Being the mum, I’ll be honest and say I haven’t really thought much about the role of the dad in pregnancy. I realise that sounds massively selfish, but my thought process so far has simply been that Eamo just being there is enough. But I really don’t think he believes me when I tell him that.
Now, before I make an enemy of every mum in the world, bear with me when I say I think that partners get a bit of a raw deal during pregnancy.
(Still with me…?)
Don’t get me wrong, if Eamo could be pregnant and have this baby, I’d absolutely swap. But I also think it must be really hard just to effectively sit on the sidelines while your partner go through the biggest changes of her life and feel like there’s nothing you can do to help or make it easier/better. Not only do they have to deal with every craving, mood swing, become a punching bag (this is definitely true in Eamo’s case), all without argument (for the most part), they can’t actually do anything.
After my first trip to Mothercare, it’s fair to say I got a bit carried away. On my return I started thinking about the nursery decor and furniture, etc, and just presenting Eamo with ideas as to how I’d like it to be, and didn’t actually think to ask for his opinion. Not because I don’t want it, but because the decisions I was making were, wrongly, not something I thought would be massively important to him.
It wasn’t until we were on out way to Mothercare together at the weekend, when he told me he feels like lots of decisions are being made without him and that his opinion didn’t count, that I realised that was totally how it had come across and apologised. This is his baby too, and I felt awful that I needed to be reminded of that. Seeing his face when he said he felt his opinion doesn’t matter broke me a little bit, because it couldn’t be further from the truth.
When discussing decorating the nursery, I dropped in the dreaded ‘wallpaper’ word. His reaction was ‘fucking wallpaper, *rolls eyes*, that stuff is a nightmare’. Not wanting to put him out I happily chirped in, ‘well I can do it, how hard can it be?’. To which he replied, ‘Babe, you’re doing enough, in fact, you’re doing it all by having the baby. I already feel like a spare prick at a wedding in this pregnancy – you need to let me do something!‘.
I’m lucky that we talk a lot and he’s brilliant at telling me when something is bothering him. But I’d genuinely never even thought that’s how he might feel and it was a real eye opener about seeing this pregnancy from his point-of-view. I’m 19 weeks pregnant now and I’ve struggled along the way to make a connection with this baby, mainly because I don’t really have any physical signs yet. So if it’s tough for me, how hard must it be for him? All he’s had so far is talk of being a dad and me being somewhat difficult to live with on (many an) occasion.
So I made a promise to myself to take my head out my ass and be a lot more conscious of how he feels about everything that’s happening, although I can’t guarantee that I won’t be a pain in the ass again (I think that is pretty much a given).
But to all you dads and partners out there, especially my brilliant dad-to-be, be safe in the knowledge that while you can’t actually physically do anything to help, just being there for your other half really is enough. Whether that is to go out late at night and get the ice cream she so desperately craves, biting your tongue when she asks you not to breathe so loudly (sorry babe 😉 ) or being that shoulder for her to cry about seemingly nothing on. I know I’m extremely lucky but I, for one, couldn’t do this without the support (and nightly foot rubs) Eamo provides. And I love him all the more for it.