FIRST BABY VS SECOND BABY – PART ONE

PREGNANCY

One of the main differences between your first and second pregnancy is that nobody really gives a hoot… That’s right, you’ve done it once before – what do you want, a medal?

When I fell pregnant with my second baby, hubs and I were super excited about the prospect of reliving sneezy wees once more – but it didn’t take long before I realised that in the world of pregnancy adoration, first-timers reign supreme.

Don’t get me wrong, our families were pleased – however I did note the sobs of happiness were replaced by almost audible mental calculations of how many babysitting hours would be required…

Not that it mattered (it totally did), but the general population were definitely less enthused by our news too…40% less Facebook likes second time round (we were, apparently, a total yawn fest).

You see, when you’re pregnant with your first you’re basically treated like a precious, fertile goddess – people are super excited, they fuss over you, get you shit in the middle of the night, and refuse to let you lift anything heavier than a box of Jaffa Cakes. It’s pretty awesome, and the closest you’ll get to royalty unless you’re especially good at stalking.

Second time around, things are dramatically different – basically, you’re just old, fat, leaky news.

Enjoy the limelight while you can first-timers – change is a ‘comin…

MORNING SICKNESS

First

People held my hair back, fetched me water, insisted I stay off work, and hand-fed me ginger nuts like I was some kind of nauseated Christmas turkey.

Second 

Mascara dripped off my chin while I puked into cup holders, cereal boxes (not recommended – v leaky) and children’s shoes – all in-between meetings, nursery drop-offs, football classes, and making bloody fish pies (double gag). I’m fine everyone, thanks for asking…

Morning sickness funny

TIREDNESS

First

I felt tired – I lay down. I wanted to sleep – I closed my eyes. So beautifully, beautifully simple.

Second 

I wanted a nap – tough shit. I lay down – a child jumped on my head and dribbled directly into my mouth. There was washing to be done, peas to be force-fed and a little person harassing me 24-7 with an expression on his face that said, ‘Sleep when you’re dead bitch’. At no point did an SOS team drop from the ceiling and remove him so I could get some shut-eye. Disappointing.

Second baby tiredness - sleep when you're dead

COMPLIMENTS

First 

“Look how ‘neat’ you are!”, “You’re all bump”, “You wouldn’t even know you were pregnant from behind” – first time mums are inundated with lovely compliments. My favourite game was letting guys eye me up from behind in Tesco, before turning round quickly and being like, ‘Bam! Baby in your face’.

Second

When someone does actually take the time to acknowledge your pregnancy, it’s “Gosh, you’re much bigger this time aren’t you?”, “Wow, look at the size of you!”. I was very aware I resembled Shamu, as a result – every day was filled with carefully calculated wardrobe decisions to ensure black and white garments were NEVER worn simultaneously. I also suffered an odd affliction of looking like I had both a front, and back baby bump – very strange.

The male oglers in Tesco were long gone too – replaced by sympathetic strangers who asked me if I was having twins. I was not. Then, obviously embarrassed by their faux-pas, they asked if I was due soon. I was not. I was 20 weeks. FFS.

Shamu baby bump

MATERNITY LEAVE

First

Maternity leave with your first is like a dream – people swarm around you to make sure your feet are up and that you’re well rested. There are baby showers, lunches with fellow whale-like friends, and lovely ‘mum-to-be’ pampering sessions aplenty. Delightful.

Second

Maternity leave with another child at home was basically like a Royal Marine Corps training exercise. Days were spent screaming “Do it IN the potty, IN!!!!!” and the closest I got to a baby shower was my youngest barging into the bathroom mid-lather. Not so delightful.

MANUAL LABOUR

First

People fell over themselves to help me – heavy lifting and, heaven forbid, the opening of doors were massive no nos. At first it was a little annoying (‘I am an independent woman for god’s sake’), but towards the end of my pregnancy if I could have made one of my juniors take a piss for me every twenty minutes, I would have.

Second

I was single-handedly lugging a three-stone child round on my hip whilst hoovering, scrubbing pee out of the sofa, and squatting with the equivalent of a two-stone weight belt on to pick up dog poo. My baby nearly had her face caved in by a swinging door too, just saying …

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ACTUAL LABOUR

First

There are birthing classes, support groups and endless amounts of people falling over themselves to give you advice.

