys as presents. And in any case your baby will get all the stimulation they need from you, your family and friends lavishing them with love and attention.
Your baby should sleep in his/her Moses basket in your bedroom for the first few months, after that they can move in to their own room. Different specialists disagree about how long baby should stay in your room. My advice is to ask your parents and friends what they suggest and also read up on what baby books say, there is no right or wrong answer. It might be as little as a week or two or it could be a few months.
Your room should be clean, tidy and you need to be able to accurately control the temperature without causing draughts. A baby’s room should be kept at a specific temperature for their own safety, baby books will advise on what is correct, so you need to be able to vary the temperature easily. It goes without saying that you should not smoke in the room either.
Getting the baby’s own room ready is tremendous fun. Don’t rush in to it, plan it out carefully with the full involvement of your partner and remember to keep it safe and stimulating.
No matter what happens during her pregnancy, your partner is going to suffer simply because of the sheer physical strain pregnancy places on her. You have to help her.
You should be taking on more (if not all) the various household chores such as cleaning, laundry, cooking and shopping. You should also be caring for her body.
She will love caressing, careful rubs and massages. You don’t need to be trained in massage techniques to give a good massage. Gentle rubbing with a natural massage oil will do the trick. If you are doing it wrong, your partner will let you know. Give it a go, she’ll really appreciate it.
You might also want to look in to rearranging your home to help her. Perhaps by making sure objects she may need that are on high shelves are moved lower and vice versa.
Take a little tip from me, get her some wedge pillows. These pillows are designed to support her ‘bump’ whilst she sleeps sleeps. I can vouch that they work! You’ll need at least two though for proper support, three would be ideal.
What I have written above is advice based on my own experiences of becoming a father. I have tried to focus on the things that a lot of parenting books and magazines fail to mention and to approach it from the father’s perspective. It is in no way extensive, there is so much to learn about pregnancy and child birth that it’s almost like doing a degree.
As I said in my first post on this topic, you should still keep reading books about child birth and child care, despite the fact that they sometimes fail to address some of the more practical issues.
You should be attending ante-natal classes with your partner as well as keeping on top of letters/appointments that your hospital may be sending you. You should be looking after yourself too. Eat well, get plenty of execrise and make sure you get a good nights sleep every night. In a few months you’ll be finding yourself awake at some ungodly hours, so best get yourself prepared for it now.
In my next post in this series I will write about getting prepared for the actual moment of birth and advising you about getting a hospital bag ready, what you will be doing at the hospital and how to cope with one of the most overwhelming experiences you will ever have.
Posted on 08 March 2010.
As you may already know, I became a father for the first time last year.
Despite all the sleepless nights, smelly nappy bins and and all the running around after the little poop machine, having a baby is the most wonderful feeling. I can heartily recommend it.
I though I would write about my experiences and offer some practical advice to other expectant fathers. There is a lot of information out there for expectant dads, but to be honest I found most of it to be rubbish! I have yet to find one book or website that has accurately predicted the things I really had to do after I learned my wife was pregnant. Hopefully, I can correct this.
To start off with I will talk about my experiences from the day my wife found out she was pregnant though to the sixth month.
Two Pink Lines
The first thing you need to know is that pregnancy testing kits don’t work as you may think. They are made to err on the side of caution. The manufacturers would rather have their testing kits show a false negative, rather than a false positive if unable to detect a high enough level of pregnancy hormones in the ladies wee-wee. This is sensible as I’m sure most people would rather have the false negative scenario over a false positive one. Being told you are pregnant and then finding out you aren’t would be pretty demoralising.
For us the above mattered because although my wife had missed her period for over a week each test came back with one instead of two pink lines – in other words, the tests were saying there was no pregnancy. This was rather odd so we went to out doctor to get a better test. At the doctors we learnt something rather surprising, they use the same testing techniques as what you would in a home testing kit – albeit they buy their kits in bulk and they look a bit different.
