When I became pregnant people always said to me, “I wish people would have told me (insert terrifying event here) about pregnancy. I was JUST trying to get through my day without falling asleep or throwing up while simultaneously trying to not have a panic attack as I counted kicks (apparently you should feel ten baby kicks in a two hour time period at least once a day… or something like that). A practice our mothers likely didn’t know about and a byproduct of modern medical research that fueled my anxiety, albeit has also saved lives. I’d find myself continually in conversations with women where’d I’d say “wow, what a wild 36 hour induction…” as I calmly told her what a great mom she is and a panicked version of myself got into my car, headed to the nearest drive through and cried into a large fry that was chased with a Zantac (obviously pre-recall, meh… maybe not. Either way, it was a top three survival item in my first 17 weeks).
Meanwhile… my husband, Dan, was moving through life like nothing had changed. A tiny human was giving me a complete overhaul of my mind, body, and spirit and my husband was excited because he had a designated driver for almost a year. He’s a supportive partner, always, but he didn’t fully understand, how could he? I had to teach him.
Welcome to Raising Dads, Part 1. A series of stories from a mom raising a baby and also watching her husband become a dad. We are making the same transition many of you have, I’m just documenting it from my point of view. It takes a village they say, but I guess I didn’t realize I’d be responsible to teach the village.
I’ve never been one to suffer in silence and I’m not subtle. Life is not fair… but I’ll sure as hell see to it that you understand that. I think the strategy of stoic women is admirable, but that’s not me…I prefer the dramatics. I’d dramatically complain about my pregnancy symptoms and the constant anxiety that I was feeling. I complained about my acid reflux, my hip pain, and the overall lack of sleep. I continued to google solutions and was providing real time updates to Dan. Eventually, you could tell that he had realized that he had the easy way out and he purchased the book “The Expectant Father,” likely as a peace offering of some kind. It was his way of saying “I see you. I’ll put in some work too.” In addition to buying the book he also asked one of his pregnant coworkers what the best pregnancy pillow was and purchased it for me. Below is Dan making sure the pillow is adequate for his uncomfortable wife.
The Expectant Father takes you through each step of pregnancy and how you can be helpful to your partner. I thought “how sweet!” I love when men order a book and we are absolutely moved to tears. The amount of books I’ve read and research I’ve completed on every facet of pregnancy and newborn life makes his paperback purchase comical. In all fairness, he was at every appointment with me, and picked up the slack that I couldn’t stay awake to complete. I recently asked Dan if he read any of the book, and he laughed and said “I flipped to the week you were at in the pregnancy, read that section and never picked it up again.”
Pregnancy continued on whether we were versed in it or not and we were getting excited?… haha well, we were at least getting ready. He’d continue to ask questions about certain baby related situations, my favorite being “I wonder if I’ll like our daughter as much as I love the cat…” A worthy fear, Dan… or “why are we buying this car seat?” I picked a car seat that came highly recommended after reading approximately ONE Facebook post. My research lacked actual data, but someone else surely had reviewed further If they were recommending on a Facebook post… right? Haha. Assuming Dan was referring to the price point in his line of questioning, I snapped back and said, “I’m rewarding myself for a job well done so far during pregnancy !” Through a series of not so subtle hints, and a constant reminder of the medical marvel that I was, “sorry, I was busy growing eyes today… was there something else I should be doing?” Dan got less curious about surface level parenting topics, & no longer had questions on the baby items that I “needed.” Basically, at this point, we were ready to excel at raising a child.
Finally, after a long nine months, on a walk a week before my due date, my water broke. We were a half mile from home, and Dan said, “so now what do we do?”
A phrase that would hilariously foreshadow the future.