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Preparing To Become A Dad {Father’s Day Special}

Author: Guest Post

Hi everyone, I’m James and I’m married to Lauren. My name has been mentioned many times on this blog but I haven’t shown my face until now!

I am very close to my niece, Felicity and judging by the number of socks and mugs I have claiming to be to ‘World’s Best Uncle’ I’ve done pretty well at that job. In November though I will take on the biggest role of my life when I become a dad. I already think of Lauren as a mum since she did that very first injection and I’m so proud of her and what she’s been through to get this far. Thank you to everyone who has sent congratulatory messages since we announced our news.

The Rock My ladies have given lots of advice to Lauren already and have been very supportive through the IVF cycles and pregnancy, so with Father’s Day approaching I have asked the Rock My dads to share their wisdom with me. I am trying to absorb myself with as much information as possible on how I can fulfil my new role as a father.

What has been the best thing about becoming a dad?

“Tough question as there are so many things. One of the best though is definitely the free licence it gives you to act like a total goofball. I thought before I was a dad that it would be momentous moments in Ethan’s development but it’s not. It’s the wee things. The smiles, the questions, or him waking me up at 3am to get rid of the massive bogey he picked from his nose.” (Gavin, Dad to Ethan and a little one on the way)

“There are lots of great things about being a Dad, but two that come to mind immediately would be – a true understanding of what’s important in life and the amount of joy it regularly brings you.” (Matt, Dad to Elle)

How has your relationship changed since growing your family?
“My love for Lisa has increased tenfold. She has blossomed as a woman and I’ve seen qualities in her that I never knew existed.” (Rich, Dad to Lyra and Jenson)

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve found about parenthood?
“I think the biggest challenge of becoming a parent is trying to keep all the plates spinning at the same time. Oh, tiredness too. I’m terrible with lack of sleep which doesn’t bode well for me as child number two is only weeks away.” (Gavin, Dad to Ethan and a little one on the way)

What has been the best piece of advice you received about fatherhood?
“The best piece of advice was from my own Dad… “All a child wants is your time”. And it’s so true. Give any kid your full attention and your time (which is harder to do than it sounds) and they light up more than being gifted any toy in the world.” (Gavin, Dad to Ethan and a little one on the way)
“Don’t turn down the volume of your life. We didn’t turn down our noise levels when Mabel came along and now she’ll sleep through anything.”(James, Dad to Mabel and Iris)

Do you think you can ever truly prepare to become a dad?

“No more than you can prepare yourself for the first time you have sex…
In other words it doesn’t matter how much you research or practice (?!), the real-deal feels very different. You could get a dog, to experience the responsibility of having a dependent (and picking up poo off the carpet). You could even try correcting the way your partner speaks, to practice giving them seemingly helpful advice that sends them into a blind rage. But without the connection to a child, a relationship like no other in your life, you’re missing a lot of context.
It’s a context shaped by circumstance and character and even if by some miracle you could ‘what if’ your way into a semblance of readiness, you’d likely be overthinking the fun out of it.” (Anthony, Dad to Leo and Tayo)

If you or your other half have any advice or books you think I should be reading then please do comment in the space below. Thank you.

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20 thoughts on “Preparing To Become A Dad {Father’s Day Special}

  1. I’ve no book advice but just to say congratulations, what a lovely post to read this afternoon. There is nothing I love more than watching my husband and son play together. Enjoy your new family journey

  2. Congratulations!!! The only piece of advice I would give, is be there and give your time. My dad did the secondary school run to the bus every day for 7 years. Although it was nothing fancy, those thirty mins a day just dad and I were the best quality time and now I’m a grown up I miss them so much. It seems like a really silly simple thing, but time is all they want. You’ll do great.

  3. My husband would probably warn you of the lethal mix of breastfeeding hormones and sleep deprivation and how it can turn even the calmest, sanest mum a bit bonkers at times!! I definitely don’t think you can mentally prepare as the reality (and your individual reality) is unlike anything else. What I found hardest after my first, was the loss of my independence and social life, as most of my pre-baby friends either had older children so were back out and about, or had no children. I now have two children and when I do get time to myself I usually spend it at a doctors appointment or the hair dresser. Real luxury! Good luck with everything.

    1. I’ll fully preparing myself for a crazy wife at times, though I imagine I’ll be a crazy husband at times too! 🙂

  4. My husband loves being daddy to a now 28 month old boy. But I know he would tell you to be prepared for how tough the first few months are for daddies…..he felt like he got a lot of “rubbish” bits to do. Lots of nappies and winding an uncomfortable baby while I got the lovely bonding breastfeeding. But he says the sleepy cuddles made up for it x100!! And now we have a playful, engaging toddler which is wonderful and it happens so quickly.

