Everything was changing around me - more products seemed to be entering the house, emotions were running high, and more often than not, most of what I said was the wrong thing. All in all, I was just excited that Helen was pregnant and we had a baby on the way, who would hopefully be happy and healthy.
I knew I needed to read more - mainly because that is what I was being told - but I kept putting it off. I made it to about halfway through French Children Don't Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman and about as far again through Baby Secrets: How to Know Your Baby's Needs by Barbara Want and Jo Tantum.
However, it all felt incredibly abstract - probably because I was not the one that was actually pregnant, and the big changes for me wouldn't happen until after our eldest girl, Phoebe, was born. That said, the most noticeable change was happening right in front of my nose as Helen's first telltale nausea morphed into a bump that grew and grew. My main reaction to this was respect and admiration as Helen carried our babies to term - particularly our second daughter, Tabitha, who was not small by any stretch (so to speak).
I quite enjoyed antenatal classes - mainly for the cookies and the coffee, and also to see what other dads-to-be were like. Some I could certainly vibe with - others I wasn't so sure. I appreciated the diagrams in the handouts though, but mainly because you can turn a diagram of a uterus into all sorts of funny faces.
As I said, mostly I was happy and pretty chilled about things. I liked the frequency of the scans, I know a lot of folks become anxious about these, but I enjoyed seeing the progress - give me numbers and a chart and I am all over it.
With Phoebe I was very excited when, at first, we were told they thought we were having a boy. A week later when she turned out to be a girl, I wasn't sad, but there was a definite recalibration, and now with two girls I couldn't be happier - in no small part due to the carnage and mayhem I have seen brought about by boys.
"I didn't feel as though any of my thoughts or concerns were featuring on the agenda, and I remember being quite irritated by that at the time"
Of course I would occasionally gripe and moan because I didn't feel as though any of my thoughts or concerns were featuring anywhere on the agenda, and at the time I remember being quite irritated about that. However, looking back on two pregnancies the fact that I can't remember what they were probably tells me what I need to know - that these gripes just weren't that important.
One thing impending fatherhood did make me focus on was our future financial security, and I really made and still make an effort to save every month, and take an active approach in our investments and what we should be doing to maximise our savings potential.
Looking back, I think I was fairly attentive to Helen's needs during pregnancy - some foot rubs, and I enjoy cooking so that wasn't too much of an issue for me. However, like in so many areas, we can always do better. Now that baby-making is well and truly behind us, and I don't have to practice what I preach, I think I would probably say to someone about to become a dad, "Take a good look at what you're doing wrong, and stop it; then take a good look at what you're doing right, and double it."
There are only 24 hours in a day, and some of those need to be filled with sleep and work, so as long as you try to do your best with what you have then you can't go too far wrong.
UAE dads tell all:
"There were times when I felt pretty useless"
"For me, it was a mixture of excitement and nervousness. The realism hit instantly but the amazement sank in with the first scan. My biggest worry was making sure both my wife and the bump were OK. There are times when you do feel a little useless, as there's not that much you can do to take away your partner's discomfort - though a back/foot rub often helps a little (alternatively a pregnancy massage was a real hit for Natalie!)."
- Rob Roberts, Baby & Child Dad Panelist and father of one-year-old Ella
"I was thrilled...and terrified"
"I was over the moon and terrified all at the same time when I first found out my wife, Claire, was pregnant. I had just set up my own graphic design agency the same month and was worried I'd taken too much of a risk at the time. I was also concerned about how involved I as the dad could be, but I found reading about other dads' experiences helped. I'd also recommend The Expectant Dad's Handbook by Dean Beaumont. There's something special about watching your wife going through the different stages of pregnancy. They are like superheroes growing and developing a little human. All you can do is sit back, admire it and give as much support and love as possible."
- Craig Hodgson, Baby & Child Dad Panelist and father of six-month-old baby girl Everly
"I refused to believe it at first"
"Regrettably, my first reaction was disbelief. We hadn't been trying to get pregnant for long, and I'd already tried to delay having our first child (the usual "we should save this amount/ visit this place before we have kids"). I do wish I'd been more excited rather than worrying so much. Feeling I should get clued up, I read Commando Dad: How to be an Elite Dad or Carer, which is a tongue-in-cheek basic training manual, written by an ex-SAS Commando and was right up my street. My lesson to all other dads-to-be: don't be so serious, and enjoy every moment!"
- Brian Fletcher, Baby & Child Dad Panelist and father of one-year-old Georgia
Read What every husband should know about his pregnant wife from Nick's wife, Helen and find more from her blog, The Mothership, here.