As my pregnancy can be divided neatly into three trimesters, my husbands approach to impending fatherhood can also be categorized by three stages. Stage 1 was supportive partner phase. The concept of parenthood hadn’t really sunk in for either of us, and we had the stark reality of my Morning Sickness to contend with. Shocked at seeing me so ill, he rallied. He gave sympathy and toast, cleaned up sick (all good practice for baby) and brought me junk food when I couldn’t face eating anything else.

Stage 2 is where we diverged somewhat. Morning sickness over, I was filled with joy and enthusiasm for my newfound status. Project pregnancy had begun! I went to yoga classes, read books and created spreadsheets. My husband, on the other hand, translated the nesting instinct to an all encompassing focus on the practical. DIY a-go-go.

Man make baby, man feel proud. Man travel many journey B&Q. Man remove fireplace from bedroom – make space cot. Man feel proud cave now baby ready. Man ignore strange ramblings of hormone woman. Man watch snooker.

Many a Saturday morning played out like this.. I would return bounding home from my morning yoga class, brimming with news of some new pregnancy thing that I had learned. Husband would respond with good humored cynicism, remarking that women have been giving birth for centuries without the need for [insert breathing / stretching / psychological preparation technique here]. Off he would trot to B&Q, returning to find me in floods of tears, accusing him of not being supportive enough. I was a tad hormonal at that point.

In my darkest hours, I would mull over my options for alternate birthing partners. Could my best friend be persuaded to move back to London from New York? Would it be too weird for my brother to see me naked?

I don’t know whether it was the reality check of my expanding girth and the wriggly contents of my bump, or if we just ran out of DIY. But luckily for all involved (especially my brother), from the chrysalis of DIY-man emerged a zen-like birthing buddha.

This is now a man who has done yoga. A man who asked so many questions at our NCT class, the tutor turned it into a running joke. A man who has read a hypnobirthing book and who reminds me to do pelvic floor exercises. Most importantly, he is a man who has understood that supporting his wife through every step of her birth journey will lead to a happier Mum, Baby and significantly less physical injury inflicted on his person during labour.

All future Dads would be wise to heed the wonderful tradition of the Huichol Indians of North Central Mexico, where pain relief for birthing mothers consists of a piece of rope – with their hand at one end, and their partners balls at the other.

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