At risk of taking on the mother mafia or mumsnet (which ever is the most powerful right now) I have decided to write about why I think the 3rd trimester of a second pregnancy is bloody hard for dads!
I can hear the gasps… who the hell does he think is? Ooh small violin for you! Try making and carrying a small human for 9 months, not to mention the lack of sleep, the sickness, tiredness, overheating, ligament pain and so on.
Not a competition. Just saying it how it is.
Hand on heart; during our first pregnancy I didn’t have to do a lot (apart from the initial fun bit) beside the odd foot rub and the dash round to the supermarket for craving food, outside of what was ‘expected’ my role consisted of sitting and waiting. All the hard work came from my pregnant wife.
This time round we have a toddler, a new(ish) house and know what to expect when baby comes.
First pregnancy when my wife’s body told her she needed a cuppa and a box set so it was so, when that turned into a nap, that was fine. First pregnancy everything was, errr how to put this? Everything was non baby affected. Ligaments and muscles more taught and happy to oblige in holding up the bump. Going on maternity leave meant no work, just rest, the odd meet up with the antenatal girls eating cake etc, preparing for the marathon (and then some) of the last few weeks and labour!
This time round, teamwork is the order of the day.
And this part explains the bags under my eyes. Again I stress I am not asking for any sympathy from anyone, but just a shout out to the dads during their first second pregnancy – if that makes any sense?
I. Am. Tired.
Trying to find a work:life balance that pleases everyone is hard during the 3rd trimester of the second pregnancy. Let me state now there is no pressure from either my wife nor my employer. However, I can see how tired my wife is. I know she has it tough carrying a child and caring for a child. So where best I can I try and take over the manual labour. Picking the toddler up, putting her in and getting her out of bed. Chasing her when the inevitable battle of getting dressed/undressed, being bad cop and using negotiation techniques to coerce her into doing one or the other. Mentally & physically draining.
Recently I have taken some mornings or afternoons off to help with the toddler wrangling. If I can tire her out in the am then when I am at work the hope is that she will be slightly more chilled for my wife come the afternoon. We’ve recently cut nap time down to an hour (we fear it is on the wane) so that arvo of chilled play time is key for mumma. Then I go to work, as a playworker I then do what I did in the morning but for 30+ kids… none of them mine. Playwork IS hard work, trust me on that.
Once home from work it is straight into the bath time and then bedtime routine with a book for the youngling. I look forward to reading the book as a) she doesn’t mock me for my accents of the different characters and I get to amdram it up b) I get to sit down.
Weekends are generally chasing after the toddler, see above for tiring her out,
but also I find myself picking up all her crap up so my wife doesn’t trip on it:
toy cars + pregnant belly + can’t see her feet = recipe for disaster.
I’m also picking up the stuff my wife drops:
clumsy wife x pregnancy clumsiness = bits and bobs all over the gaff.
Dad pregnancy bad back exists people. It. Exists!
Now we are fast approaching b-day and I don’t remember being this stressed the first time round? Different time of year I guess, less busy, also less to think about. Work wise I have been trying to cater for every eventuality operationally. If I’m here on this play space and Karen calls how do I get back to her in the quickest time!!? Who can cover my shift if I have to let them know last minute that I’m not coming in? Who can do what during my paternity leave, whenever that may be!? Seriously I need one of those super computers to run every variable to come up with multiple plans, I suspect even Hal
9000’s circuit boards would fry trying to estimate the date, time, whereabouts of every party involved and what actions to take.
I stress again. No one has asked me to do this. My wife is not cracking a whip, in fact she still does too much, but being pregnant with a toddler is like juggling with fire near a petrol station. Put one thing down and who knows what will happen!!? Potentially nothing. Perhaps A LOT.
At work; none of my colleagues have asked me to tinker with the rota as much as I have, they’d probably appreciate me stopping the stream of emails with changes and ‘what if’s’. They are adults with problem solving skills in the higher echelons of amazing, but I feel a duty, as the one leaving at the drop of a hat (aka dilation of a cervix) to give them every bit of help I can before this happens.
Another variable of the arrival of bubs2 is on the location of family members to take over care for bubs1. Who is where, when? If this happens then call this person? Do they come to us or us to them?
The in-laws have been amazing at taking on the role of chief toddler tirerers when I am at work unable to take mornings off. It is a real team effort this time round.
I’m not a control freak by any stretch, and usually I am pretty laid back about things. But knowing what is coming, could come quickly (having had a good friend deliver his 2nd baby in their front room) in the words of Aerosmith “I don’t wanna miss a thing” hence the work and the toddler care stress.
Baby number 2 is due any day now. I’m thinking it may get easier once s/he is here.
Has anyone ever said things become easier with a new born!?