The Ten Commandments of Pregnancy. For Men.

Pregnancy is a glorious time, a time when your body grows a baby, your skin glows and the future seems bright and rosy-hued.

It’s also a time when your boob sweat mixes with 3rd trimester milk, your baby is honest-to-god getting jiggy on your bladder and a full night sleep was last spotted around the half way mark. You are hot, irritable, annoyed and any sudden move from your partner may leave you feeling filled with murderous intent.

Which is why, at around 3 am this morning, upon returning from my 18th trip to the toilet and having found my husband had removed my 6th strategically placed pillow from the bed, I decided not to murder him in his sleep, but rather write a short, easy to understand series of rules for all partners of preggy women, to hopefully save them the potential wrath mine might have encountered last night.

*Disclaimer* I am not basing the below on anything my husband may or may not have done. Please still speak to him when you see him on the street. Unless he’s sleeping on the street. In which case I have kicked him out for doing something on the list below and you may throw rotten vegetables at his head. 

Just because your wife is now knocked up and on a diet of water and heartburn meds, does not now mean you have a designated driver (insert ‘hey boet’ and high five jokes) for the foreseeable future. Unlike Uber, we do not get to kick you out of the vehicle at any time, charge you actual money for driving you around or give you a rating of 1 – divorce stars after a trip. We also don’t have the 2 am tolerance you do, are more often than not interested in hitting a jol until the wee hours and pretty much hate everything about you when you’re slumped in the passenger seat slurring at us to ‘get pulled over babe! These metro pigs will be in for such a lag when they breathalise you!’.

Pregnancy is an expensive time. The medication, the scans, the checkups, the UIF forms, the future unemployment, nursery decor, meds and a thousand other costs mean that mom-to-be is probably now a walking insomniac stressing about how she’s going to survive. And then, the fact that she will be at home for 4 months (give or take) looking after the baby also means that she will need to get out and about and spend money on things – at the sake of her not becoming a recluse who last washed her hair 18 days ago. You made half this baby, and so the fact that she is carrying it shouldn’t let you off that financial hook. Get the fuck involved, T Rex, and whip out your wallet. Better yet, give her a credit card so she doesn’t have to beg and ask for your 50% of the Doctor visit money or half a pack of nappies. Step up, pay up, give her a break.

Remember that lekker few weeks before you got married, when all your mates convinced you that you were about to end your life and the only thing that could possibly save you from a life time of ball and chain blues was to go out, shag a stripper and get so drunk you didn’t come home for 2 days? Well, this is not the same thing. Having a baby means you’re probably mature enough to accept that your life is going to change, so it doesn’t mean you now need to drink away the fear like a frat student on payday. As much as your pregnant, exhausted, hormonal and smell sensitive wife loves it when you get home at 3 am and vomit in her rose bush, don’t do it due. For real. Grow the fuck up.

Have you ever woken up and your Jack Russel, Roxy, has crawled into your bed and kinda shifted her way onto your left foot, and it’s all dead and you’re sweating a bit because Roxy is heavy and uncomfortable? Well, David, shame, because unlike you, who gets to boot poor Roxy off, we are stuck with a hot-Roxy in our stomachs for 40 weeks. Also, hot Roxy loves our bladder and is so large that she physically moves all of our organs up and away, like a Pixar movie. Hot Roxy doesn’t sleep when we do and loves nothing more than a midnight party in our uterus. This means two things – we wake up and have to wee because she’s bouncing on our bladder and all our food from the day before then erupts from our throats in a bilious volcanic explosion. This also means that we cannot get comfortable, like ever. It takes 12 strategically placed pillows for us to even consider getting into bed, so god help the man who then knocks the cushion fort down in the middle of the night because shame, he’s uncomfortable or has no space. A lesser human would kill you for breaching that safe haven, so don’t do it. If anything, offer her more pillows, my god man, buy out the whole of Coricraft if you must. Build her a fortress so large it could be a Kingdom on Game of Thrones. And if you’re really that bothered by watching your wife look comfortable for the first time in 7 weeks then maybe you should consider sleeping on the floor, or in the garden, or at your mate Steves house.