The doctors test came back negative too. Hmmm, what is going on? Well, the doctor exaplined soemthing which now, in hindsight, appears to be obvious. It can take up to two weeks for the pregnancy hormones in a ladies body to reach the levels needed for a pregnancy test to give a positive result. In other words, if your good lady misses her period and the tests keep coming back negative, you may need to wait a week or two for a positive result.
When you get a positive result, it will be natural for you to want to tell everyone. I wanted to climb up on to the roof and shout “MY SEED IS STRONG!!!”. But you should hold fire for a bit.
Your partner may wish to wait for the first few weeks or months to pass before going public. Although she will be happy that she is pregnant, she will also have fears. Fears for the safety of her baby and herself. These are natural instinctive fears, so you should honour any requests to keep quiet about her pregnancy until she is ready to let the cat out of the bag.
I’ll Have a Whisky (wink, wink)
If your partner chooses to keep her pregnancy a secret you may want to invent a code that will allow her to go out and have a full social life without people cottoning on. For example, my wife wanted to keep her pregnancy a secret until she could tell her parents first in person. While waiting for this to happen we developed a drinks ordering code for use in bars. If she went out without having a single alcoholic drink, her friends would have picked up on that immediately and twigged what was happening. Plus, drinking during pregnancy is probably a bad thing, I think. This was our code:
Pregnancy will do weird things to both you and your partners emotions. It’s normal.
Most of these emotions will be happy ones, but occasionally you will have bad ones too. I can’t offer any advice on what to do when this happens other than to say it will all be worth it in the end and that you should be there for each other and accommodate any sudden mood changes.
Don’t Go Shopping, Yet
You are going to be tempted to go shopping for your little’un. You should resist that urge until later in the pregnancy. People are going to buy things for the baby and you may as well take advantage of them. Plus, if you rush out to buy things now then you will probably be cursing yourself as you will be tripping over it for the next 9 months!
What You Really Need to Do
So what should you be doing? It’s simple, look after your partner. Over the next few months her bump is going to get bigger and bigger. This will place a physical strain on her, so you need to alleviate these strains. Here are some of the things you can do to help…
So there you have it. Your job as a gentleman during the first few months of your partners pregnancy is to look after her and take on the roles and tasks she will soon struggle with. This is the easy part, the trickier stuff will come later….
If you liked this post or if you have any advice of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments section.
Posted on 15 November 2009.
Tonight I noticed that the monkey has learnt how to play mind games with me.
I had put him in his groove and learn play thingy and for a few minutes he was happy with this, whilst I sat nearby working on some code.
Then the flood gates opened, WAHHHHHH! WAHHHHHHHH! went the monkey and soon as as I looked at him the crying ceased and a big smile appeared almost instantly. The very second I looked away he started again. The change between crying and smiling was as instant as alight switch being flicked.
He won, I picked him up and gave him cuddles, as I had been doing all day before that.
Never forget, babies are far cleverer and more wily that you would think.
Posted on 13 November 2009.
Nine months of preparation just isn’t enough!
My wife was a few weeks short of full term and her doctor had decided to induce her early as the baby was getting big.
We arrived at the Coombe hospital on a Sunday afternoon, expecting to be proud parents soon after. However, it took a lot longer than expected as I will explain in this post.
We had expected the following process:
And that it would take 12-18 hours in total. Well, it did happen like that, but took much longer.
Firstly, due to a backlog in the birthing suite we had to stay in a normal ward until they were ready for us. All this time the special gel would cause Jen occasional bouts of excruciating pain. Also, they would hook her up to a fetal monitor machine. Something which I now regard as one of the most un-userfriendly pieces of equipment ever devised. This machine monitors the baby’s heart-rate through the use of two pads that have to be strapped on to the mum to be. The level of precision at which they have to be placed on the mothers tummy is ridiculous, a millimetre out and they will lose the signal. This happens a lot as mums-to-be tend to get uncomfortable and like to move around. So for the best part of a day we had to fiddle with those stupid pads attached to that stupid machine. Yes, I know the machine was a necessity, but it was still a right pain.
