We’re delighted that Zen from DADult Life, is taking charge this week. He’s due to a first time dad (on 5th June to be precise) and has some important tips learned so far. Over to you Zen!
Back in September, my girlfriend Jenna and I had reason to believe she was pregnant. We had a holiday booked for the end of the month, so she visited the doctor before our trip to find out, only to be told the results wouldn’t be ready for a week, by which time we would already be on holiday.
During our getaway we were told that Jenna wasn’t pregnant. Rather than relief, we found we were both disappointed by the news.
A couple of weeks later though and the pregnancy symptoms Jenna had encountered endured. Taking matters into her own hands, and four pregnancy tests later – we found out she was, in fact, pregnant!
Hello world! Zen here (I’m the tall one ?). I’m currently on the long road to parenthood, with four and a bit months to go until arrival. If any of my fellow expectant dads, existing fathers, or even mums, fancy coming along for the ride, your company is most welcome ??? #DADultLife #dadtobe #daddy #dads #dadblogger #dadblog #dadbloggers #dad #dadlife #igdads #dadstagram #newdad #father #fathersday #fatherhood #parents #parenting #parent #parenthood #baby #babylove #babies #babyonboard #babyontheway #pregnant #pregnancy #pregnantlife #mums #mumtobe
I started blogging because I wanted to look back on the memories over time, but also because I don’t know any other dads, so it’s been a great way to explore the future of fatherhood and connect with others in the same boat. The journey during pregnancy has been full of learnings already, and here’s some of mine so far.
1. It will be confusing
It turns out that, taken too early, pregnancy tests can give off false readings. Needless to say we were absolutely over the moon. Seemingly, things simply aren’t as straightforward as TV makes them look.
I find reading is helpful for managing the confusion. A friend (the only one I knew with a newborn at the time) recommended The Expectant Dad’s Handbook by Dean Beaumont and it’s been incredibly useful, as it talks about the father’s role throughout pregnancy and after birth.
2. It will be scary
We found out about our pregnancy very early on. According to one of the tests, it was just three-four weeks in – a visit to A&E proved otherwise, however.
Jenna complained of stomach pains and, being first-time parents, we didn’t know what that meant so went straight to the hospital. We were warned we could be facing an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilised egg is found outside of the womb, usually in the fallopian tubes, and unable to progress.
An emergency scan followed just several hours later and our fears were alleviated. The reason Jenna experienced stomach pains was due to the pregnancy being further along than we thought – we were six weeks and four days in!
Fast-forward to the 12-week scan, which is when you’re told how the baby is developing, and the run-up to that can make you feel just as anxious. It’s generally seen as the safe point in the pregnancy, when chance of miscarriage reduces greatly and you can go public with the news. A blood test for Down’s Syndrome can also be completed following the scan for additional checks.
The key thing in all of this was to try keep a cool head and not panic – stress isn’t just a hindrance to the mother, it won’t do any favours for you as a father either. You’ll want to do what you can to alleviate any concerns the mum is experiencing, but absorbing it all yourself isn’t healthy.
It’s easier said than done, but try to keep your routine as normal as you can. Looking back, one thing I dropped the ball with was the gym. I’ve gone where possible but, of course, I’ve had other things on the agenda – like redecorating with ballet pink paint.
My cinema game has remained strong though. I’ve always enjoyed films for escapism, so continuing pastimes can help you unwind as things continue to change.
3. It will be empowering
I’ve learnt more about myself during this process. I like to think that I’ve always been thoughtful and considerate in our relationship – with a name like Zen it would be hard to be anything else – but the pregnancy has only heightened that.
Not only am I thinking about what will be best for Jenna and I, but also our daughter. And it comes full circle, because I want to take care of Jenna more than ever, which ultimately benefits our daughter too.
Starting a family really gave clarity on what’s important in life. There’s an overwhelming desire to want to make sure Jenna is okay, since the changes to her body are something I’ll never physically experience, so giving her foot rubs and acting as chauffeur seems like the very least I can do.
The journey so far has only brought us closer together, despite the mood swings and angry stares I’m sometimes greeted with, and showed me just how resilient she (and pregnant women) can truly be.
I’ve always held her in high esteem, but the pregnancy has transformed her into something more precious than I could ever imagine, and I think that’s something that all expectant dads to be can appreciate. Sure, you might want a back rub after a long day at work, but probably not as much as a mum-to-be carrying a watermelon around in her stomach.
A great tip here is to speak your mind. You may think she still looks like the most beautiful woman in the world, though she will feel like anything but as her body undergoes various changes.
This was especially true for my other half, who works in the fitness industry. While she has looked radiant in my eyes, she’s often felt uncomfortable as the bump has grown, so I’ve been sure to reinforce just how incredible she looks and how inspiring I’ve found her.
Almost eight months later and I think she’s just about started to listen to what I’ve said.
But seriously, it will be appreciated, especially in those moments of doubt she will experience.
4. It will be among the most exciting things you’ll ever experience
@Regrann from @gemma_marin – We’ve tried everything! ? Spicy, famous salads, teas, walk, sex, chocolate… even yesterday we did another dance! Alexandra is just too comfortable inside ?? Do you think next dance will be in the labor room?!????? . . Hemos intentado todo! ? Picante, chocolate, ensaladas famosas, te, andar, sexo… incluso ayer con un nuevo baile! Pero Alexandra esta demasiado comoda ahi dentro ?? Creeis que el proximo baile sera ya en la sala de parto? ????? Song/Cancion: Taboo #donomar #lambada #brasil #dancemoms #momtobe #dadtobe #pregnant #pregnancy #firsttimemom #dance #40weekspregnant – #regrann
Alongside buying a home and getting married, having a baby is positioned among the three key pillars of adult (or DADult) life.
It took a while for the news to sink in, even after a couple of months. Every now and again it’d dawn on me all over again that I’m going to become a father and I’d grin to myself.
For me, starting a family is huge and something I’ve always looked forward to, which is why I’ve grabbed the experience with both hands.
Whether that’s buying tiny superhero onesies, speaking to Bump or doing a dance, I’ve been making as many memories as possible along the way and being as involved as possible, preparing to be a hands-on dad when she arrives.
Yes, it can be confusing. Yes, it can be scary. But it can also be empowering, and incredibly exciting – if you embrace it.
What’s your #daddilifeforce move?
We want to feature the very best dad tips each week. So if you’ve tried any of these or if you have one you want us to feature just tag #daddilifeforce into them or DM them into us.
Let’s keep those dad-moments strong.?