Thoughts on becoming a dad for the second time
Although my son Tom is nearly 15, he only came into my life when he was about 3 months old. So although I’ve been a dad for years, I’ve never been through a pregnancy. Until now that is…
I’ve been married to my amazing wife Wendy for almost 5 years, and now she is just over 9 weeks pregnant. I’m learning fast what pregnancy is all about.
Pregnancy Hormones are REAL. People have told you about pregnancy hormones and mood swings, and you’ve laughed at cute movies about what to expect when you’re expecting. But you know your partner so well, and she’s just not the emotional type – so you know it really won’t be that bad, right?
Wrong. The surge of hormones through the pregnant mommy’s body are a force to be reckoned with. In seconds, Wendy can go from happily chatting about how wonderful it will be to have a baby, to what a mistake we’ve made. The pizza delivery guy taking longer to deliver than they said he would, will be YOUR fault and your normal routine of going to the gym after work may suddenly be completely selfish and unthoughtful and tear inducing. Dealing with all of this emotion can be very tough on a guy – but I’ve found the best way to cope with it is to keep remembering that it’s not her – it’s the hormones, and they will pass. Keep calm, and give her a hug (if you can get close enough without getting injured J)
Morning Sickness is ROUGH. And it’s got nothing to do with the morning. Wendy wakes up feeling really nauseous, and goes on feeling terrible all day on most days. She’s gone off most foods, and for the last 4 weeks has mostly stuck to a diet of dry biscuits, dry crackers and toast. The “good” news is that morning sickness is thought to be caused by the growth hormone that’s causing the baby and the placenta to grow healthily – so it’s a sign that the pregnancy is going well. And in most cases she’ll be fine by the second trimester, and will get her appetite back. Ginger helps (fresh ginger, ginger tea, ginger ale, ginger sweets), and so does regular eating – so help her out by making sure she has a stock of dry biscuits or crackers next to her bed to munch on as soon as she wakes, and her favourite ginger drink to start off the day. Her sense of smell is also in hyper drive – and the smell of cooking is likely to turn her stomach – so do what you can to keep her out of the kitchen (treat her to a meal out if she can stomach it) and no greasy fry-ups while she’s in the house!
Pregnancy Envy! Although I’m a very excited dad to be, and I’m crazily in love with my beautiful wife, in a way I find myself quite envious of her and the amazing experience of growing our child inside her. Not an ugly, ‘green with envy’ emotion – but more a desire that I could play a bigger part in the miracle. I guess what I’m envious of, is that special mother-unborn child connection that us men will never, ever experience. The feeling of a baby moving about inside you, the first kick and the bond formed during breastfeeding. The truth is that after conception, physiologically and practically – until our baby is born, my part in this miracle is basically over, and I’m just not a necessity. Of course I will be the ever-supportive hubby, fetching crackers in the morning, and indulging whatever other cravings and moods may hit Wendy in the future. I will make sure she is comfortable and will attend to all the practical arrangements that need attending to. But I can’t help feeling a bit useless in the whole thing – compared to the huge part that Wendy is playing in this miracle.
9 months just isn’t enough. 9 months is 75% of a year – yet in terms of getting everything ready for the arrival of our baby, it feels like 9 months just won’t be enough. We’re only 9 weeks into the pregnancy, but when you consider that’s roughly 25% of the way there, I really wonder where the last few weeks have gone. I’ve done nothing concrete towards getting our home and our lives ready for Zee’s arrival. I still need to learn all about the baby gadgets we might need (and buy them!). Still got to get baby furniture, and baby clothes. Still got to read the books so I can know everything I want to know by the time baby arrives. Still got to try and get as much extra sleep as possible, so I’m in sleep credit by the time our sleep deprivation starts. Now take a breath, and stop panicking. Get a pen and paper, and write down the things you need to do. If our new baby can grow from a few tiny cells to a perfect and beautiful little person in nine months, then surely I must be able to get through my list?
Pregnancy is an awe inspiring miracle. Yes, I know that millions of people around the world fall pregnant every day, but the amazing union of my “swimmer” and Wendy’s egg to create our precious little cluster of cells both humbles and excites me every time I think about it. And learning how our little Zygote (“Zee”) is growing on a daily basis: organs forming, arms and legs sprouting, teeth forming under tiny gums and heart beginning to pump is nothing short of amazing. Just thinking about the wonder of our inch-long baby growing inside Wendy’s womb makes me want to be a better person. It’s a feeling more wonderful than I could ever have imagined, and makes pregnancy a special time to cherish and remember.
This article was first posted on playgrounddad.com