You’re naive, optimistic, and ready to embrace a ‘natural labour’ – it can’t hurt that much, right? Just like bad period pain, apparently…

Also, friends are chomping at the bit to hear about the smallest drop of amniotic fluid falling from your vagina, “Any news yet?”, “Are you in labour?! I had a dream you were…”, “Tell me the MINUTE it’s happening – SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!”

Second 

You are expected to be a birthing pro – what’s the big deal? You’ve done it before. EXACTLY, you’ve done it before and know what the f**k is coming. First-time mums live in ignorant, episiotomy-free bliss. Why should they get all the mollycoddling? We know shit, and it’s TERRIFYING. If anyone needs the extra support, it’s us.

When you finally go into labour (after days of bouncing on your new arch-nemesis, the swiss ball), you text a few friends to say, “It’s happening…”

Two days later…

“What babes? New series of GoT?”

FFS.

“No. Another human has ripped its way out of my insides.”

“Babes! Didn’t even know you were preggers again – should have said. Congrats!”

FFS.

Drop by next week for Part Two, and to discover how ‘second child’ syndrome develops (second children will know exactly what I mean).

Smell of You – A Parenting Parody

Recently downloaded the new Ed Sheeran album and got a certain song stuck in my head, which, as it happens, lent itself quite nicely to a parenting parody.

Sleepless nights, Tom Hardy, group peeing, Spanx, and Dairylea – here we go…

First video up on my new ‘Tired ‘N Tested TV’ channel – more in the pipeline so please hit subscribe if you like!

Thanks!

xxx

Leaving the house with a baby and toddler

LEAVING THE HOUSE WITH A BABY AND TODDLER

Sometimes I get insanely jealous of people who don’t have children and their ability to just leave the house whenever they feel like it, most times with just one bag and a set of keys in their hands. I love my kids to bits, I do, but god they make life hard sometimes – so hard in fact, there are days when it’s just too much effort to go anywhere as a collective unit.

When it comes to exiting a building at a set time I often feel as though I’m living a horrible nightmare, where time passes quickly yet I’m doing everything in slow-mo. No matter how hard I try, something, or someone, always hampers my efforts to just get out of the bloody front door. From last minute poos, to common assault (none of which I’m guilty of), it seems as though the universe is constantly conspiring against me and my bid for freedom.

As a rule of thumb, I generally turn up to wherever I’m meant to be about two hours later than planned, incredibly apologetic and looking like a completely harassed, sweaty mess.

The nightmare unfolds…

Preparation 

Make a list of everything you need to take with you (don’t forget to include the actual children in this list, very important).

Spend 20 minutes looking for the list, only to discover a child has part-eaten it. Scrap the list. You’re going rogue.

Pack the emergency bag – clothes, dummies, Calpol, milk, first aid kit, thermometer, snow shovel, flares etc – don’t forget to pack litres of sterilised water too, just in case where you are going for three hours is ripe with typhoid, or you’re off to outer Africa.

Pack the snacks – I’m talking about a ‘bag for life’ size container of food. Apples, bananas, raisins, half-eaten packs of now-soggy rice cakes etc. DO NOT FORGET THIS BAG OR THEY’LL LOSE THEIR SHIT.

Clothing

Dress the children – seems like a relatively easy task, right? WRONG. It takes at least half an hour to pin them down, force rigid arms into ridiculously small armholes and convince them to wear socks.

*Allow another 15 minutes for redressing the toddler, who, for no reason other than just to irritate you, is now buck naked and running around the house using their trousers as a cape.

Locate their shoes. Have a 10 minute debate about which shoes they are wearing and which feet they actually go on. Lose debate spectacularly and allow them to put on shoes two sizes too small, and on the wrong feet, just because it’s quicker.

Pack a variety of coats, wellies and spare shoes (for when they can no longer feel their toes in their current shoes). You now have enough stuff with you to go on holiday for a week. To clarify, you’re going five miles down the road and are planning to be out for three hours.

Loading the car

Discover your keys are nowhere to be found. Immediately blame the baby who has previous for this sort of malevolent behaviour.

“WHERE ARE THEY KEYS?”

“Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeysh”

“Yes, keys. WHERE ARE THEY?!”

“Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeysh bye bye”

Text the people you are meeting / visiting – tell them you are on your way. That is a lie. You are nowhere near the car. You still can’t find the bloody keys.