Because of the backlog in the birthing suite, I was sent home after a few hours and told to come back the next day. So I headed home for a good nights sleep and to steel myself for another day of anticipation.
I arrived back to the hospital at 8:00am the next monring expecting things to happen soon. They didn’t, and we had to wait until 6:00pm for a birthing bed to become available. All the while, Jen felt occasional pain and the hospital kept connecting her up to that stupid monitor machine.
When Jen finally got in to her birthing bed (a magnificent contraption if you ask me) they did the deed and broke her waters.
I can only imagine the pain she was going through at this point. I have never seen anyone express pain the way she did from that point forward. She was in agony and there wasn’t a anything I could do to alleviate it.
The problem with pain relief during childbirth is that the mother has to make a choice. She can have either an epidural or drugs, but not both – apparently. Epidurals are better at giving relief, but the mother has to wait a few hours after her waters break before she can get one. Drugs are not 100% effective, but can be taken immediately with the proviso that no epidural is administered later on. Jen chose to wait for an epidural. In the meantime she could breath entonox gas (a.k.a. laughing gas), supposedly it has pain reliving properties, but it didn’t really work for Jen.
In the four hours between Jen having her waters broken and receiving her epidural, she expressed her pain the only way she knew how, by vocalising it. Jen is a singer, a very good singer! When she wants to vocalise her pain, she does it like no one else can. All I can say is wow! Her screaming was so wow! that when the anaesthetist arrived to give her the epidural he begged her to be quiet as he couldn’t concentrate. All the other mums were screaming obscenities, mostly, but Jen was classy and just sang a very loud pitch perfect tone that travelled so far throughout the hospital and beyond. She also nearly broke my hand as she was grabbing it so hard, but I don’t mind.
After the epidural was given, Jen became a new woman. She was happy as the epidural switched off all pain below the torso. Well, it not only switched off all the pain, it paralysed her too, As a result I had to physically man handle her when she wanted to move.
For the next eight hours the doctors and nurses poked and prodded at her. All sorts of probes were attached to her, inside and out. At 5:00am the next morning, Jen attempted to give birth but due to difficulties she was wheeled in to the theatre for a forceps birth and two hours later just after 7:00am, this little bundle arrived:
Don’t let the tubes worry you, as The Monkey’s birth took so long the hospital took precautions and placed him in a incubator for a day to keep an eye on him.
An hour after the birth I was sent home to get some sleep, I had been awake and on my feet for 24 hours and I was knackered. On the way home I passed out in the taxi and had to be woken up. Four hours sleep later I was back in the hospital admiring the little bundle above. Life was good.
Jake was allowed home a few days later and we became a family.
I learned a lot from this experience that I would like to pass on to any expectant father who may be reading this.
The first thing I would say is that the fathers main job through all this is the help the mother. Not just in the hospital, but getting ready for it too.You should attend antenatal classes with your partner and read books on pregnancy and childbirth so that you have a good understanding of the processes involved. It will help you both immeasurably.
You should have your wife’s hospital bag packed and ready to go several weeks before the due date – just in case.
You need to purchase a baby bucket car seat and make sure it fits in your car before leaving for the hospital as most hospitals will refuse to discharge your baby unless you have one.
You and your wife will have an urge to pack things like books and maybe a laptop – resist it! Trust me, the mother won’t have much chance to make use of them before the baby is born, and afterwards for that matter. If you bring them you will only have to carry them back home and you really don’t want that with a new baby to look after.
Make sure you have a supply of clean, loose fitting nighties on standby, they will be needed.
Your wife will experience horrifying pain the likes of which cannot be described. We men cannot even imagine what it feels like. There is nothing you can do to alleviate this pain, all you can do is comfort her and hold her hand. That is what she needs from you most of all during birth.
Trust the doctors and nurses they know what they are doing, if something is amiss they will tell you.
Don’t neglect yourself. Eat regularly to keep your energy levels up. Bring food for yourself if you think there is no way to buy food at or near the hospital.
Most of all try to enjoy the experience. yes, you will be knackered, but it is so worth it.
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