In case you hadn’t realised, men and woman are pretty different. Not only do we have different interests, thought processes and driving ability (!), but the two sexes go through different experiences when it comes to pregnancy. In our first ever joint post, the missus and I do a pregnancy related Q&A to give our different perspectives on what it’s been like growing our little love goblin.
- How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
Hayley: I was pleasantly surprised. I’d just come off the pill and thought it would be a few months before my body had got back to normal, so it was pretty surreal that I was pregnant within weeks. Overall, I was so chuffed as it was what we wanted and where our lives had been heading for the past few years.
Dave: It was a mix of emotions – happy, excited, nervous and apprehensive, probably with a bit of tiredness and hunger thrown in for good measure. There was also quite a bit of disbelief in there as it happened so fast and meant that I missed out on all of the “practice” we should have been doing. I’m used to usually having things mapped out in terms of what to do and how to do it, but this opened up an entire world of uncertainty – what do we do, who do we tell, what will change etc.
- What’s been the worst thing about pregnancy?
Hayley: Probably that I’ve felt quite frustrated that I’ve been unable to do simple tasks like I did before I was pregnant. I now walk really slow, get out of breath easier and have a slight waddle! It also hurts and is uncomfortable to bend over to pick things up off the floor or stroke the dog. I also miss the fact that I’ve been unable to go out for a run. It’s also been a bit annoying trying to get into a position where I can sit or lay down without being poked in the ribs by the baby. But, I realise I’ve been pretty lucky on the whole and have had a straightforward pregnancy so far. I’ve not felt a lot of the bad things people normally talk about like heartburn, swollen ankles or morning sickness, so feel a bit bad complaining about relatively minor things!
Dave: Not a lot has changed to be honest. I’ve had to do a bit more housework and had to watch what I say sometimes, but that’s hardly bad. Hayley getting up to the toilet in the middle of the night has been a slight inconvenience but I’ve just about managed to cope! The worst thing has probably been the feeling of helplessness and uselessness at times – not being able to help Hayley in certain circumstances and not being able to contribute whatsoever to the development of the baby as she’s in her cocoon of love (well after my initial contribution at least!).
- What’s been the best thing about pregnancy?
Hayley: There’s been a few things. I’ve enjoyed the excitement and anticipation of buying things for the baby and knowing that she’ll soon be with us wearing and using them. I’ve really enjoyed the past few months when I’ve been able to feel the baby move, especially when Dave has been able to feel movement, so we can share the experience together. I love learning about new things, so have really enjoyed reading all of the information out there on pregnancy so that I can understand how my body changes and how the baby grows – a bit sad I know!
Dave: It’s been really nice to see how excited our friends and family are about the baby. It sounds pretty obvious, but sometimes you forget how much people care and how nice they can be when you get good news. It’s also been really nice that I’ve been able to transform my mum and dad from parents into grandparents. It will be their first grandkid and made particularly special as we are having a girl and my parents had two boys when mum always wanted a girl. All the little things have been nice too – watching the bump grow, watching Hay bloom, decorating the nursery, buying baby stuff and thinking about a name.
- Describe how the other half has been during pregnancy?
Hayley: Really good. He’s been very supportive and really pre-emptive. He’s done things like hooving, cooking and cleaning without needing to be asked. Also he’s been involved and interested in everything during the pregnancy. (Dave: this answer was not edited in anyway by me, I’m just that good!)
Dave: A real star! She’s barely complained and gone about growing a baby with minimal fuss. She’s also done a lot of the reading and researching of everything and bought the majority of stuff. I’d like to think I’ve been involved in pretty much all of the decisions, but I’m more of a sounding board rather than a doer when it comes to ordering things from Mothercare or Amazon. Let’s just say that without Hay, there’d be no imminent baby!
- What type of parent do you think the other half will be?
Hayley: Probably exactly the same as he is with the dog! And by that I mean fun and playful, but makes sure that very clear boundaries are in place. I’d also imagine he’d be involved in all aspects of helping to raise the baby. Dave being Dave, he’ll be very hands on but it wont be a conscious action, it’s just how he naturally is. He’ll also really enjoy having a new little sidekick when she’s bigger, although the dog might not be too impressed at being replaced!
Dave: Hay thinks she isn’t very maternal, but I’m pretty sure she’ll pick it up really easily and surprise herself once the baby is here. I think she’ll be a really good listener and provide sound advice, whilst also helping to create a thirst for knowledge in the little one’s mind.
- What’s been the best thing you’ve bought during pregnancy?