Eventually find keys in fridge, next to all the things you threw in after breakfast. Apologise profusely to the baby.

Baby metaphorically sticks two fingers up at you by having the world’s largest shit. It’s of epic proportions. You’re 30 wet wipes in and it’s just EVERYWHERE. Cut your losses and head to the bath.

You should have left the house 45 minutes ago but now you’re in a hot sweat and dousing a screaming child with Johnsons No More Tears, which is pretty ironic considering they are going bat-shit crazy. WHY, WHY, WHY is this so HARD?!

Wrestle the baby back into clothes and head downstairs to load the car.

You are greeted by your toddler, who, inspired by the baby, decides they too now want a poo. Spend the next 15 minutes shouting “Have you finished yet?” through a door.

“No, it’s a big poo mummy!”

Make a mental note to cut their portion sizes down.

You finally get the whole contents of your house into the car. Now, time for the kids…

Attempt #1

The toddler, now half a stone lighter, decides they can’t possibly leave the house without a toy. A toy that hasn’t been seen in over SIX months. Stupidly ask them to consider taking another…

“NO. I. WAAAAAAAAAAAANT. THAT. TOY!”

Bribe them with a biscuit and shoo them towards the front door.

Toddler, not appeased by your idea of a compromise, then assaults the younger child in a fit of rage. Out of principle, you CANNOT let it slide. Jo Frost, aka ‘Supernanny’ would consider this ‘unasseptable’ behaviour… Toddler gets sent to the naughty corner. Younger child is hysterical and will only be calmed by an all singing, all dancing, completely over-the-top rendition of ‘Under the Sea.’

Text the people you are meeting and say you are stuck in traffic, whilst doing your best crab impression.

Tear-stained and shamed, finally the motley crew is at the front door. It’s there you realise you haven’t brushed either kids’ teeth yet. Have an internal debate about the fact they are going to lose those teeth anyway, you are so, so late now – it surely doesn’t matter just the once? You then remember the older one is pretty good at talking now and will probably drop you and your inadequate parenting methods in it at the first opportunity…

Bribe the older child with a biscuit if they promise to brush their teeth super fast. Pin the youngest down and spend five minutes brushing their lip and tongue. You get absolutely nowhere near a tooth.

Put everyone’s shoes back on. How the hell do they do they manage to do that so quickly?

Attempt #2

This is it, the end is in sight – you’re ready to get everyone in the car, again. You’re only an hour or so late at this point. New PB.

Time for car seats. The little one is starfishing and is as stiff as a board. “JUST BEND YOUR ARMS!!!”.

After repeating the words “wriggle your bum back!” twenty times to your toddler, they too are now restrained and ready to depart.

It’s then you hear the words every parent, who is in a rush, dreads…

“Mummy, I need a wee!”

SERIOUSLY?!!!!!!!!

“You’ve just been to the toilet. Didn’t you have a wee when you had a poo?!”

You’re now doing that thing where you are smiling but also shouting through gritted teeth.

“No… MUMMY, I NEED A WEE NOW!!!”

Take several deep breaths and fight back the tears. Unload everyone again and take them back into the house.

After waiting 10 minutes for the toddler to squeeze out two drops of urine –  you’re finally back in the car, albeit sweating and with slight heart palpitations.

Attempt #3

You’re off – you’ve done it! You can totally pass this lateness off on some sort of traffic related incident – animals in the road, that sort of thing. Five minutes into the journey, a little voice pipes up, “Mummy I’m hungry, where are the snacks?”

Good question. They are still on the f**king kitchen work top. Chuck a U-Turn, and leg it back into the house to retrieve a month’s worth of fruit and biscuits.

Attempt #4

With the children happily munching on fluorescent, carrot flavoured crisps you cry all the way to your destination and vow to never bother leaving the house EVER again. It’s just NOT WORTH IT. You also really need a wee.

Eventually arrive, two hours late, and stay for half an hour before heading home to put the little darlings in bed / have a giant gin, and a sob.

Center Parcs Woburn – A Ducking Good Family Holiday

Pre kids I was a Mauritius, Thailand, Australia vacay kind of girl. If someone had told my 20-something self that in 10 years time I’d be enjoying a ‘staycation’ five minutes away from junction 13 of the M1, I would have laughed, then cried, a lot. But, alas, times have changed and so have my attitudes towards long-haul flights when accompanied by creatures who consider wailing an actual hobby.

