Before I Was A Mum

Before I was a mum, I used to smoke and drink and go out clubbing. I used to buy lots of makeup and nice clothes. I had lie-ins and did whatever I wanted. I enjoyed my life.

Before I was a mum, I didn’t realise how much my life would change. I didn’t realise how much baby poo I would examine, or how many bogeys I would pick from a nose that’s not my own. I didn’t realise how many times I would need to change my clothes because I’d been thrown up on again.

Before I was a mum, I didn’t know how much I would enjoy ‘nothing’ days with my daughter. I didn’t know how much sheer joy could be had from just one gummy baby smile. I didn’t know how much more love and respect I would gain for my husband when I watch him with his daughter. I didn’t know how much I’d miss her when we’re apart.

Before I was a mum I had no idea that my heart could be this big or this full. I had no idea that I’d ever feel like this; that looking into my precious baby’s big blue eyes would make me cry, or that I’d  have such patience.

Before I was a mum I had no idea that having a child meant I was sending a piece of my heart into the world to go walking about without me; I had no idea.

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Pregnancy – A Survival Guide for Dads

Listen up Dads to be! This right here is your handy guide to surviving pregnancy. Do you have a pen and paper ready? Yes? Let’s go!

1. Cravings.
If your baby mama is craving something, it is imperative that you drop all other tasks and track down that food! Cravings can be very, very, strong,  and I almost guarantee that she will not be able to focus until she has the precious food. Also, cravings are thought to be your body’s way of making you get whatever vitamins and nutrients you need. (Chocolate totally counts. Don’t ask why. It does.)
Also, don’t ever eat the craving food. Death may occur.

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Totally craving Subway.

2. Sex
This varies from woman to woman. Some might not want it at all. Some might want it all the time! If she doesn’t, try not to pressure her. She might be physically uncomfortable, or just exhausted.
If she does want it, go for it! Sex during pregnancy can be very enjoyable, as the increased blood flow to ‘certain places’ can make things more sensitive than usual.
Side note, no, you are not going to injure the baby with your clearly enormous (ahem, cough cough) penis; it’s just not physically possible.

3. Weight Gain
She’s probably going to gain weight. And, shock horror, it might not all be around her middle. As you are probably already aware, a woman who has gained weight may feel unattractive. Let her know how beautiful she is! Tell her you love her bump, that she’s glowing, that you’ve never seen her more gorgeous. Make her feel good. She deserves it.
Taking her maternity clothes shopping might also be a good idea. Maternity clothes can be very flattering, and will be a lot more comfortable than squeezing a bump into skinny jeans.

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Maternity clothes don't need to be ugly!

4. Morning Sickness.
It doesn’t just happen in the morning. It can be alllll day, or at night, or the afternoon, or the evening, or . . . Well, you get the picture. She might not actually be sick. If she is, don’t hide in the bedroom or act grossed out. Fetch her a glass of water, comfort her, and clean up if needs be. I’m sure she will have looked after drunk or poorly you at some point, so now you need to return the favour. Plus, it’s practice for when baby gets here and eventually throws up in your mouth. (Don’t ask how I know this. I’ve mostly blocked it out. Suffice to say, don’t ‘Superman’ a baby who has just been fed.)

5. Tiredness.
No, she’s not being lazy. Pregnancy can be exhausting. So, you know, she might not have tea on the table when you get home, or you might have to step up and actually help out with the jobs around the house. (If you already do, great! Keep it up. In fact, do more. I slept around 16 hours a day in my first trimester. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open.)

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The only baking in our house was in my tummy.

