I thought I would share an extract from my book Rattles & Battles.
Rattles & Battles is all about what it can be like when you find yourself a first time mum. It is an insight into the not so great feelings that may come with having a baby. (A sense of humour is required)
At the end of the book I shared my partners thoughts and feelings on each of the chapters I had talked about, and he wrote about when he also found himself in the same crazy world as me, as a first time dad and I thought you may like to have a read.
Although we tried to talk to each other whilst going through it as best we could, we were at times like ships that passed in the night. Admittedly in those first six months we probably didn’t spend enough time talking and listening to each other, as we were just functioning and spending most of our time listening to our beloved whirlwind first born son screaming from the top of his little lungs.
Interestingly, he said exactly the same as me, that when he imagined himself to be a father he only thought of things like teaching them to ride a bike, doing D.I.Y, going out in the woods etc. He never once thought about the baby stage and late nights, bottles and crying.
He had not really been around many other people with babies, but on the occasions that he had, he only saw the positive fun side so he didn’t feel as though he was prepared at all for the puking, being up all night, the screaming and not being able to see me so much. He also felt a burden financially, starting to worry more about the financial side of having a baby and how we would be able to afford the extra shopping.
Birth and coming home
His main worry was that he would be at work when it happened and that he would miss the birth. He wanted to be there but was nervous about the protocol – what he should do, where he should be? As he put it – ‘Do I go top end or bottom end?’
When the baby was born, he did not feel instant love he just felt total relief it was over and me and the baby were okay. He felt nervous when he had to look after the baby on his own while I had a bath for twenty minutes, not daring to move in case he hurt him. It felt like the longest twenty minutes of his life! Worrying what to do if he started crying or had a poo (the baby not him).
First few weeks
Funnily enough he thought – ‘What have we done?’ and ‘Am I ever going to enjoy a pint again?’. He said he researched many things and never felt very confident in what he was doing. He was looking forward to going back to work just to get away from the crying (the baby not me), and work started to feel a bit like a holiday from home. At the end of his working day, part of him would be looking forward to coming home to see me and the baby, but another part of him felt dread – knowing that the baby would be passed to him, and within ten minutes of being home he’d likely rather be at work because it was just so much to deal with in those first few months.
He felt totally unprepared for this part of becoming a father. He would feel angry with the baby when he wouldn’t stop crying, finding himself swearing into thin air and even having to leave him a few minutes to regain composure. He felt there should be a reason for the screams, but there wasn’t any and he found this particularly frustrating. He would start to dread the evenings because he knew that the early shift was his and listening to the crying and then having to get up in the night was hell.
He was so tired that he didn’t know how he drove himself to work. His emotions were all over the place due to sleep deprivation and he found himself being very quiet at work, grumpier towards people and not wanting to have conversations with anyone.
He said having a child made him feel a lot more emotional, and would find himself sometimes crying at random adverts on the telly, he felt up and down a lot of the time, mainly due to tiredness.
He loved that my tummy was all jiggly like a waterbed and wanted to just play with it for the first few days after I gave birth. He said he did not find me any less attractive, being bigger and wobblier than I had been. He did wonder what sex would be like after a baby had travelled through my nether regions though!
He felt nervous about first having sex again, worried about possibly hurting me. He didn’t feel at all bothered about having sex when the baby was asleep in his Moses basket next to the bed. He did feel a drop in his libido for the first few months and felt like he had no energy or stamina. However, sex was still on his mind a lot (surprise) and if I had been more up for it he would have definitely gone there.
He still felt able to talk to me as normal in those early months, but he
did feel like he never saw me much, as I would head to bed not long after he got home from work, which I suppose in a way can make you feel slightly disconnected.
Guilt and Worry
He felt no guilt whatsoever when someone else was baby sitting for us such as parents, sisters etc. He just enjoyed the time away that we had together.
Worry, he noted, was something else. It came and went, but he would often find himself worrying about when the children were older. Worried about not being able to protect them when he was away from them.
All in all, being a dad has been the best thing he has ever done and he has no regrets and announces that ‘it wasn’t that bad was it, shall we have another one…?’
I hope you enjoyed reading a small extract from my book, and if you want to read more please click here.