Sunday, 17 January 2016

Things that suck for James about pregnancy

 It'd be unfair to say that us ladies get all of the stick during pregnancy, largely because behind this pregnant lady at least is one hell of a supportive Dad & Partner who has to see me go through my discomfort, put up with my mood swings and appear ecstatically excited at every single baby catalogue thrust under his nose. I was laid awake at 4am one night and wrote the draft to this post, J was actually at work, on his 30th Birthday and I had an overwhelming urge to commend and recognise him and his efforts on this blog. So here are the 10 things that my brain came up with in the small hours of the morning that totally suck for James, but he gets on with anyway.

1. He's always the last to know - Okay not strictly last but take her kicking for example, I had a good few weeks of feeling her and knowing she was wriggling around before he got to feel anything. Cue weeks of sitting with his hand glued to my belly and repeated "Can you feel that?" to an unsatisfied "no". Luckily he can feel her now and it would seem she's quite the Daddy's girl already, it's gone a bit awry recently as I've been off work for 2 weeks but if I've ever been away all day and she's been quiet & still, you can guarantee as soon as her Daddy's voice pipes up she'll start kicking away. I'm certain she can recognise voices as he's not always around in the evenings and then she normally won't come alive until I'm laid flat in bed. I sense favouritism already.
2. He has to be the level headed one - I'll be the first to admit that I'm a worrier, first my greatest fear was that I'd lose her in early pregnancy, now it's that I'll develop Pre-Eclampsia or gestational diabetes. We rely on him heavily to be the one to calm me down and think rationally about the situation before I bolt off to A&E at every available opportunity. Obviously on the occasions where we'e been told to go in by the Midwife he's been right there by my side and was just as concerned as I was, but I do rely on him to be the "strong" one.
3. He has to be the level headed one - No I'm not repeating myself (okay I kinda was) but I mean in a financial way too. If I had my way then my daughter would be head to toe in The Little White Company and Mini Boden and would probably be in all kinds of debt kitting out her nursery in the finest Silvercross furniture. Luckily for my bank balance, I have James to reign me in, even more luckily for me is whilst he is smart with money, he's by no means tight so we've reached a happy medium with Next, Zara, Mamas & Papas and GAP being amongst our favourite places to shop for her. She gets quite frankly fantastic quality but without her Mummy going bankrupt.
4. Things are more *ahem* physically challenging - Apologies to any of our nearest and dearest reading this, feel free to skip ahead to number 5. It's probably too much information for all of you but let's just say things ain't what they used to be in the bedroom department. Gone are the days of legging it upstairs and throwing caution & our clothes to the wind, nowadays my pleasure is 99% from being comfortable and 1% what he's actually doing. (Maybe those statistics are a little drastic but you catch my drift). We almost have to draw up an action place before of how much I've grown and how we're going to do this and I hear "I'm not hurting you am I?" on a regular occurrence. Luckily we can make a joke out of it and are so comfortable with each other that it doesn't phase us but I could completely understand if he ever got the hump.
5. It doesn't get much better when it's time for sleep, either - Unfortunately for James my most comfortable sleeping position is "Diagonal". I've find it quite comfy to have my head half on my pillow and half on his and whether I'm on my left, right or back I almost certainly have to be laying from corner to corner. I've also become an insanely light sleep (hence writing the draft for this at 4.50am because someone's not tied something down in their garden and it's making a continuous squeaking noise) so to me I now feel as though I'm sleeping next to Darth Vader. The poor bloke can probably count on one hand the amount of full nights sleep he's had beside me recently and we genuinely do a mini celebration if we make it to 7am.
6. He's doing the cooking/washing up for 2 - Whilst we've been very careful that I don't eat for two as it's unnecessary, he certainly does enough work around the house of the two of us. I've read that whilst most Mum's get a new lease of life in the second trimester, some of us also keep the tiredness of the first and become extremely lethargic. Unfortunately for James I am the latter, not that I want to be but after a day at work (which is nothing compared to what he does all day) all I can bring myself to do is crash on the sofa. It's something that I'm working on in 2016 for my sake as well as James' but the guy not only works hard out of our home but he now doesn't 90% of the chores within it. Don't get me wrong sometimes I'll go into nesting mode and clean this house from top to bottom single handedly in around 2 whole hours (followed by a looong nap) but the day to day stuff seems to be a struggle.