About anything. Yes, I know that sounds harsh but your wife/girlfriend/lover/one night stand now knocked up is going through a lot right now. She’s terrified, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed. If she does or says something that you don’t love, shut your mouth. Unless it is going to physically alter you in any way then rather bite your tongue and ask her how you can help her. Be the bigger, better person. Do not harp on pregnancy related errors she may make, pregnancy related smells she may poop or pregnancy related outbursts she may display. Trust me, she will remember them for much longer than you ever will. Don’t be a dick, be lekker.

The best part of any pregnancy, according to 99% of men surveyed, is the actual conception. Unfortunately, some of the stuff after that just isn’t as fun. Crazy hey? Things like admin and forms and booking beds and medical aid issues. These don’t all happen by the wave of a wand. There is a lot to do when prepping for a baby and most of the time the mom-to-be is lumped with the tasks fo prepping everything. Help her out – you will be making a huge difference and assisting her in a very important way. You will also be assisting your way to a longer life and therefore promoting a better future relationship with your unborn child.

“Hey Jimmy, where’s your dad?”

“Shame, ya, he’s dead. My mom killed him when I was in utero”

“Holy hell bru, why?”

“He didn’t paint the baby’s room when he said he would.”

If, like us, you are highly social people and tend to always have functions at your house, perhaps now would be a good time to re-assess your life a little bit. No-one, especially not your wife, enjoys making guests feel uncomfortable in her home, so she is going to be very reliant you to do that for her. Entertaining towards the end of pregnancy is awful for the mama-bear-to-be. She’s sober, exhausted and more than likely so deep into her nesting phase thats she’s wiping down the toilet seat everytime Brendan goes for a slash. She really doesn’t want people overstaying their welcome and is going to need you to understand that, and assist when guests overstay their welcome too much. Better yet, try cut down on the entertaining entirely and keep visits light and brief. I promise you, the ‘fun’ wife you had hasn’t died, she’s there, but she’s gatvol and probably just wants to fart in her home, alone. Bonus tip: Save the guest list and the good booze for when baby is here and she can join in on the fun She will thank you for it. I promise.

Your pregnant vagina: Critics are calling it ‘The Exploding Lotus’, The Loose Volcano’ and the ‘what the fuck did I just witness’. Please don’t ask for sex, ever. Unless your wife (and lucky you) falls into the 0.1% of females who actually enjoy intercourse while pregnant, just accept that she is sore and uncomfortable and making sweet sweet love to you is the furthest thing from her mind. Like ‘fun Sally’ your wife will be back soon enough. Grab a porn mag, find a free bathroom and stop your moaning.

So there you have it. Consider this your weekly public service announcement gents. Share with your mates to save them future pain, and while we’re at it, grab your wife a bunch of flowers on your way home. From work. Not your way home from the pub. You bloody muppet.

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Dear Daughter.

Daughter. Daughter. Daughter.

I can say it a hundred times and yet it doesn’t feel real. I am so used to being a boy mom. I buy shorts and dinosaur t-shirts and endless spades and diggers and trucks. We spend our time peeing in the garden and our bath time ritual consists of ‘bum and ball cleaning’. Boys are easy and laid back and get on with it. Girls? Well, they terrify me.

I’ve been referring to this baby as ‘Pip’ since conception and up until Wednesday as ‘it’. Even though doc has confirmed multiple times (Kate, see no penis) I’m still in denial that I will be bringing a female into this world, and just what that means.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this ‘Rules for my daughter’ post that has been circulating the Internet lately – it’s a list of 35 ‘instructions’ for girls, from their moms. I’ve read a few and whilst some are sweet (“Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are” and “Question everything except your own intuition.”) there are some that are just so bullshitty. Like ‘always wear good underwear’. Please, I’m not even wearing a bra today (sorry, colleagues) and I can promise you that doesn’t make me less smart or womanly than someone in a R1000 boulder holder from La Senza.