I was a little sceptical of our ‘great British getaway’ to Center Parcs Woburn – in my head it was going to be Butlins with trees…Never the less, off we headed down the M6 with a car full of Pomme Bears, the Frozen soundtrack and every single toy the kids owned.

Three hours and 20 renditions of ‘Let it Go’ later and we’d arrived. A McDonalds-esque drive through quickly saw us through the check-in process and after receiving our keys, in the form of snazzy boyband wristbands, we headed off to a giant car park in the rain. It was here my husband discovered he hadn’t packed the pram. Great start.

You can turn up onsite at 10am but official check-in isn’t until 3pm and as we hadn’t opted for the ‘early arrival’ package (which gets you in at 2pm, at a cost of around £30) we had to schlep off in biblical rain for something to eat, complete with an extremely soggy baby.

Accommodation

We’d booked a three bed executive cabin and once we were in, the kids were delighted with  their new home. “This is much nicer than our old house Mummy!”

They were especially thrilled as Center Parcs had kindly arranged our own ‘pets’, in the form of two ducks and a squirrel… “Mummy, can we keep them?!”

“Yes sweetheart, if you want to contract Lyme Disease.”

Friendly Ducks at Centre Parcs Woburn

The three double rooms were a good size, clean, modern, and to our surprise all came with TVs and en-suite bathrooms (meaning no awkward poo moments with my father in-law. Amazing).

Bedrooms at Centre Parcs Woburn

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The spacious open plan lounge / kitchen had a large corner sofa, which was plenty big enough for all six of us to slob out on – there was even a log burner for a little added ambience. Smokeless logs were available to buy at the on-site supermarket, however, be prepared to re-mortgage your home if you want to buy them and a packet of Kettle Chips – decisions, decisions…

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A chalkboard door kept the kids entertained for hours, even though we have one at home that they NEVER touch. Apologies to the family in after us for the small and soggy chalk, the little one kept trying to eat them.

IMG_3218(Don’t ask… Some kind of giant caterpillar, dinosaur vs house on fire situation)

Outside we had a BBQ and even our own private sauna, however, I was too scared to use it just incase this dude rocked up to join me, sans towel…

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My only minor criticism of our lodge was the front door – it didn’t lock properly from the inside, so if a child were to pull on the handle (my one year old could reach it) then they’d just be able to wander outside. There was a chain right at the top so as long as it was on they couldn’t really get too far (didn’t stop me getting up three times a night to check it though).

Surroundings

Set in 365 acres of picturesque woodland the Woburn site is slightly smaller than other Center Parcs resorts – but don’t let its size deter you.

Because it’s not too vast, getting around by foot is fairly easy – bonus when you have a baby and your husband forgets to pack the pram. Nothing is more than a twenty-minute walk, and that was with me lugging a non-compliant one year old around.

The main Village and Plaza areas both have good selections of eateries, shops and, more importantly, Starbucks; clean and beautifully landscaped they are perfect destinations for early evening strolls.

The Village, Centre Parcs Woburn

Massive ‘big-up’ to Center Parcs’ resident ducks down on the lake – you MADE this holiday for our kids. I seriously don’t think they could have had a better holiday than if they’d had a trip to the Night Garden (I wouldn’t have been so pleased, reasons can be found here). Those birds are either extremely stupid, very tame or completely off their nut – either way I imagine staff have to pump them full of Valium each night just to take the edge off being relentlessly chased.

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Subtropical Swimming Paradise

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Or as I like to call it, hot humid hell. If you are, however, below the age of 10 and water slides are your thing then I imagine it’s very much like a wet, sweaty Disney Land. Having spent pretty much every day at the pool, I had to keep reminding myself it was a holiday for the kids – albeit paid for by an adult who had Monica’s ‘Barbados’ hair for four days straight.

Centre Parcs Woburn Subtropical Paradise

The main area for pre-schoolers and up is Venture Harbour. Nautically themed, it’s full to the brim with slides, water canons and parents screaming “WAIT YOUR TURN!” Babies who don’t fancy getting rugby tackled by mental four-year olds can hang out in the slightly less chaotic Venture Bay. With shallow water that’s perfect for paddling and three gentle slides, it’s an aquatic paradise for little mermaids and mermen alike.

