Recently, I’ve been feeling as though I could be doing more, or SHOULD be doing more to contribute to preparing for the arrival of our first little baby. All I’ve done so far is put a new floor in the whole upstairs of the house, built new wardrobes, had new carpet fitted, started to redecorate the guest room for the grannies to stay in after baby comes. I’ve bought the baby car seat, buggy, cot-bed and the babies first few outfits. I’ve bought a new car with lots of space and I’m looking for a second run-around at the moment so that we have something for both of us to drive. I’ve put a savings plan in place, researched every nook and cranny of the bits we intend on buying and helped setup and host a gender-reveal party for all of our friends and family. I’ve attended all of our appointments and scans’ and tried to have an active input into what the doctors and midwives have been saying.
Wow… now that I can see it all written down, I’ve actually done a lot of what we had planned on getting done before our new addition arrives.
Is it enough though? Is there anything I’m missing? This is the most important event in my life following my wedding and that took ages to prepare for! Where’s my fine-toothed comb? I need to go through everything again. Mrs. D seems to be bearing the weight of all of this (in more than one way) and despite doing everything I can think of, I still often feel like a spare part of on Ikea cupboard.
I’m stuck in a state of limbo where I THINK I’m doing all the right things in theory but I don’t KNOW if I am. But this just raises the question of whether or not a first time parent ever KNOWS whether they’re doing enough prep.
Although it is the woman who carries the child for nine months the father has an equal foothold in preparing for the baby and there are many ways that a man can prepare himself for fatherhood. You might feel a bit lost at the beginning but most of these things have been well documented and I’m slowly learning about them. Which brings me to my latest experience…
We attended our first class last week with BirthMatters… It was held in a pleasant local community centre and was attended by 8 other couples that were at various stages of pregnancy. Some were later than us whilst others were way earlier.
After some brief introductions, the lady holding the class took us through a plan of what the next few sessions would entail.
One exercise we did, as a group was to split up into a Mum group and a Dad group, to discuss the questions we’d like answers to over the course of classes. They were a really good bunch of blokes, some of whom at the beginning were pretty reserved and a little speechless. After cracking a few manly ice-breakers (the usual ‘Ive never met you before but this shit joke should make you laugh’ kind of thing), it struck me as to how many of the Dads were asking the exact same questions I was.
What on earth is a birth plan?
What should we expect during labor?
What do we need to buy?
How do we cope with seeing our other half in pain?
What can we do to help without being in the way?
Which Haynes manual do I buy for babies?
The lady leading the class made it pretty clear that these are the bog standard questions that Dads ask at the sessions! We’re all in the same boat, which in many ways is pretty comforting.
The realisation kicked in that I was probably doing about all I can do at this point. The immediate future should be used as an opportunity to absorb as much helpful knowledge as possible, and despite how silly you might feel sometimes, to practice putting that knowledge to good use. A simple thing like being able to speak to other expectant fathers about what’s on their minds was so valuable. Having spent some time with the Mums, I’m sure Mrs. D felt the same.
Roll on due date. I’m almost ready for you!