Leading up to having Amelia we did a lot of reading. Like, I mean a lot. Both our bed side tables were stacked full of pregnancy books and parenting books (and still are). We practically had a library of parenting resources at our disposal. Alphabetical of course.
But there are just some things that a book can’t tell you about pregnancy and having a baby—things that only dudes who have gone through it know. So, this is what I wish I knew going into it. Enjoy.
Have fresh food and Jello at the ready
We had our hospital bag packed just in time for our delivery. We had everything we needed, including a lot of food to eat. Everyone told us to take lots of food with us, for both me and Megs, because we weren’t getting any at the hospital during labour. Fine. So we packed power bars, granola bars, chocolate, juice boxes, mints. We were set.
What I didn’t realize was how much packing this little nomad was going to do to prepare for our eating needs having no idea how much we really didn’t want power bars, granola bars, chocolate, juice boxes or mints. At all. Luckily, Meg’s Mum arrived at the hospital to help out with the delivery, fully loaded with food we actually enjoyed. The key to it all was this—freshness and Jello. She brought fresh fruit and bread and meat for sandwiches for me, which was SO awesome. For Megs, she brought Jello, which while in labour and not really wanting to, or supposed to, eat anything, hit the spot perfectly. Megs’ Mum also packed fresh organic apple juice, which was a hundred times better than the stuff we brought. And, it was cold. Which was nice.
So, dudes, have some fresh food and Jello at the ready three weeks before you’re due. That’s right, three weeks. Minimum. You won’t regret it.
Days are going to feel like eternity, then they’re going to fly by
For real. The days leading up to your actual birth-day are going to feel very, very long. Like waiting for Christmas to arrive or your own birthday as a toddler. The days are painfully slow and long. I remember going on countless walks with Megs while pregnant where we’d chat about looking forward to the day Amelia was born and what it’s going to be like and how it seemed to be so far away.
Then. Whamo! The day arrives and holy smoke you have a kid.
Then, the days start flying by. You’re constantly feeding, changing, rocking, bouncing, bathing, feeding, changing, sleeping, shopping, cleaning, feeding, and changing, all in a rhythmic pattern that feels like it’s perpetually getting faster and faster until you don’t realize that your once newborn is now 18 days old. Just. Like. That.
No matter what you read, your kid is going to be different
This seams obvious. But any new daddy will believe everything the little compendiums of parenthood knowledge will tell them. “Your baby will love to be swaddled.” Well, actually, ours likes to sleep in a sleep sack. “Your baby will do wonderfully in a bassinet.” Wrong again, Amelia hates the bassinet and loves to sleep with us.
Ultimately, there are SO many things, tips and tricks that the books (and your friends and family I might add) will tell you that you can’t, and shouldn’t take verbatim. Every kid is different. You’re gonna have to adapt. And while I definitely knew this in my heart. I didn’t know this in my head.
Your life isn’t going to change all that much
Sure you have a kid. Sure the days are flying by. Sure you’re a bit sleep deprived. But in all honesty, your lives will not see the cataclysmic change you may have anticipated (or feared, perhaps?). Why? Because you’re totally prepared for this moment of triumph of becoming a parent. You’ve had ten solid, long, months of preparation time and you’re SO ready for this new little human in your life. What may have seemed like the impending loss of a social life, disposable income and social status, is gradually whittled down to a simple and ultimately soulful feeling of joy and anticipation and readiness that comes with becoming a dad. And you know what, it rocks.