There are millions of books for women about what they should expect when they’re expecting. The books talk about all the different feelings, when you’ll feel your first kicks, yatta, yatta, yatta. And don’t worry, you’ll hear all about it. Seriously. But there aren’t many books about what a father-to-be should expect when his wife or partner is expecting.
I’ve been through it twice, so here’s a few things I have picked up…
The first thing to expect is, as stated before, to hear all about what she reads. Your partner will talk about everything she’s read. Not just the normal things, but every… little… thing. Even the really gross and nasty things. Has she talked about mucous plugs yet? Just wait for it. Once she reads it in a book, she’ll want to talk about it. You won’t even need to read anything, even when she asks you to.
You’ll hear about every single thing she feels (or doesn’t feel). Her boobs hurt. Morning sickness. The baby is kicking. The baby has stopped kicking. She has pelvis pain. She doesn’t have pelvic pain anymore. You see where this is going right?
You’ll probably visit the hospital one, two, three… four times? That one kinds of depends. I’m not telling you not to go to the hospital. If your partner thinks she needs to go to the hospital for any reason, go. If you think she needs to go, and she doesn’t, convince her to go. In fact you might be called while you’re working… GO!
Midnight snack runs will be the bane of your existence. Make sure you find a store that is open at all hours now because you’ll need one. The really late (or early?) ones are not as common as the 10 and 11 PM ones. The midnight chocolate bar snack run is a real thing, and is no joke.
When she’s really pregnant, she’ll toss, and turn, and toss some more. She’ll also take up the whole bed. But think of it this way, if you’re going to bed share, it will be excellent practice. A queen sized bed is good, but when you only have half a foot of it, it doesn’t matter how large the bed is. Especially if she is using one of those Snoodle things that curves her body for the best sleep ever… That thing takes up the remaining room of the bed.
Don’t, under any circumstances, allow your partner to wish for an “unforgettable delivery”. She will get what she asked for. Stuck in a snow drift at 1:30AM after the first winter storm of the year with excruciating labour is certainly unforgettable. Shoveling a 5 foot snow drift so the paramedics can get to the door is unforgettable. If that scenario sounds appealing, so be it, but I’d rather not go through that again.
So you’re about to be a father, congratulations! Cherish every moment now, but don’t forget to cherish the moments after delivery too. That moment when you first hold your baby will change your entire world. Think about your wedding day, all over again. You might have been up for 36 or more hours by that point, but that won’t matter. Again, cherish it. Forty weeks is a long time, but every moment is worth it.