6. Emotions.
Hormones are a huge part of pregnancy, so don’t be surprised if she suddenly starts crying at adverts for nappies, or wants to murder you because you finished off the last of her favourite food. (See point 1 for reference.) Just go with it. Comfort her if she needs it, or threaten revenge on those who upset her.
For example, when I was pregnant, one of the only foods I could eat until the nausea subsided was Coco Pops. We bought an enormous family sized box and I was in heaven. One morning, I clumsily managed to knock said box over, whereupon it spilled it’s precious contents all over the floor. Devastated doesn’t even cover it. I ugly cried like a toddler. Snot and everything. After laughing at me, my husband gave me a cuddle and cleaned up all the Coco Pops, as I was far too upset to manage it. This is what I mean by go with it. She may well get upset over things that seem petty or ridiculous, but to her it’s very important. It’s also worth remembering that she may realise she’s overreacting, but she can’t help how she feels. Be there for her.

7. Isolation.
Pregnancy can be somewhat isolating;  she’s unlikely to be out on the town or going to parties. She may find that as she gets progressively more pregnant, she’s invited out less and less. She might also not want to go if she’s feeling self conscious about being bigger. This is particularly hard on women who don’t have pregnant friends, or friends that have had babies. Here’s where you can help: take her out. Don’t be spending every weekend living the party lifestyle with your friends because she’s just going to feel more isolated. Getting her out of the house will help her mental health enormously, and she’s likely to be much happier as a result if she feels she’s less lonely. Take her out for meals, encourage her to dress up and tell her she’s gorgeous.

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It's good to get out.

8. Stretchmarks.
Not all women get them. Some do. If she does, she’ll probably hate them. Even if each one looks like a bright pink slash mark, tell her you love her and think she’s sexy. Get her some bio oil, or coconut oil, and massage some into her tummy every night. The oil will help the skin to stretch, and you can use this time as bonding time for you and bump. If you sing or talk to her bump while you’re at it, she’ll be so charmed she’ll forget about being self conscious, and you’ll win bonus points for being such a sweetie. Don’t be grossed out or turned off by stretch marks, they are a physical sign of her love for you and your baby. She’s a tiger, and she’s earning her stripes is all.

9. Prenatal Depression.
All jokes aside, this is very serious. We’ve all heard of postnatal depression, but not much about prenatal depression. Prenatal is occurring during pregnancy. ‘Baby blues’ are very common during and after, and she’s very likely to have days where she feels down or tearful. That’s normal. However, if she’s feeling down, depressed, hopeless or dispirited for a number of days, seek help. This link may provide some help for mothers who are experiencing depression. If she is experiencing depression, talk to her and give her whatever support she may need. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you or the baby. Help and support is out there; use it. Don’t allow problems like this to go untreated or unchecked. Work together to make things healthy and right for both of you.

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Get help.

So, there you have it, that’s your guide to surviving pregnancy! Next is labour and actually having a child, but let’s not worry about that just yet. Enjoy this time before baby comes, bask in the glow of your gorgeous pregnant lady, and cherish the time you have together. I wish you all the best of luck in starting this amazing journey.

Have I missed something? Get in touch and let me know!

Judgey Mummies

I often hear or read about judgemental parents. I’m sure you will have too – the parent who undermines your choices, judges how you parent and tries to convince you that their way is better.

They can be quite ardent about why their way is better, and how your way is so terribly bad that surely your children will grow up damaged and hating you.

They can also be more subtle in their judgement and undermining, making you question your choices and lose confidence.

Why do they do it? 

Here’s what I think:

Because if your choice differs from theirs, that means that theirs could be wrong.

Now, of course, that’s not the case in reality. I formula feed my baby. My friend breastfeeds. Neither of us are wrong, we have both made the right choices for our very different babies. Do I judge my friend for her choices? Does she judge me for mine? Absolutely not. The thing is, we are both confident in our decisions. We don’t feel that someone making a different choice invalidates ours.

I feel that those parents that judge others do so because they don’t have confidence. They struggle to see that their could be more than one right choice. If your choice is different, theirs could be wrong. That’s scary for a new parent, especially when you’re bombarded by adverts and opinions.

What all of us need to do is stop judging others. Accept that what works for us may not work for everyone. Understand that sometimes we will make the wrong choice, or make mistakes. If we stopped judging, and supported each other more, parenthood would be a whole lot easier.