This time last year Her Majesty and I were still pregnant. Yes, I know that she was technically the one pregnant but in actual fact you are both expectant parents and therefore pregnant. So to prepare all you “would be” and “soon to be” dads, here are my top tips:
1. If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year and are still not managing it, be a man and go get your swimmers counted.
Oh shockedy horror how can you not be a man? Well , there is a 50/50 chance that you are the problem. I was, so go and put your mind at ease and more importantly your majesty’s mind at ease
2. Be there.
Be there for every Gynae appointment, fetal assessments, anti-natal class, any other appointment or class. It is the single best thing that I did. Her Majesty appreciated my complete involvement and I wouldn’t have missed any of it for the world, apart from the one appointment where I was overseas with work!
3. Roll with the punches.
Pregnancy is a sometimes traumatic, sometimes joyous, life-changing event. There will be serious highs; there will be serious lows. Your job is to roll with it and be the constant rock that’s depended upon.
4. Be amazed at the marketing machine that kicks into gear.
As a marketing manager I was blown away at the efforts to get a long-term share of our back pockets. You will be hit on immediately and from all sides, take the freebies and then make your own decisions.
5. Start buying nappies from around sixteen weeks pregnant.
Other than being at every appointment, this is my next best piece of advice. The second your bundle of joy pops out it will cost; actually it costs from the start of the pregnancy, but once born it really costs. We offset some of this cost by purchasing nappies during pregnancy and are only now with Mitch aged nine months starting to buy nappies again.
6. Get the nursery done early.
Big strain as your majesty will want everything to be just right, well in advance. We took advantage of the Christmas holidays to do it, even though Mitch was due in May/June. He was born in April. It meant that the final trimester was a lot easier with less running around.
7. Enjoy having a dedicated driver.
Enjoy nine months of heaven as you can have a few toots at night when socializing. Make the most of it because like it or not, if you are like me, you will change post arrival. I now rarely drink when out at night with Mitch and Kim and find I drive a lot slower too.
8. Do things together.
This might sound bizarre and I accept that Mitch has not been the norm, more on that in the future, but I am really glad that we took the time to do easy day trips and weekends away. It’s the last big block of time you will have as a couple for a while, so enjoy it.
9. Be present at the birth.
Sounds strange me saying that, but I don’t mean just standing around holding hands. I was there with my camera taking images, like the one at the top. I cut the cord, I assisted our Paediatrician when asked, and then due to a few minor issues changed the first nappy etc etc. The same goes for afterwards. Mitch was premature and was in high care for a week, so was Kim. I was there running between ICU’s, changing nappies, bathing, caring, it was for me some of the fondest memories that I have in my life.
10. Let your hair down.
Being a Pomme, I had a tradition of baby head whetting to uphold so the night Mitch was born I went out to the pub with family and friends and got very hydrated, enjoyed a cigar and celebrated the start of a life. Kim and I had agreed well in advance that I would do this and it was great to have a beer with my own father and close friends.
Over and above all of this, my advice is to just enjoy the process. It’s magical to see your child’s heartbeat for the first time then to see it evolve into a human. To watch your wife bloom, and to enjoy the process of going from a couple to a family, or extending the family if its not your first born.
Pregnancy, challenging, yet also pretty amazing.