    Good luck, enjoy and don’t expect too much from yourself. You can’t expect to find every single moment special or precious. (And we say that as parents of an ivf miracle bundle.)

    1. Thankfully I’m already quite good at getting the ‘rubbish’ things done so I hope I’ll be okay with this aspect. I’m not saying I do everything everything around the house but….;)

  5. I’m a mum not a dad, but I know my husband always says he wishes he had rested more before our little one arrived nine months ago. It’s a stressful time, not knowing when baby will arrive, and he worked up to the day I was induced and didn’t take any time off beforehand. Yes I was growing a human who went two weeks overdue but I had started mat leave weeks before so was doing lots of napping, eating and shopping. Basically don’t burn out preparing before baby arrives!
    Also, this may be far too personal for a blog comment but friends who have had a long journey to meeting their first baby have found that there is a lot of pressure to enjoy every moment with them because this baby is what you wanted so much. You’ve dreamed and planned and envisaged, and when the reality is inevitably different it can be difficult I think. So when those moments do inevitably come where you wonder if you can do it, or it gets tough and you feel guilty for not necessarily enjoying every single minute, please do cut yourselves some slack and remember everyone feels like that!
    So excited for you both
    Xx

    1. What a great comment, India! Yes, sometimes it all feels a little too much, but that is okay! Enjoy as much as you can and those other moments and thoughts will pass!

    2. This is great advice India, thank you. I’m fortunate enough to have a flexible job so I hope I’ll be okay working up the birth, but remembering to cut ourselves some slack seems very sensible.

  6. From my husbands experience …Sometimes in the early days (particularly if mum is breastfeeding) there can be times when it feels like you can’t do anything to help, baby will only settle with mum and you might feel a bit useless!
    Focus on the things you can do. Changing nappies, making cups of tea, giving a hug and saying you’re grateful to her for all she’s doing to care for the baby, breakfast in bed etc etc are just as important in caring for your growing family in those first few months.

  7. Hey James and a huge congratulations! My advice in the early days would be to help set Lauren up for the day as best you can before you can set off for work.
    In those first few weeks of marathon cluster feeding sessions I really appreciated that my husband made me a smoothie for breakfast, and brought it up to me in bed with a jug of water. It meant that at the very least I would get breakfast into me lol
    From my childhood, and the middle child of five, the times I had with my Dad on my own were wonderful, nothing super fancy, but I used to hang out with him in the car whilst the rest of my siblings went shopping with Mum, they thought I was reading and he was reading the paper but we used to sneak off and buy a pic n mix to sure! It really is the simple things and being the best support you can to Lauren in the early days. Wishing you both all of the very best.

    1. Thank you Helen. During Lauren’s ongoing morning sickness I’ve had lots of practice at preparing snacks so I’ll definitely keep this up. Thanks for the advice.

  8. Congratulations on your great news, my only piece of advice for the birth, is to make sure you take care of yourself as well. I don’t think my poor husband ate and slept for about 3 days. Hospitals are great at looking after mum but dads do get forgotten.

  9. Thanks Fern. My dad’s partner is a retired midwife and has advised us to take lots of snacks as she mentioned this too. Thank you for the reminder.

  10. Congratulations James and Lauren! I would totally agree with the super advice being shared on here…I gave birth to our little boy (called James…great name!) at the start of March and my goodness how your life is about to be turned upside down. As a dad you can feel a bit helpless at the start but where Lauren can look after the baby, you can look after her. Make sure she always has a bottle of water close by (with a straw do she can drink it one-handed), bring her food, make her tea and tell her how wonderful she is and how well she is doing. Breastfeeding almost broke me and I owe it to my husband for not giving up on me that I kept going. And the fact that he makes me a sandwich when he makes his for work means I can eat every day! It’s the little things that help the most. You’re going to be a fab dad x

  11. Congratulations James, really pleased for you both!

    You’ve had some brilliant advice already, so have tried to think of something that hasn’t been mentioned yet.

    Definitely make sure you’re rested beforehand, my poor husband managed to get some sleep in he delivery suite but it was so uncomfortable and we were in there a really long time.

    Also, if you and Lauren decide to breastfeed the first few days and weeks are really tough. Even though we prepared at classes, we still felt under prepared and overwhelmed by how hard it would be. Baby feeding for hours on end, or wanting feeds every 10-20 minutes is totally normal, it’s exhausting but it’s normal. At night in the first couple of weeks I really appreciated my husband sitting up with me while I fed to help me stay awake, and bring me drinks and snacks.

    Finally, if Lauren has to spend a night or two in hospital after then make sure you catch up on sleep at home if you’re not allowed to stay in with her. And get back in there as soon as visiting starts in the morning, she’ll be desperate for you to get there!

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