My wife is pregnant and I don't know how to feel

Things I’ve discovered that are useful when pregnant. Remedies for heartburn. Having the right fitting bra. Owning comfortable shoes. Maternity jeans. Things I’ve discovered that aren’t useful when pregnant: me.

I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting when my wife fell pregnant but now, I feel like a bit of a spare tit (probably not the best comparison because I’m sure a spare tit would be rather useful when having a baby).

I've never felt so useless.

I’ve never felt so useless.

For anyone who’s looked, there’s a hell of a lot of information floating around about what to expect when you’re expecting and there are some seriously insane changes that are currently going on with my wife but as for what I’m supposed to be doing, the information is a bit sparse.

When I first found out I was going to be a dad I asked my old trusted friend (Google) “I’m about to be a dad, what the hell am I supposed to be doing?”

I stumbled across this gem called How to Survive Your Wife’s First Pregnancy. The majority of it was about things I should NOT be doing. “Don’t ask if she’s eating too much.” “Never tell her she’s looking unwell. “and certainly, don’t ever laugh at her or the size of her new clothes.”

I’m sorry. I don’t care if your wife’s expecting or not but those are blanket rules for every day married life, assuming you want to stay married.

The routine catch-ups with the midwives at the hospital don’t help alleviate my feelings of uselessness. I sit there feeling like a third wheel who has crashed a coffee date between two friends deep in conversation about a topic I have zero clue about. I’m trying desperately to think of a relevant question but it’s no good. I’ve got nothing. So instead I just smile and nod and go into autopilot.

I reach for my phone to check my emails only to stop myself because I don’t want to come across as an un-interested father-to-be. My eyes scan the room and I read the vast array of terrifying pamphlets on the wall warning parents-to-be of potential dangers your unborn child could be facing.

Then suddenly we’re done. I say goodbye and imagine what the midwife is saying to her colleagues as we leave, “That poor lady, going through her first pregnancy with Mr Personality” I can see the delivery day clearly in mind, her staring at me with a look that says, “oh so you decided to come along”.

Dr Karola Belton from antenatal and postnatal psychology says it’s all about sharing the "mental load".

“When your partner asks you to research things like car seats or prams, she’s saying to you that she needs help and these things are important to her."

"If she asks you to read an article then actually read it. Be present and ask questions like 'What can I do to help?' and 'What do you need from me?' Dads pre-empting areas where they can help instead of waiting to be asked will make a big difference to expectant mums”.

This whole experience has been so bizarre; I’ve forgotten on the odd occasion that I’m going to be a dad. My wife is just over 22 weeks and is only just starting to really have any signs of a belly.

She’s the one feeling the aches, pains and the movements. She’s the one needing to pee every five minutes. She’s the one with indigestion and gas (I’ll be in trouble for that one, did I mention the hormones?).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not sitting here thinking  "Why does she get to have all the fun?”

Not at all! But I’ve never felt as obsolete as I do when it comes to helping with the growing of my own child.

The trouble is when I spend too much time thinking about it, the feelings of utter uselessness and guilt worsen. I mean, when I REALLY stop and think about it for a minute, my wife is BUILDING a child, a human person. I can’t even hang a picture hook! She does that as well.

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