Venture Harbour, Centre Parcs Woburn

Venture Bay, Centre Parcs Woburn Images courtesy of barrandwray.com

The outdoor rapids are a must – they look tame but really aren’t! Great fun for grown-ups or strong swimmers only – don’t go taking your toddler down them unless you want social services knocking on your door.

Same to be said about the ‘Typhoon’ and ‘Twister’ rides – I won’t ruin the surprise but I nearly lost my breakfast and bikini bottoms in one fellow swoop (lucky lifeguard).

Adults who fancy leisurely lengths of the pool, this ain’t for you – book a Sandals holiday to Mauritius (err, jealous much).

So much to say about the pool I’ve thrown it into some bullet points:

Pros 

  • Warm shallow water for little ones to splash in for HOURS at a time
  • Good age appropriate slides for toddlers, pre-schoolers and up
  • Excellent changing facilities, plenty of family cubicles to go around
  • Lodge wristbands also worked on the lockers, so no need to worry about a pound coin (for baby brain sufferers, there’s also a nifty machine that reads your wristband and reminds you of your locker number)
  • Cots dotted around the pool area for when your baby is so overcome by heat and excitement they pass out
  • Complimentary baby and child life vests, so if you’re looking for some extra room in the case then leave yours at home
  • Cabanas are available to hire if you’re feeling particularly swanky, but not many so book in advance
  • For nut jobs who fancy a coffee in the 30-odd degree heat then there’s even a Starbucks at your disposal

Cons 

  • The heat, oh dear god, the heat. They could probably knock the thermostat down a degree or two without everyone freezing to death. Our one-year old had a face like an angry tomato the whole time she was there (which thanks to her four-year old brother was for about four hours every day)
  • Not much for adults. There’s the lazy river, above mentioned rapids and slides but nowhere to have a proper swim if you’re that way inclined. Realistically you don’t really holiday at Center Parcs unless you own a brood of hyperactive children, so I can’t imagine it’s too much of a draw back for that many people
  • Seating isn’t great – a literal handful of sun loungers next to the Starbucks, after that you’re perched on pretty uncomfortable plastic chairs
  • Good luck getting past the ice cream parlour and sweet shop on the way out…

Activities

Activities wise, we really didn’t do too much – on account of our son’s obsession with the subtropical swimming paradise.

The playgrounds were brilliant, lovely soft wood chippings to prevent them caving their heads in when they fell off swings etc. Also loads of soft play places dotted around in various restaurants (Sports Cafe and Pancake House to name a couple), so you can still wear them out if it’s raining and you just can’t face another day of Side Show Bob hair.

One of the playgrounds at Centre Parcs Woburn

More indoor activities to be had at ‘The Plaza’ – climbing walls, badminton / tennis courts, table tennis etc. Also craft rooms and face painting, along with what I imagine to be an extortionately priced ‘Build a Bear’ type money trap.

On another day of biblical rain we headed indoors for a spot of bowling, which went down a treat but as with everything in Center Parcs you have to book in advance in order to avoid disappointment.

Bowling at Centre Parcs Woburn

We decided against bike hire, mainly because the resort actually feels quite small and everything was pretty much within walking distance.

We did hire a boat on the lake, but to be honest, it wasn’t as fun as it looked. The ‘lake’ is more like a flooded puddle, it takes about 10 minutes to whiz round it in one of the electric boats – the kids were asking to get off after five. You’ll pay £20 for half an hour – if you’re in a large group then it’s worth splitting the time between you and sharing the costs.

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Food

We didn’t really have any intention of eating out during our stay – a four and one year old don’t make for a relaxing dining experience. That said, we ventured out twice, once to the Sports Cafe and another time to The Pancake House.

The Sports Cafe was fairly average and it took around 40 minutes for our food to arrive, that said, it was check-in day at lunch time so full of people whiling away the hours before they could get into their lodges.

The Pancake House was good, got in just before the lunchtime rush so super fast service – omelettes are available too if you can’t quite justify letting your kids OD on puddings for lunch.

The on-site ‘Parc Market’ is fairly well equipped (even managed to find some baby nail clippers), but pricey so make sure you stock up on all essentials before you arrive. Expect to pay double for what you’d normally part with for a loaf of bread.

