Sunday, 15 April 2012

Dad's Pregnancy Diary: Pains, trains and automobiles

It couldn't last...with just over two months to go our relatively peaceful household has descended into chaos, even before the baby arrives. First our two-year old fell ill with a bad virus, then I got it too and then my wife's mother, who travelled up to our house to help, got it worst of all.

This left my now quite heavily pregnant wife as the only person in our home not unwell and scurrying around trying to tend to everyone else.

Then I hit 40, alarming enough, and promptly did my back in on the very day. Now neither of the adults in the house is able to bend down easily, meaning our two-year-old is having to pick anything up that falls to the floor. About time, I say!

Meanwhile my wife is still struggling to work amid the horrors of trying to get a seat on the train.
I thought it was an old cliche that men didn't give up their seats to pregnant women. But it appears that it's still somewhat true.

Despite her 'baby on board' badge my wife says that it's usually only other women who ever offer her a place to sit when she's standing there looking like she's smuggled a ball out of the local bowling alley.

Her theory is not so much that men are simply selfish, but that, in their morning daze, most of them are only primed to notice women who 'are very obviously worth eyeing up'!

I think this is actually much more plausible than the other theory, only ever put about by men, that they're too embarrassed to relinquish their seat in case the female in question is overweight rather than pregnant.

In my experience acts of obvious chivalry are pretty much always appreciated by the opposite sex and it really is worth the infinitesimally small chance of ending up red-faced to save a pregnant woman from suffering in silence.

Mind you, my only contribution to my wife's woes at the moment seems to be offer up the occasional foot massage for her sore feet. Of course they're very rare – well I have my back to think of don't I?

Talking of transport, I've suddenly realised that our little car is probably too small to accommodate a two-year-old who is already the size of most four-year-olds and three more of us.

Our deluxe baby car seat from the first time around was ridiculously expensive (we won't be making those sort of rookie financial blunders again) and is so elaborate that it won't fit behind the driver's seat when it's pushed back.

After shelling out on a garden office, so I can continue working from home and make way for junior's new bedroom, we simply can't afford a new motor so we'll just have to cope somehow.
Though I won't be following my dad's solution of simply putting the youngest child loose in the boot, albeit when he was about seven. Somehow, on long journeys to the South of France in the 1980s, that seemed OK.

And it did, actually, prove very useful, especially when on one holiday the suitcase fell off the roof rack. My little brother was perfectly placed to alert my father to the fact that it was now lying in the ditch about 500 yards back.

As far as preparations for the birth go, it's got to the stage where I've had to warn the people I work for that I might disappear into the dark recesses of a maternity ward soon and suddenly.
In my experience male colleagues are actually very understanding in this respect.

If they have children they remember the sweaty palmed nervousness at the thought of getting their partners to the delivery room in time. If they haven't got kids then they are so freaked out by the very thought of having to get into discussions about labour and all that "women's stuff" that they'd almost agree to anything.

Oh, and as for the baby? He's on the move too. We're not quite sure whether he's simply shuffling about in an awkward way, embarrassed by our increasingly odd behaviour, or just getting himself into the right position for birth.

If he's anything like his older brother he's bedding down for a long innings thinking: "I'll just stay here for a bit until things calm down."

You can catch up on previous dad's pregnancy diaries here.

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