Once I found out I was going to be a Dad, I really wanted to be involved in the development of the baby in any way I could. I was obviously heavily involved in the making of the baby...but the reality for a lot of Dads and first time Dads in particular is that you're slightly forgotten about once your pregnant. (And with the current Covid-19 restrictions, it's certainly not helping matters).
As a first time Dad to be, and maybe some other Dads can relate to this, I keep getting the question thrown at me, "You must be so excited?"... And that's fucking it. Now, I am beyond excited but repetitiveness of the question and the swiftness from the person who asked said question to move on to your wife/partner is incredible. The Millennium Falcon flying through hyperspace isn't as quick.
No sooner have they asked the question, they have a plethora of questions about your wife ready to ask you. "How's she doing/feeling?", "How's she sleeping?", "Is she showing?", "Morning Sickness?", "Cravings?", "Is she taking a supplement?" "Such and such is doing this, has she tried it? She should try it?"... an on and on for what feels like the duration of lent.
If only there was a call forwarding function for my brain at this moment in time so I could direct all these questions to the person who is best placed to answer said questions. Eh...my wife maybe.
Now I'm not trying to come across as I'm having a bitch and moan about it. This is just the way 'pregnancy' has been seen in Ireland for years. It's very mother centric which is understandable and natural of course, since they're the one growing a baby and their body goes through a lot. And there has been great moves for inclusion for Dads/partners. But the reality is that as Dads we are the afterthought for most people during pregnancy.
People won't ask a Dad how they're feeling/doing? Other than the question about being excited. The Dad/partner could be struggling, overwhelmed, fearful and anxious. There is 40 weeks of pregnancy. 40 weeks of feeling he isn't in a position to tell someone he's shitting his pants. And the due date is coming soon, very soon.
This was one of the reasons behind me starting this blog. To share my experiences so that other men can see it's ok to be fearful or that it's ok to not know the first thing about babies. And hopefully by reading this blog that Dads will pick up tips, relate to certain things or at the very least know where to go to find the information on a particular subject.
This weekend was World Mental Health Day, and it was something that was on mind. I had put on my social media channels, that I was here to talk if anyone needed. I had someone reach out to me on Instagram saying they were struggling. And as men, in this I have to be the hard man world sometimes, reaching out isn't easy. So fair fucks.
I'm not an expert, but all I reiterated again & again was "to talk to someone, anyone" and focus on the positives. Confide in a family member, friend or what I like to do to get shit off my chest is talk to my dog Indie. She's a great listener to be fair to her. But it just allows me to air things, it might make it easier for me, once I said it out loud, to say it to someone else.
The Power of the Lads WhatsApp Group
I'm very fortunate to have a great group of close friends. I feel comfortable to speak to them all as group or individually about anything. That if I needed their help, they'd be there and I've said to them that I'm always there for them and I hope they always know that.
My wife jokes that our WhatsApp Group is like our little therapy sessions. Now with the group a certain level of slagging is to be expected. But if they didn't slag or mock me, I'd be worried. We air a lot of stuff in that group and the directions it takes sometimes is bizarre. But having that group gives me the confidence that if I need to speak to someone, other than my wife, that I can. They're a great bunch.
So wives/partners/girlfriends, if your other half is typing furiously on WhatsApp, it could be for a good reason other than slagging one of the lads or sharing a funny picture. So maybe give him an extra minute on WhatsApp and then ask him how he is.