There are many subtle changes to your life that happen long before baby's arrival. Strap yourself in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
So you’re going to be a dad. Firstly, a massive congratulations is due to you. You now know that your swimmers work and all that effort that you put into avoiding unwanted pregnancies in your early years was time well spent after all.
Of course you’re fully aware that your life is going to change once baby arrives. In fact, if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll probably find that people, mainly other parents, are falling over themselves to tell you how much it’s going to change.
Something that no-one ever told me though was that some subtle changes to your life kick in long before baby’s arrival. Here are a few of the ways that my life started to change during this period.
Sleep deprivation starts long before baby arrives
Your wife’s belly is likely the same size as a small Volkswagen (or soon will be), and in a lot of instances, the only comfortable position for her to sleep is flat on her back.
I recall spending many a sleepless night listening to the rumbling thunder of my heavily pregnant wife’s snores – too scared to wake her lest I cop an elbow to the head. Couple the snoring with a once hourly toilet trip due to the weight of the Volkswagen on her bladder, and the banging, stomping and door slamming that goes with it. You can no doubt begin to see how, as her bedfellow, your sleep will also be disrupted.
My advice – with the benefit of hindsight – don’t fret about the loss of sleep, but instead view it as a form of pre-conditioning for when the baby actually arrives. Because chances are, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
You will start ‘mesting’ (aka man-nesting)
This is the male equivalent of the expectant mother’s nesting phase. I’m no handyman. I own a few tools – most of which have been gifted to me over the years by my father (a farmer) and my father-in-law (a carpenter), but they only ever got brought out on the rarest of occasions, and for the smallest of jobs.
That is until I learned that I was going to be a dad. From that moment on, I was Scott bloody Cam from The Block. I revelled in my primal manliness as I installed shelves, cupboards and bench tops, hung pictures, changed washers, and even built a pretty bloody impressive garden shed.
This mesting period helped me to get my own head around the impending arrival and I felt like I was actually contributing something to the pre-baby preparation other than just moral support.
Hormones will happen
Not necessarily to you, but there are some direct knock-on effects that will impact you as well. We all know that pregnancy brings on a rush of new hormones, many of which do crazy things to an otherwise sane(ish) woman’s mind. The nausea. The moodiness. The weird hunger cravings. The spontaneous crying while watching The Voice.
Through my wife’s pregnancies I’ve experienced most of them. These hormonal times can be tricky to navigate at times. I found the best approach was to smile, nod, cop it on the chin, and make sure you’ve always got plenty of ice cream in the freezer.
There can be an upside to this period as well however. There are certain pregnancy hormones that can increase a woman’s desire for some, well, some amorous activities. Some hanky panky. Some bom chicka wow wow. Make the most of it, because once the baby arrives, bedroom antics are likely to be rarer than unicorn droppings for a while.
Of course, there are many more subtle changes that start weaving their way into your life long before the baby arrives. These were just the ones that stood out for me. In the meantime, I suggest you stock up on as much sleep as possible, as well as a good selection of power tools, and get ready to make the most of those horny hormones.