So, whilst you may not be nearly ready to enter the world, your turns and flops and kicks remind me that, ready or not, in 3.5 months you will be here and I need to chat to you about the kind of person I want you to be, and the kind of girl mom that I want to be.

My Rules Advice, For My Daughter. 

  1. Don’t let them take advantage of you. Ever. Take this from someone who, for 33 years, has been a people pleaser. It gets you nowhere
  2. That being said, be generous. Not with money alone, with time and character and kindness.
  3. Don’t let the sexist win. Again, from experience and something I am still dealing with daily. Do you know that I got this in an email last week:

Bad of him, right? Even worse of me. I have done nothing about it. Remember this when your turn comes, as it will. Do not let people bully you on account of you having a vagina, a pretty face or double x chromosomes. Do not accept discrimination, lesser pay or lesser respect. Only you, and your peers, can change inequality around.

4. Lunch with me, call me, Let’s hang out. Sure – I am and will always be your mom but I want us – at a reasonable age – to be friends as well. I want us to talk and laugh and do stuff together, not for any occasion, just because. I am going to love your company.

5. You are not a princess. Don’t let people treat you softer because you are a girl. If you start it, finish it. if you fall down, pick yourself up. I will treat you the same way I do your bother – with a fierce sternness and love. I vow to not go soft on you just because you are pink and he is blue. Don’t lessen yourself because of your gender.

6. Work really hard. Please don’t go by the ‘marry rich’ mantra that some may.

7. Learn how to manage money. I was never taught and at the tender age of 21 plus some I am now finindg myself drenched in sweat on sleeless nights as I worry about my financial future.

8. That being said – treat yourself and buy nice things. I will try to not berate these decisions, but will try respect and encourage your financial independence.

9. Be polite, always.

10. Be interested. Learn. Explore, Be inquisitive. Check your facts and do your research and don’t just let a question linger. be so hungry for information that you feel like you will never be satiated.

11. Eat healthily. Enjoy your food. Splurge on junk but long for balance. It’s all about the 80/20

12. Hug me. All the time

13. Never ever let yourself be in a position where you feel like you are being a bully or are amongst bullies. These people are not good for you, despite what you may think or feel at the time. Be fair to everyone. Support the underdog. Always take the position of empathy.

14. If you are ever being bullied, tell me. I want you to talk openly and freely with me without fear of feeling judged.

15. If you want to play with trucks and diggers and spades, I encourage that. If you want to dress in pink tutus for 8 days in a row, I also encourage that (slighly less ;)). Try not to be defined by gender – your brother has a doll that he adores and I am so proud of him.

16. Use your wit and brain and character to get ahead.

17. Enjoy being a kid. Dont rush to grow up too fast. Adulthood is a no return purchase that really isn’t as fun as they all make it out to be.

18. Look after yourself but don’t feel bad about your weight, your looks or your figure. There are much bigger things to worry about – like which country to explore, which book to read or which retirement village to put me in when I’m old and crazy.

19. You are amazing, And fiercely loved. And you always will be.

I get to see you every 4 weeks, and it is the romantic date of my life. I can’t wait to be able to see you daily, for the rest of our lives. You are going to be the perfect addition to this little triangle-turned-square.

 

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8 Things I've Learnt As A New Mom

I have been a mom for 16 days. 16 amazing, exhausting overwhelming confusing, love-drunk days. So many people have asked me what motherhood is like, and what it is that I do all day with my ‘free time’.

Here are 8 things I have learn about being a new mom:

You have no idea what you are doing. Oh yes, I read the books, downloaded the apps, browsed the forums, joined the groups and asked fellow moms. I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and that I wanted a routine, but I never thought further than that until he was here. Suddenly, I had a million new questions – How often must he eat, how much does he eat, why are my boobs leaking everywhere, do I wake him to eat, why is he crying, am I a bad mother for leaving him in his cot while I brush my teeth, if I’m buying premium nappies then surely they can change themselves?!

