For us dads, the whole pregnancy lark is really just a spectator sport. No one is interested in our opinion, many heath professionals would rather we stayed out of the whole proceedings (including the delivery room!) and generally we’re forced to take a backseat as the world and his friend focuses their attention on your pregnant partner.
Not that we mind all of the help and support being offered, it’s just, well, we would have liked to have been included a bit more. So, baby comes along and an army of midwives and health officers continue to monitor how mum and baby are getting on. Still, there’s not a word to inquire after the well being of dad. Still no one asking if we are coping with it all, and to add insult to injury, our paternity leave is about to run out. Brilliant.
So how do you make the most of the post-natal experience? Well, for one, ensure that your partner spends the night in hospital after the birth, farm out any other children into the welcoming arms of friends and family and make sure you wet the baby’s head – it will be a long time before you get another chance. Once she’s home get involved with the new baby as much as possible – change nappies, run baths, wash clothes, wash dishes, change the bedding, help with feeding and generally immerse yourself in the scary but ultimately fascinating experience of fatherhood.
This hands-on attitude will be rewarded with lots of praise and admiration from all who witness it. And that, my friend, is all we require, just the occasional pat on the back and to know we’re loved…
By Jon Smith