Aqua Sana

I had every intention of visiting the Aqua Sana Spa, but I’m not overly fond on being touched by strangers and after a quick nosey at the price list I decided £85 was just too much for 55 minutes of awkwardness. There were cheaper options, facials or 25 minute massages, but to be honest I’d rather spend the money on shoes and let my husband go nuts with the olive oil.

Not keen on a treatment but want to check out the spa’s amazing facilities? A three-hour session will set you back about £40 (check out the different experiences here). In theory I really liked the idea of the sensory rain walk but as it was bucketing it down outside, I just went for a potter to the Parc Market.

If you fancy a swim in a pool that isn’t 50% water, 50% toddler pee then this might be the place for you.

The Verdict

Pleasantly surprised – not an over enthusiastic teenager in an ill-fitting, brightly coloured blazer in sight!

Would we come back for another family vacay? Definitely! In terms of what we needed for a holiday with small children, it ticked every box.

Yes once you’re in it’s a little on the expensive side – activities, food etc but you can easily minimise those costs by going self catering, using the pool facilities, taking your own bikes, walking, playgrounds, soft play etc.

At the end of the day, if your kids are anything like ours then they’ll be happy with the pool, the prospect of a grufflalo and a few daredevil ducks – none of which you have to book in advance.

Centre Parks Woburn Review

Tired ‘N Tested Rating:

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Prices and booking information can be found at www.centerparcs.co.uk

 

How to Get Through Labour With Your Balls Intact

Men, listen up and take note.

Childbirth has a great knack of changing even the most sane of women into braying, hissing, foul-mouthed creatures who will happily take a swing at you for breathing incorrectly.

Whether it’s your first time in the delivery suite, or fifth – here’s a little guide on how to support your labouring partner in the least irritating way possible…

Pre-labour basics

Swat up

Check out an episode, or two, of One Born Every Minute to get your gag reflex in order. You may be in for a pretty rude awakening if you go in totally blind – “Why is our baby covered in Dairylea?”. Watching a complete stranger’s blurred private parts might not be your idea of a relaxing night in-front of the box, but your inner Bear Grylls knows it’s always good to be prepared.

Booze

Time to go teetotal once the 37 week milestone arrives. She could blow at any moment so swap the lager for a lemonade and do not expect a medal for this brave sacrifice – you absolute soldier to the cause…

Route Planning

Practise the hospital route if you value your life, and car’s interior.

The Main Event

Support

It’s all about her, do as she asks but only when she asks. Some women don’t mind a gentle leg caress whilst in excruciating pain, others will yell obscenities at you while trying to claw your eyes out if you even dare lay a hand on them. It’s hard to determine which of these two types your partner will be until you’re actually in the moment, proceed with caution and maybe pack some bear spray…

landscape_nrm_1422460979-katherine-heigl-giving-birth-knocked-upImage courtesy of Universal 

Narco

Now is not the time to suggest your better half ‘experience’ labour the way nature intended. Champion her decision to take as many hardcore narcotics as she pleases or in a few months you may find yourself on the end of a vasectomy with only 5mls of Calpol and deep breathing to get you through it.

Your main responsibility is to get her any drugs she wants in the fastest time possible. If she’s screaming “Get me the f***ing morphine NOW!!!”, while her head spins like a rotisserie chicken, then off you pop like a crack-hungry Challenge Anneka to find someone to shoot her up good style.

*Side note – it is not hilarious to anyone, other than yourself, to pinch her gas and air. She NEEDS it. All of it.

zzzzzzzzzz

Forget about sleep and don’t you dare complain about it. Sit in that uncomfortable hospital chair like a masculine Meerkat, watching, waiting and back rubbing (bear spray at the ready…). You might have a pain in your neck but it will be nothing in comparison to the pain in her uterus.

You may be excused for toilet breaks, as long as you’re quick…

Go-to-the-toiletImage courtesy of ScoopPick.com

Kebab?

Now is not the time to rekindle your passion for pickled onion Monster Munch or garlicy luncheon meats. If your stomach hasn’t been completely turned by that scene from ‘Alien’ unfolding in front of you, and you insist on chowing down, then plain and simple is the way forward. Don’t go offering her a kebab mid contraction unless you fancy wearing it, or seeing it in reverse.