Hayley: The 4D scan was a great purchase. It made the pregnancy real for me, so that was well worth it. Just seeing the face and viewing her as a baby and not just a bump was special. From a selfish perspective, the maternity clothes I’ve bought have been good. If you’re already uncomfortable because you’re getting bigger, the last thing you want is to have tight fitting clothes. So I’ve definitely got my moneys worth out of under bump maternity trousers. My body has changed so much that having decent fitting clothes is one less thing to feel conscious about.
Dave: I can’t recall buying anything for myself, and as mentioned, Hayley has done the majority of baby purchases. The only thing I did buy was a pair of yellow sunglasses for the baby which I still think is a pretty cool purchase! I also really like the wall art stickers that we got for the nursery and think they make it much more of a kiddie room. The other thing I’m proud that I had a big say in was a pair of denim shorts-dungarees things for Hay. She wasn’t sure about wearing dungarees, but if you’re pregnant, you’ve got to wear them, right? Anyway, she eventually gave in and now has worn them a lot so it’s nice to be right!
- How has pregnancy been different to what you expected?
Hayley: I really thought that I’d be the size of a house! Think Kim Kardashian when she was pregnant, just bigger! But I’ve not really changed – I’ve got a bump and my boobs are bigger, but that’s about it. I’ve also been a lot more worried than I imagined I’d be. We had a slight scare at the start which I think has made us both a bit more on edge as it’s shown how fragile pregnancy can be. It’s also been a lot quicker than I thought – everyone said it would fly by, but you think that 9 months is basically a year so it won’t go too fast. But, with around a month until she’s here, it doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago since we found out.
Dave: The main thing has really been around the missus. You hear stories of morning sickness, raging hormones, inconsolable weeping and huge cravings, but (as far as I’m aware!) she’s not really displayed any of this normal pregnancy behaviour. She felt a bit rough at the start but was never sick, her temperament hasn’t changed and her eating habits have remained pretty constant.
What things have you learnt during pregnancy which surprised you?
Hayley: (1) My ribs and organs have moved to make way for the baby, (2) Babies don’t have solid knee caps until they’re older, (3) Babies can only see things close-up and have some in-built insticts which allows them to make out faces.
Dave: I’ve learnt some proper fascinating, but equally repulsive, stuff. For instance, (1) A woman’s nipples get darker to make it easier for the baby to find them for breastfeeding, (2) The term “mucus plug” which discharges when the cervix begins to dilate, (3) The fact that a woman can rub and massage the bit between the front and rear exits to make it more pliable and less likely to rip during birth. The wonders of pregnancy, eh?!
- What are you looking forward to over the next year?
Hayley: I’m really looking forward to getting out and about and doing things as a little family. Whether it’s simple things like putting the baby in a sling and going into the woods to walk the dog or having a day trip to Legoland. Christmas is also going to be amazing and the thought of buying stuff for our baby is pretty exciting but also very weird! It’s going to be difficult, but we’ll figure things out just like we’ve always done. It’ll be a pretty crazy learning curve but we’ll just get on with it as we do with everything. Oh yeah, it’ll also be nice to be off work for 10 months!
Dave: So much. The big thing I’m looking forward to is watching the baby grow, develop and learn as she becomes a proper person. I know we’re having a baby, but it’s weird to think that she will develop her own behaviours and personality and become a real girl – a female Pinocchio if you will, just hopefully without the big nose. I also love the fact that Hay and I will be at home together during her maternity leave. Being self-employed and working from home gives me the flexibility to play a key part in supporting Hay and raising the baby. Doing everything together, be it day trips, going for walks or changing nappies all have extra appeal knowing we’ll be doing it together.
- What tips would you give to someone who has recently become pregnant?
Hayley: Make the effort to go to any pre-natal classes like pregnancy yoga or the NCT antenatal classes. Even though I had my reservations to start with, going has been definitely worth it and make me more confident about it all. I know what should happen and how to cope if things don’t go to plan, plus it’s given me the chance to meet others in the same situation.
Dave: Enjoy the experience of pregnancy and enjoy the time you have as a couple before the baby arrives. Don’t be afraid to be more selfish and tell people (nicely) what you want and what you don’t want – it’s your life and the start of your new family, so put yourselves first and don’t worry if that puts out a couple of people. There is a lot of baby stuff you can buy – figure out what you need and don’t go over the top. We live in a world where you can get plenty of stuff next day delivery, so don’t splash the cash until you need to. Also, we’ve hardly bought anything at full price. There are so many sales and discounts that you’ve got no reason to spend £500 on a cot, £700 on a pram or £40 per pair of maternity trousers.
That’s the Q&A over. We’ll be returning in the future for another Q&A, probably once the baby is here and we’ve had chance to get used to life as parents!
Did you find that you and your partner were much different to Hayley and I? Was there much you disagreed / agreed on?