Slowly, that bump has got bigger and you’ve been buying stuff like crazy. Family and friends are clucking about “When is it due?” and she’s feeling more and more exhausted. Welcome to the end of a pregnancy. However, before you actually get to the magic day, you’ve got one more test to get through: your encounter with the midwife/health visitor and the fun of the ante-natal classes!
OK, let me say here and now that we were more or less certain that, due to M.’s stature, Sunshine would be born by c.section. As such, I was able to go in and let much of the information pass straight through my head. But it was NOT an experience I want to repeat.
The ladies had already met 5 times before the men were allowed into the hallowed domain. We all duly turned up in early November 2012 and, as guys do, spent probably the first hour or two sizing each other up and marking territory. I tried to make jokes and point out that, being a Brit in Germany and being a self-employed translator, I was different to the rest.
Oh dear. Our charming midwife took that as an opportunity to make snide comments about me translating poetry. Sorry dear, I translate technical stuff and could we please drop the sarcasm? We went through the whole procedure of what men should do when the woman goes into labour… Fascinating no doubt, but this is not necessarily something we needed to spend two, very stuffy, hours going through. I would hope that you’ve been reading up on what you’re about to go through (well, you’re here aren’t you? That’s a good start!), and I had done the same. The second week wasn’t much better, but at least we had a vague idea of what was to come.
Babies are a woman’s world. As a hands-on father, especially here in Germany, you will be looked at askew and generally considered to be an outsider. It’s no fun. And our midwife made that ABSOLUTELY clear to us. She scarcely ever used my name and I was just “M.’s husband”. Thanks a bunch (on speaking to another father from the same course, he felt the same way). It’s just one of the rites of passage we have to go through. We, luckily, avoided the baby care classes as we thought that either M. or myself would snap and say something untoward.
What’s the moral of this part of the story? Know yourself!!! Only YOU can know what is best for each other and for the baby. And that will be something very important to remember in the months come! What was that mantra…? 😉