Thursday, 25 November 2010

Goodbye Pert Breasts - A Guest Post.

[ I am really pleased to have a guest post by Ben Wakeling author of 'Goodbye, Pert Breasts: The Diary of a Newborn Dad' .....Ben also writes a parenting blog 'Goodbye Pert Breasts' from a Dads perspective and does it with much needed humour and grace. ]

"If you’d wanted to speak to me a year ago today, you’d have probably found me in Mothercare, lingering suspiciously in the maternity bra section. Allow me to explain, before you go dialling the police. I would not, of course, have been looking at the underwear; instead, I’d most likely be trying to catch sight of my wife as she dashed from stand to stand, filling her basket with babygrows, toys and anything else that she thought might be remotely necessary for the baby she was due to have in April.

On one such occasion, I moved on from the underwear after attracting strange glances from shoppers and staff, and instead browsed the pregnancy books on a little rotating stand. Leafing through a few, I realised something: every book was aimed at the mum. They spoke of how much weight she would put on, what her hormones would be doing, and what she should be eating. There was nothing for me, the dad, to tell me what I should be doing.
It was then that the little idea sperm and egg fused in my mind, and I thought about writing a book, all about pregnancy from a father’s point of view. This book would not only provide expectant dads with practical advice on how to get more involved during those sticky nine months, but also answer the really important pregnancy questions going through any man’s mind. Is my partner going to poo during labour? What do I do when she shrieks at me in a hormonal rage? And just exactly how big are her boobs going to get? (By the way, the answers to these three questions are Probably, Run and Very.)

And so, ‘Goodbye, Pert Breasts: The Diary of a Newborn Dad’ was born. Not in the same way as my son would be, of course; I just mean that I began to write it. Each week, I wrote about what had happened: any anecdotes I had, observations I’d made and how my wife was progressing. I also included information about how our baby was developing in the womb, and gave advice on how dads can be supportive during what could easily be a traumatic time for the mum. At the end of the book, I wrote several chapters to help new parents make big decisions (such as whether to breast or bottle feed), how fatherhood would change a dad’s life (such as not having as much beer money any more), and a few step-by-step articles on how to do various baby-related things (like make a placenta milkshake). All that, along with a few bizarre extras thrown in, formed my book – which, after numerous rejection letters from agents, I decided to publish myself.

Pregnancy is, of course, a big deal for any mother. But fathers can completely freak out as well, although we often hide it better in order to retain our mega-manly image. We are living in a time when dads want to get more involved; it’s just sometimes, we’re not really sure how, especially when our partner holds us responsible for everything that goes wrong, pregnancy-related or not  - that’s why you’ll often see the father lingering hesitantly in the corner of the delivery suite as his partner wails through another contraction. Seriously, we need all the help we can get: which is why I hope that my book can give dads a point in the right direction, while making them (and their partners) laugh their socks off."

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