Day 103 of pregnancy, (or 14 weeks and 5 days), I don't remember a time when my wife wasn't pregnant. The bottle of red wine on a Friday evening after work seems like a distant memory. Who knows, maybe some day when I escape this place, I can crack open a bottle of red on a Friday and enjoy some meats and cheeses without the fear of the cheeses having to be pasteurised or my wife glaring at me as she can't eat deli meats.
I joke, my wife's pregnancy isn't some form of punishment that I have to endure. Even if I do really miss having a meats & cheese board. Changes in our routine during pregnancy was always going to happen. Obviously this would happen, as my now pregnant wife can't really be knocking back a bottle of Rioja every week. The baby would pop out be looking for a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon instead of the boob.
Honestly, at the moment, I may have a few bottles of craft beer at the weekend. My wife may have a nonalcoholic prosecco but other than that it's tea or peppermint tea. And with the evenings getting colder, that's not the worst option.
14 Weeks and 5 Days
At this point in the pregnancy. It kinda feels like I'm in limbo a bit. For both me and my wife. We had the 12 week scan and the announcement and you are on this almost extreme high. You're telling anyone that will listen that you're having a baby...(even... setting... up a blog, I'm very excited).
But with any high comes the inevitable low. As I said, my wife and I are in this limbo. An 8-week limbo until our next scan which is the 20-week anomaly scan. This period has also led me to start thinking of my fears and anxieties of becoming a dad.
Fears & Anxieties
Now, I'll be honest with ye lads, I've suffered with anxiety in the past. That feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about the unknown. It's raised it's fucking head in my work environment, sport environment, in relationships and now it's starting to scratch the back of my head like annoying fucking moth or midges.
People who know me, know I starting thinking about everything and start thinking fast. For example in a professional work environment, it would be a idea or ideas followed by outcome and what revenue we'll generate. Followed by what if the idea doesn't work, what if the outcome isn't achieved and what if I don't make the target revenue or even worse lose money. A vicious circle that only increases my anxiety which then leads to me to question everything in detail including emails, wording, tone and even the time it takes to get a reply email. And it would keep on rolling.
There is a lot of talk around mental health these days and I'm not going to get into that now. Simply, over the years I've learned how to deal with it as I matured and began to spot the signals. Panic sweats do help.
My pregnancy related fears and anxieties really centre around the fact that I can control sweet fuck all in pregnancy lads. And neither can you to a certain degree. I'm not the one physically pregnant. Yes I can cook plenty of nutritionally dense meals and make my wife's day less stressful as best I can. (She'll read this now and be like...hmmm...stop with the Dad jokes and we might be getting somewhere. But I do need to get the practice in lads). But I've no control. Zero.
My fears are obvious. I'm fearful that there might be an issue with my baby or during the pregnancy. That I'm not doing enough to support my wife during pregnancy. That this anomaly scan might show something. That my wife may have complications. That there is an issue at birth. That I'll be unable to support my baby. That I'll be unable to give it everything it needs in life. That I won't be a good Dad and someone they can always come to. Oh and on top of all of that I now have to contend with a fucking pandemic and who knows what else is coming down the line.
All legitimate fears and if one of these hasn't crossed your mind as an expecting Dad I'd be shocked. These fears lead to anxiety and then boom! See the above vicious circle example.
How I deal with these Fears & Anxieties
It's taken me a while to figure it out but I simply take a couple of mins when they pop up. Often times this involves me going for a quick walk, leave the office get some air or, and I'm being honest, the toilet. Very few people bother you there. I also leave the phone behind me as it's a distraction especially when it comes to this sort of stuff.
I then acknowledge them as genuine fears. I take each one individually or sometimes collectively. Then turn my focus on the positive side of that fear and what I can dispel or get rid off, I do. I dump it into the vast nothingness that is the back of my head. Oh and my friends will tell you it's vast. Simple in theory but often easier said then done.
For example take the fear "That I'm not doing enough to support my wife during pregnancy" - The Positive side is; "Hold on ta fuck, I am. I'm doing an ok job. You know what I can do right now, I'll make sure that everything is done around the house, so when she gets in she can relax". It's not rocket science lads but its a simple fix that will go a long way for both easing my anxiety and to supporting my wife.
Focusing on the positives and putting that energy out there I find helps to keep my anxiety at bay. It helps me to focus my mind on the positives of the pregnancy and the fact that I'm going to be a Dad. It also allows me focus on the jobs that need to be done before the baby arrives and helps busy my mind.
Hopefully this helps lads. This is how I deal with it. I'm by no means an expert either or that this is the only way to deal with your fears around becoming a Dad. But "do deal with them" if you have them, don't leave them until your 20 hours into labour and your hand is being crushed by a screaming woman that once resembled your wife/partner.
If you need to chat about it, sure drop me a message in any of the social links below.