Go Long

Fine hone your catching skills. Vomit, amniotic fluid, and babies – there’s going to be a lot flying around…

Flirting

Chatting up your midwife is an absolute no, even if it’s just to get you extra cups of tea and a warm egg and cress sandwich (BIN IT, see previous point on food).  It will do you zero favours with the angry, grunting woman on the bed.

Water Snakes

If your lovely lady is planning on a water birth and you fancy getting in on the action, then don’t forget your trunks. She will not thank you for exposing yourself to the midwife. (See above note on flirting)

*Side note – If you’re going in then be under no illusion it’s going to be a relaxing hot tub experience in ANY WAY. Pack a sieve.

Man Down

It’s a daunting time, us women folk get it and our hearts / vaginas bleed for you – they really do. That said, what we don’t want to happen is for you to catch sight of an umbilical cord and hit the decks faster than Ronaldo – ok? You getting all the attention while we’re busy birthing humans and dinner plate-sized organs is NOT COOL.

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Due South

Words you’ll have no doubt uttered, “Nah, mate I’m staying at the head end”, will come back to haunt you as you’re catapulted ‘Vag’ first into the action. So you don’t want to see your favourite pub burn down and then get crapped on, we get it, but pull yourself together man and go where the hell you’re told.

What’s that smell?

You don’t want to see us do it as much as we don’t want to do it, but remember, your other half is expelling life out of her vagina and if she just so happens to push last night’s chicken casserole out in the process – DO NOT MAKE A SCENE. Be a knight in shining scrubs and pretend the smell is just your kebab working its way out in the form of a nervous fart. Never speak of the incident again – even in an argument months down the line and you’re looking for something really good to throw in her face.

A man's guide to labour

Image courtesy of planetscience.com

Doctors & Nurses

Your partner is lying in bed, legs akimbo and in struts a swathe George Clooney-esque doctor who, within seconds, is poking her in places that only you normally poke. Is this even allowed?! Reality check, she is not enjoying it. You’re all good – in about three years time (when you next have sex) she won’t be handing you a surgical mask and asking for a kinky re-enactment.

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Hello Dr Doug (Image courtesy of vulture.com)

Episi-say-whaaaaaaaaaaat-otomy

Ok so this is one of those big words mentioned in the hippy dippy NCT classes she made you go to, but you were too busy playing Candy Crush so have no idea what it means. In a nutshell, she’ll be getting cut from her V to her A. Just a head’s up, now is not the time for humour…Suggesting to the Doctor or midwife repairing the damage to ‘tighten’ things up while they’re down there is not going to end well for you – penis-less bodies have been found in ditches for less.

200w

Nobody Panic

It’s terrifying and it seems as though everything is completely out of your hands, but you have to keep calm – for her sake. Take a deep breath and think ‘What would Bear Grylls do?’ He’d god damn get in there with some home-made salad tongs and pull that baby out himself, then celebrate with a placenta Big Mac, that’s what. Don’t do that. Just do your best to reassure her that everything is going to be ok (and stay vertical).

Bear-Grylls-eating-a-reindeer-heart

Image courtesy of Daily Mirror

Puuuuuuuuuuuuuush

In the final stages you need to encourage her like she’s crossing the finish line of the world’s toughest marathon. She’s going to want to stop but you can’t let her – you’re Alex Ferguson, you’re Mickey Goldmill, you’re the god damn Jerry Maguire of child birthing “SHOW ME THE BABY!!!”.

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Say cheese

Do your poor partner a favour and give her half an hour to wipe the placenta off before getting ‘the’ pic to send to friends / family/ the whole of Facebook. Let her vet them too before you hit send, she’s been through enough without knowing the world has just seen a sweatier, bloodier and exhausted version of herself – minus an Instagram filter.

Push Present

After what she’s just been through, you’d better have something good in store for her. Think diamonds, handbags, shoes, the hot doctor’s telephone number, whatever – she’s earned it. Pick a nice, romantic time to present her with this token of your appreciation – head’s up, don’t do it while helping her go for her first post-labour poo…

So there you have it – a full but not exhaustive guide that might, just might, help you get through the whole labour process with your balls intact (if you’re brave enough to use them again that is…).

A few helpful links:

https://www.amazon.com/Frontiersman-Bear-Spray-Hip-Holster/dp/B002E6VAHK

http://www.mulberry.com/gb/

You’re welcome.