Your time is no more. We have Carter down on a 3 hour routine – which sounds great in principle. 3 hours in between to do what I like – long walks in the park, afternoon naps and Box Office Movies. Ha! Having a baby is like running a small army. Sure, one has 3 hours between feeds, but if a feed lasts 30 minutes, a burping session lasts 15, a nappy change 5 (I’m getting faster, promise), putting him down to sleep takes 10 minutes (if that even happens) then that leaves me with 2 hours to get myself dressed and ‘presentable’, eat some food, express some milk, sterilize bottles and gear, wash a million tiny baby things and see actual human beings, then your time isn’t really yours, at all.

Babies cry quite a bit. Let it be known that my child (and long may it last) is heaven sent. He is a delightful baby who cries a regular amount. (I’m basing this on a little equation: Regular amount = not wanting to kill yourself from frustration. However, when he does cry it could be for a multitude of reasons. As I am now obviously an exert (being 16 days in and all) I have worked out the following reasons as to why your baby might be crying:

  • He is hungry
  • He is tired
  • He saw the speed of your ADSL line
  • He woke himself up and got a fright
  • He has a dirty nappy
  • He has a clean nappy and prefers the feel of a dirty nappy
  • He saw the price of nappies
  • He spat his dummy out
  • He saw you have that glass of red wine and is now laying a guilt trip on you
  • It is bath time
  • It is naked time
  • The dog farted
  • He sharted so loud that it woke him up
  • He saw his mom up close for the first time and realized she hasn’t tweezed her eyebrows since March.

They are a lot smaller than you anticipated. When Carter was born – at a sizeable 3.64 kilograms – he was still tiny. We had to rush out and buy newborn clothes for him, which he still drowns in. Note to self – always have a few tiny baby things for your newborn, they actually don’t come out ready to wear 3-6 month baby grows.

You leak milk. Everywhere. Breastfeeding is the messiest activity I have ever taken part in (and that includes the one time I vomited tequila on a friends shoes in the Billy The Bums parking lot.) I doubt there is one surface area in my house that has not been drenched in milk leaking from one of my oversized pendulous bosoms. My poor child is soaked through before he even gets close to my chest. This makes feeding in public a rather risky and messy affair. Praise the Lord the inventors of the breast ump came along before my child did.

Baby blues are a thing. Everything I read leading up to the birth of my child warned me about the ‘day 3 blues’. “Beware” they warned ominously “the 3rd day of having a baby shall be your darkest day yet”. I was terrified and put my husband on high alert (after hiding away all sharp objects in the house. Then day 3 came… with my milk…and went. As did day 4. On day 5, Mothers Day, after a lovely lunch out at a restaurant with my angelically behaved child, my hubby and I climbed in the car to go home and I burst in to tears.

“Why are you crying babe, what’s wrong”

 “I don’t know”

 “Are you feeling sick?

 “No”

 “Are you sad?”

 “Yes”

 “Why?”

 “I don’t know”

This went on for about 15 minutes while my poor husband tried in vain to gauge just what in hell was going on with me. Turns out I was sad for no apparent reason, and the more I cried the guiltier I felt, so the more I cried. Hormones are bastard things ladies, and if this ever happens to you, know that you are not alone (I know this because I Googled ‘Am I the only new mother alive sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason”)

I wasn’t.

You will mourn your former life. And that is OK. Everything I do now is with Breitling precision. Need to pop out to the shops? Do it between 1:15 and 1:45. (but get someone to drive you because you’ve still had major surgery and can’t drive yourself). Want a glass of wine? Make sure you’ve expressed some milk, or that you drink it with 2 hours to go before the next feed. Want to wear jeans? Haha, cute.

Having a baby means that your life gets turned upside down and hung out to dry. And that’s OK, because

You will love like you have never loved before. I battle to imagine a life BC (see what I did there?). This tiny, perfect creature has landed in our lives and turned what we thought we knew about patience, tolerance and love on its head. I battle to not stare at him for hours, or rub my hand over his tiny shoulder blades or crave my finger to be grasped in his fist. I miss him in my sleep and I cant stop kissing his tiny milk scented mouth.

I still even find his screams endearing.

Motherhood, you can stay.

I call this one ‘honest parenting’ 😉

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