Pregnancy and bucket list opportunities for every dad
Sorry if this sounds a little cynical but as well as being a pressure, a responsibility and a major life event, pregnancy is also magnificent opportunity. What I mean by this is that pretty soon – in under nine months – your life will irrevocably change and you will never again be independent in quite the same way.
So, as well as being a new phase itself, pregnancy is also a chance for us devoted partners, and the mums-to-be, to enjoy certain lifestyles and activities that will soon be unavailable to us. As such, why not make a pregnancy “bucket list” outlining the things you would like to achieve before the arrival of the new baby. Sure, much of it may end up being more aspirational than actual, but I think you’ll agree that it’s both a good idea and a good sentiment. It can also be a fun thing you can do together.
So, if your partner’s pregnancy symptoms are soon confirmed with a positive test, we suggest the following as a useful guide and starting point.
Read and read and read
No, we’re not just talking about the piles of pregnancy books and leaflets which are suddenly appearing at home, we’re also talking about War and Peace, 1984, Wuthering Heights and the complete John LeCarre. Pretty soon it’s going to be hard to find the time. Remember, one day your child will be a teenager and at some points is likely to ask you which of the classics you have read. Don’t let him or her down – get them under your belt now. And if weighty literature is not your thing, sort out the biographies you want to read, the science journals which are important to you, and get yourself a few magazine subscriptions. Time spent quietly reading now will be appreciated once a baby enters the household.
Become a film buff
Going to the movies is just not the same once it involves a four-year-old (and other four-year-olds kicking the back of your chair) and even if you manage to get out to the cinema by the grace of a baby sitter once your bundle of joy arrives, you may well be too tired to stay awake through the latest Scorcese epic. So, get to the IMAX now. Stock up on the visceral experience of bone shaking sound and super immersive viewing while you can. Take your partner with you and enjoy a good meal beforehand (see below). Go to the loudest, scariest thing you can tolerate because once your baby arrives, the sound levels coming from your TV (and you if you’re a screamer) will probably have to recede.
Trust me, although becoming a parent and having a child is an immeasurably beautiful experience, you will miss being able to eat out alone with your partner. Fair enough, she might have morning sickness in early pregnancy and not feel up to restaurant-going, but if she does, enjoy some good food while you can as it is going to be some time after the birth before dining out gets any more interesting than a panicked mission to get in and out of Pizza Express as quickly and calmly as possible.
Play lots of sport
Once the baby arrives it becomes difficult for you and, of course, unfair to your partner for you to continue your gym and/or sporting schedule to quite the same degree you enjoyed pre-parenthood.
So, make the most of the nine months of pregnancy to stay fit and enjoy sport. There is a positive side-effect to this, too: you will be in tiptop shape to help your partner endure the long sleepless nights that can be a feature of the early months.
Enjoy loads of worry-free sex
One of the great ironies about pregnancy is that it allows couples to stop worrying about the possibility of becoming pregnant through unprotected sex. So, provided your partner is as keen as you are, you can begin to enjoy consequence-free sex. This may be a particular boon as at some stages of the pregnancy your partner might be flushed with the kinds of hormones that can help to get her in the mood. More good news: increased blood flow to her sexual organs can result in some seriously intense orgasms.
Give way to idleness
If you have the opportunity, use pregnancy as a chance to spend some idle days loafing around at home in your slippers and pyjamas. Although there will undoubtedly be days like this when your child is born, it will not quite be the same thing: days when you and your partner can completely give yourselves over to each other and to your own whim.
And you don’t have to just snuggle up on the sofa or spend the day in bed – why not go for a long, slow walk, hand-in-hand because pretty soon one of you will have to be in charge of a buggy.
Make the most of the largesse of others
There is an old saying that every new baby comes with a loaf of bread under its arm. Although this is unlikely to ever be literally true – unless of course Waitrose start selling actual babies – there is plenty of truth in the notion that from pregnancy onwards, your family, friends and community will be looking to help you out.
Whether they are hosting meals, offering help around the house or garden, or offering holiday homes in Devon, don’t be afraid to say “yes” to their offers of generosity. This is a special time in your life – make the most of it.