7. I get to be with her all day, every day - Something that I think James is quite keen on once our Little Girl has been born is having his time alone with her. I know I probably won't be in a fit state to let her out of my sight even with her father for a good 16 years (or at least until she can answer back) but it's something that we both feel is important for James. Right now I get her 24/7, I feel her every single movement and hiccup (even the ones at 4.30am that are so strong they actually wake me up) and I constantly know that she's okay and doing fine in there. I can physically feel her growing bigger and getting strong whereas with James' shift patterns he can sometimes go 3/4 days without being able to feel her kick or talk to her through my bump. He's already an incredibly doting Dad so I don't doubt that it's hard for him to have to text me and ask how she's doing.
8. He has to put up with my hormonal mood swings (to my face anyway) - I know pregnancy isn't a free pass to be mean to your partner and get away with it and I'd like to think that I've been more weepy and down than aggressive and moody but either way James knows he's pretty much stuck with it until probably a while after Sophie is born. I hope to God I'm not too nasty to him and if I can feel myself overreacting because of my hormones I try everything in my power to remove myself from the situation but many a time he has had to sit and cuddle me or stroke my hair because I'm in floods over tears over nothing (or turning the dining room light on and the bulbs randomly blowing). He's pretty good in spotting when it's the hormones talking vs when I'm just being a bitch and can let it go over his head but it can't be nice to see his partner turn into an unconsolable mess every time there's a full moon or the lasagne didn't go quite right.
9. Everyone else feels that they have a right to touch his woman - We're both quite old fashioned in our thinking that I am very much his woman and his alone. Although he's always telling his family (in particular his Dad) to look at or even feel my belly, I'm not sure he anticipated just how many others he'd have to share it with too. I was so careful to make sure that he was the first person besides me to feel her kick, and he's always the first person I tell any new milestone to. But his shift patterns do mean that we can go a fair few days without seeing each other properly and it must suck for him to hear if my friends or colleagues have been able to catch her kicking when he's been absent. I don't think he was too happy amount the amount of people who've helped themselves to a feel on my various Christmas parties either!
10. He knows that the worst is yet to come - My James is a realist and genuinely one of the most intelligent people that I know, therefore he's in no doubt at all that this whole pregnant girlfriend thing is a walk in the park compared to a newborn and new mother to look after. He knows that having to deal with my balling my eyes out for no reason probably won't stop when it appears the Sophie is doing the exact same thing and sleeping, whether diagonally or not, will be a distant memory for the both of us. He'll have twice the amount of female hormones to contend with for the rest of his life and whilst I don't that think phases him for a second, I'm also sure that he knows exactly what he's let himself in for. Especially if Sophie is anything like her mother! I won't magically give birth and snap back to my energetic housewife self with him at the centre of my universe like I was the day that we started trying for a baby. My body will be physically knackered and my brain will be even more clumsy than it is now and we'll both be starting blind eyed at this precious little newborn trying to figure it out together.

N.B James has never once complained about any of the above, I just know him pretty damn well and whilst he may not even see some of them as an issue (he's rather partial to a night snuggling the dog on the sofa), it doesn't mean that they're fair on him. I'd love nothing more to have a movie like pregnancy where I get overwhelming urges for him and then we spoon cradling my bump all night, but that isn't real life and whilst there's a lot of things that are pretty/really sh*t for me, it's not all rosy for those expectant Dad's either. So J if you ever happen to stumble across this (who am I kidding, the link will be sent to him the second this goes live), I appreciate you just being you and taking all of this in your stride. You're doing wonderfully and nobody gives you enough credit.

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