Monday, 4 March 2013

Guest Post - Pregnant And Apart: Things That I Wish Were Different




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Firstly, a huge congratulations to Bex on the arrival of little Squish – what a cutie! 

It’s a hectic time for any parent in those first few weeks and months, so I’m here today with a guest post to take away some of the stress and worry of keeping the site updated during such a busy time. 

And, in-keeping with the flavour of the month, I’d like to talk to you about what pregnancy can be like from a man’s perspective and what I could have personally done differently in an ideal world. 

I was relatively young when our first-born came along – still only 20 years old and in the final year of university. 

Trying to juggle seminars, assignments and a social life while my then girlfriend was over 100 miles away at home and pregnant was tough. 

I’d make sure I came home every weekend but there were vital things that I missed out on, namely antenatal classes and just being close by for emotional support. 

seriously considered dropping out of university but I was already two years into my course, plus my girlfriend and family urged me to stay on and complete my degree, which, especially in the case of my then girlfriend, was remarkably selfless considering the circumstances and I’m eternally grateful for that. 

And it was almost as if the Gods of academia were smiling down on me when we found out the due date. 

If the dates were correct, our little one was due to arrive a couple of weeks after my final exams, I just had to pray that she wasn’t early! 

In terms of being ready for this life-changing event, I was only a kid myself. Out drinking every night with my uni mates, causing mischief, stealing council property, practical jokes (which I’m still yet to grow out of) and just being generally immature. 

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                          My mate Mr. Porter: There’s just something about council property 

But now I had the prospect of a little me running about within the next six months and, quite frankly, it scared the crap out of me. 

But if it scared the crap out of me, imagine what my girlfriend must have been going through. People tell me there’s not much I could have done about it, but that still doesn’t take away those feelings of guilt and selfishness. 

These are the things I wish I had done for my girlfriend when she was pregnant with our baby. 

Hugs and kisses. Every night. 

Five nights a week I was over 100 miles away in a different city. Completing my degree meant that I simply couldn’t be there as much as I wanted to be. 

She was unbelievably empathetic with the whole thing and never once tried to make me feel guilty. That didn’t mean that I didn’t feel it, though. 

But one of the hardest things was speaking to her just before she went to bed, alone, sober and in all probability just damn right miserable.  

She never once let on that that’s how she felt but I knew she did, while I’m with all of my mates having a few beers, devising the most effective way to redirect the traffic around Sheffield city centre for a laugh. 

I just wish I could have given her a huge hug and a kiss before bed every night for a bit of reassurance that she wasn’t on her own, that’s all. 

The cravings 

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My girlfriend got severe cravings for almost anything. There would only need to be an advert for something on tele and that’d be it – she wouldn’t rest until she had it in her hands. 

I didn’t mind that, though. It used to be funny more than anything. She hates anything pickled but for some reason I repeatedly found myself at the local Tesco buying Monster Munch, pickled eggs and onions. 

Then came the Lucozade obsession. Then the doughnut obsession. All topped off with an unhealthy hard cheese obsession. By the kilo. 

This was before the days of online shopping, money off vouchers and the like. I actually had to leave the house to purchase items! Can you believe it. 

I enjoyed those little trips to Tesco at the weekend, though. I’d always buy a £3 DVD for us to watch as well, so it was kind of an occasion. 

A nice cuppa 

I’m using cuppa in the most general of senses here. What I really mean is that I wish I could have done all of the little things for her. 

She had her family by her side but I wanted to be the one doing those things. Making a cup of tea, cooking lunch, answering the door, going down the shops, all little things like that are the things I wish I could have been there to do. 


Antenatal classes 

My girlfriend’s sister went to all but one of the antenatal classes. There were no local classes at the weekends and I was never there on a Wednesday, except for one Wednesday over the Christmas break. 

I was bloody useless come the big day. All I could do was hold her hand and tell her to avoid defecating or I’d throw up on her. What a great help. 

I’m squeamish as it is so I needed those classes just as much as she did because what happened in that room that day, nobody could prepare you for! 

It’s great that her sister was there during the classes and I’m grateful for that, but that really should have been me. 

Support 

Pregnancy is an emotional time for a man, let alone a woman – and we don’t even have to deal with the hormonal side of things! 

My girlfriend would regularly sound chirpy as anything when I’d speak to her at lunch, but by dinner she was in tears because she’d boiled the potatoes for too long. 

Now I’m not poking fun, I’m just saying a woman’s emotions fly everywhere during pregnancy and it’s our job as your respective partners to re-do those potatoes while you cry it out. 

I missed the majority of that, though. Believe me, I made up for it with our second child, but as for our first, I missed nearly all of it. 

It was an unusual circumstance it has to be said but the logical thing seemed to be to finish the degree before our little one was born. 

If I’d taken a year out to support my girlfriend full-time, what then? I couldn’t be away for a year after her birth at any stage of her childhood, plus I wanted to give my kids the best possible chance by gaining a degree and opening up my job prospects.  

It’s just the way it had to be with our first pregnancy, unfortunately. We’re all healthy and happy, I just wish I could have been there more. 


Disclaimer:  This is a Guest Post

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