On April 9, the year of our lord, 2013, my wife gave birth to our very first child. Camden was born at 3:21 pm and at that very moment I crossed the threshold from being an expectant father, to being a parent. Now that I’m a parent, I can look back on the things I learned as Mrs. Most and I went through the whole pregnancy process with the 20/20 vision hindsight tends to provide. And since this is a blog – it’s only right that I share some of those things with you. Consider this post a sort of ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’… SBM Style.
Let’s jump right in…
5. Ignore Folks Who Tell You That Pregnancy Is Not About You.
I can’t tell you how many times I had people tell me that pregnancy is not about me, and that I should just throw all of my thoughts, opinions, and desires to the side as it related to our baby. The general perception seems to be that, because like 99% the actual biology of baby making occurs inside a woman’s body, that means that men have absolutely no say, whatsoever in anything that happens along the way from little stuff like picking the hue of blue or pink for the child’s room to bigger stuff like picking the child’s name. (Let me pause for a moment and state for the record that I’m not talking about a Woman’s Right To Choose here, because that, I fully support). If you’re a hands-on kinda guy as I am, you’re not really going to do well with being told your thoughts and opinions on a child you’ll spend the next 18 years of your life supporting, a child born into a relationship of which your 50% of, are irrelevant.
Instead, from the beginning, approach everything as “we”. Don’t say, “my wife is pregnant,” or “my wife is having a baby,” instead say, “my wife and I are expecting a child.” Approaching everything as “we” from the beginning does mean that you’re taking on more responsibility – but it also means that you’ll have a larger say in how everything transpires. This is important because, down the line, big decisions will have to be made and you don’t want 100% of the mental energy and research it takes to make some of those decisions to fall squarely on the shoulders of your 7 or 8 month pregnant woman. You need her to trust that you’ve been paying attention the entire time and that you’re as prepared as you can possibly be. Trust me.
4.Choose Your Hospital Over Your Doctor.
Chances are, your lady has an OBGYN that she’s been going to for sometime. That OBGYN is probably who you guys saw when you went to find out if that EPT test was accurate, and your lady probably feels very comfortable with her. Thing is, every OBGYN is affiliated with a particular hospital and while your lady’s OBGYN might be awesome, the hospital she’s affiliated with might be not so great. Decisions Decisions. Do you chose to have your baby with the doctor you’re comfy with even if you don’t like the hospital, or do you chose to find a new doctor that’s affiliated with a hospital you feel good about. I would encourage your woman to do the latter for a couple of reasons. First, there’s a good chance that the OBGYN you’ve been seeing ain’t gonna be the one that delivers your baby. You can’t predict when you guys are going to go into labor and when you do go into labor, the doctor that delivers is going to be whatever doctor is on call. So you’ll have a strange doctor at a hospital you hate. Double negative. Second, it’s better to go with the hospital because honestly, the difference in OBGYN care is was less significant than the difference in care from hospital to hospital. It’s not your OBGYN that you’ll spend the bulk of your time with, it’s the nurses, the doctors on call, and the rest of the hospital staff that will make or break your birthing experience. Encourage your lady to choose based on hospital. Trust me.
13. People's Advice Will be Extremely Annoying.
When you’re expecting – everyone who’s ever had a baby will want to give you advice (kinda like I’m doing right now… but it’s different because my advice is amazing). Thing is, folks advice is often negative, disheartening, or just plain terrible. The number one piece of crappy advice you’ll get from other parents while you’re expecting is … “SLEEP NOW!” I can’t tell you how many times someone told us that. It’s particularly annoying because you can’t really stock up on sleep. It’s not like peanut butter at Costco. As a new parent, sure I’m not getting nearly the amount of sleep I was getting before Cam made his way into the world, but I’m also not sitting up at nights thinking damn, I wish I would have gotten more sleep back in December so that I wouldn’t be so tired now.
This will be one of the biggest adjustments you have to make as a man. The luxury of laziness pretty much flies out the window once your woman gets pregnant. The idea of putting things off goes from seeming like not a big deal, to seeming like familial treason. I don’t know another way to describe it, but – sometimes – when your woman is pregnant, or when you have a child, you just have to get up and do stuff, like… right then, no questions asked. Maybe she’s at work, and tired or feeling crappy and wants you to come pick her up. It doesn’t matter how comfortable you are on the couch, what’s on TV or whatever, you’re going to go pick her up. What are you gonna say “nah babe, I’m pretty comfy here?” Or once the kid is there, the idea of letting the trash pile up is crazy. An overflowing trash bin in the house used to be filled with junk mail, some bottles you should probably have recycled, and maybe some table scraps. If you don’t take it out right away, no biggy. Once the kid comes, the trash can is filled with sh*tty diapers that will have your whole house smelling like… sh*tty diapers so that sh*t has to go… immediately.
The crazy thing is, if you’ve put the proper planning into the pregnancy and prepared yourself the right way, you’ll approach these newfound responsibilities with a tenacity for domesticity you never knew you had. You’ll take pride in how not lazy you’ve become. You’ll feel more like a man than you ever have in your life. Sometimes, after I’ve put out the house garbage, I just look back at it all arranged on the curb and think to myself “look at all that garbage out there, nice and neat. I bet the trash collectors get hyped when they get to my crib because my garbage is so perfectly prepared for them to throw in the truck.” It is then that I know I am a fully growed up man and can’t nobody tell me different.
I didn’t expect my opinion of Mrs. Most to change much during pregnancy or after she gave birth. I didn’t expect it to change because I already thought she was pretty awesome, and held her in pretty high regard. But boy did it change. When you’re woman goes from being pregnant, to fighting through labor, to being a mom, she goes from being a great friend, and a great wife, to be a motherf*cking super hero. Literally. What women have to go through to give birth is nuts. If men had to give birth, all babies would be testtube babies. The best, and worst part about it all is that, as the man, there comes a point where you’re 100% helpless. There’s nothing you can really do to make them feel better or more comfortable — there’s nothing you can do to take away the pain they’re feeling. In that moment you realize just how strong they are. I’m still in awe thinking about what Mrs. Most accomplished. She gave our love the greatest gift one can give … she gave it new life in our baby boy Cam. Super-hero sh*t. Trust me.
So there you have it fellas. 5 things you need to know if you and you’re woman are having a baby. Anyone out there expecting? How’s pregnancy treating you thus far. Have you experienced any the above. What about new and veteran parents? Same questions. What advice would you give those of us following you?
Going into fatherhood, you gotta prepare like you’re going into battle. The men who you used to be are going to be blasting away at you and you gotta buck back till the last man standing is the man you’re supposed to be. But you’re ready for this, because you already know what you’re supposed to do in shootouts…
Stay low and keep firing.