Kim Bell chatted to a few new dads to find out what they wish they had known about pregnancy and labour before they became dads.
Pregnancy is an amazing, somewhat scary, journey for you and your partner – particularly when it’s your first child. Here’s what you should know to help you on your way.
“You are more prepared than you think.” – Dave
Of course, you are going to question everything you do (and say) during this time. But, you are more prepared than you think and you will be fine. You are the best dad for your child.
“Her nose will be more sensitive than a dog’s during pregnancy.” – Paul
During pregnancy, your wife’s sense of smell is truly heightened. Your cologne and body wash (that you have been using for months) will suddenly cause a violent reaction in her, or she may complain about certain strong food smells. Be warned.
“Don’t underestimate morning sickness.” – Kabelo
Morning sickness is a misnomer since this nausea can strike at any time of the day. This usually abates by 16 to 18 weeks. Make sure you have ginger tea and dry salted crackers on hand, as this can help. However, some women have morning sickness that lasts all day, or is extremely severe. This is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, and may need medical assistance from your gynae.
“Each pregnancy is different.” – Pete
You can read all the books and take all the classes, but it is best to expect the unexpected. Life (and pregnancy) rarely goes according to plan. You may find yourself hunting for ice lollies at 2am, or she may have no cravings at all. She may have planned for a natural home birth, only to find that a hospital birth is recommended.
“Pregnancy brain is real.” – Rajesh
As the pregnancy progresses, it will seem as if your unborn baby is stealing your partner’s brain cells – quite literally. It may start with losing her sunglasses (that are on her head), but can progress to putting the dishwashing liquid in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard, or leaving the keys in the front door. Be prepared for this (and don’t mock her).
“You will put on weight.” – Shaun
You may find that your wife seems hungry all the time, or has strange food cravings. One of the unmentioned side effects of pregnancy is weight gain – yours. Understand that the more she eats, the more you will eat, whether you want to or not.
“There will be times that you simply can’t help” – Richard
You may be married to the strongest woman alive, but there will be times that she will lean on you for support. Then there will be times that she will be in discomfort and pain that you simply can’t help with. Being there physically and emotionally for her will be of benefit, but there will be times when she just wants to be on her own. Don’t take it personally.
“She does love you – even if she tells you she hates you during labour.” – Wayne
Labour will be the hardest, most painful experience that either one of you will ever go through. For her, it is physical. For you, it’s emotional as you can’t take that pain and discomfort away from her. During labour, she may turn from your adoring and loving wife into a screaming banshee, and names will drip with venom from her lips. Don’t worry. This is fleeting, and all will be forgotten (and forgiven) the moment that beautiful baby is lying in her arms.
“Don’t look unless you really, really want to.” – Jeff
During labour, your gynae or midwife may ask if you want to take a look at what is happening. This can be an incredible experience for some, but for others, this may change the way you look at your wife. If you are concerned about this, stay head-side and hold her hand for comfort (both of yours).
“Your partner is just as anxious as you.” – Jason
She may seem like she has it all together, but the same rollercoaster emotions are coursing through her mind as well. Everything you are questioning about whether you are going to be a good parent, if you will be able to recognise your baby’s cries, etc, she is questioning too. Share your worries and anxieties, not only will this help her feel better, it will you too.
Kim Bell is a wife, mother of two teenagers and a lover of research and the way words flow and meld together. She has been in the media industry for over 20 years, and yet still learns more about life from her children everyday. You can learn more about Kim Bell here.