Honey, I’m pregnant! You’re pregnant? Woohoo, you’re pregnant! Oh my God, you’re what? No way, get rid of it! Finally, I can’t wait! The reactions to this life-changing sentence could not be more different – feeling overwhelmed, happy, ecstatic, scared but also rejected. Men go on an emotional roller coaster ride. What’s more, depending on the situation, negative reactions are understandable. It’s a big difference whether a child was planned or an accident.
The mother-to-be eats healthier, avoids certain food and substances, adjusts physical and maybe even professional activities, has to put up with pregnancy-related discomfort, has countless doctor’s appointments and regularly feels the kicks of the baby. From the word go, she is responsible for the tiny, innocent human being that is growing inside her. A dad-to-be usually takes a backseat during this time. All he can feel are the baby’s kicks. There’s no discomfort, no nausea or any other ailments. To add to the bizarreness, baby websites usually compare the size of the foetus to fruit.
Meanwhile, the baby boom has also reached Digitec Galaxus. I quizzed a few expecting and brand new dads about their situation. Kevin Hofer (Editor, brand new dad), Thomas Kunz (Photographer, dad-to-be), Ueli Schwob (Process Manager, dad-to-be), Philipp Rüegg (Editor, brand new dad), Louis Varnet (Process Manager, brand new dad) as well as the partner of Ümmü Baskin (Category Planning Manager, expecting) told me about how the “I’m pregnant” message went down, how they experienced the co-pregnancy and at which point it dawned on them that their life would never be the same again.
All six men I asked about how their partner’s pregnancy made them feel gave completely different replies.
Louis actively took part in his wife’s pregnancy. He wanted to know all about it, accompanied her to every appointment at the gynaecologist, read up on all kinds of topics and adjusted to his partner’s situation. It was extremely important to him to be there for her every step of the way and to help her stay grounded. They were lucky enough not to experience any kind of real worry. The doctor’s appointments were more like little confirmations that everything would be OK. Louis never felt that the pregnancy was an obstacle. The two of them continued to travel, went to the gym together until the very end and enjoyed the time together until the birth. They simply took each day at a time.
Ümmu and her husband talk about the pregnancy every day. He listens to her fears, joys and worries and actively observes her (physical) changes. For a while now, they’ve been looking for a baby name, but they reckon it will still take a while until they find the right one. After all, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly.
Sadly, Kevin and his partner had to deal with a heavy blow, as the first pregnancy did not go as planned. After being ecstatic about the news that his partner had conceived, the feeling was followed by the pain of losing the baby. The miscarriage left deep scars. The uncertainty of not knowing if the second pregnancy would go smoothly was constantly on their minds. Kevin was not fully over grieving for the baby they lost and, although he supported his wife in every way, he emotionally held back towards his unborn son and the pregnancy for fear of experiencing the same thing again. Understandably, the check-ups were very important for the couple. With each examination and each positive feedback from the doctor, their hope of a successful pregnancy grew. Today, Kevin is grateful to have a healthy boy.
For Philipp, the renovation of his home was his main focus. He and his partner wanted everything to be ready for their new arrival. Naturally, his wife and baby’s health was also a primary concern. Fortunately, the pregnancy continued without any complications or major mood swings, so Philipp took everything in his stride and is now enjoying the time after the birth.
For Ueli, the health of his girlfriend and unborn child are his main concern. He also occasionally thinks about all the do’s and don’ts and opinions and advice the countless books available on the subject convey. He and his partner are not married so they had to settle the acknowledgement of paternity and child custody matters in the commune they live in. As a general rule, and when the parents agree, acknowledging paternity and the parental authority for unmarried parents can be settled with a phone call for an appointment, a trip to the register office as well as quite a few signatures. Ueli is also intrigued by the shift in topics with his friends. The ones who have children have started to give him advice, tips and make predictions that he’s not (yet) interested in. He finds it quite difficult to distinguish between valuable information and unnecessary blabla.
Here’s a sweet anecdote Thomas shared with me about what was on his mind during the pregnancy:
My wife told me that one of her girlfriends had her baby a month early. The following night, I woke up from a nightmare. It dawned on me that there were only three months to go to get a bed, changing table, pram and clothes.Thomas Kunz, Photographer
Thomas experienced the pregnancy as an emotional roller coaster ride that added three kilos to his waist. So the cliché proved right, phantom pregnancy is a real thing that makes men’s bellies grow.
There was one thing all of our Galaxus dads (to be) had in common. They all helped, supported and accompanied their partners. They all showed consideration, shared their discomfort and tried to be there during the check-ups. Keep up the good work, gentlemen!
The question “At which point did you realise that things were getting real and your life was about to change drastically?” was answered the same by all. The fathers-to-be are not 100% aware of the extent. All brand new dads say that it hit them right after the birth. As you can see, everybody is in the same boat. For some, the whole experience is just a little more abstract than for others. At the end of the day, future dads can buy books and read up on everything about the upcoming situation but it’s still different for everyone. Fatherly pride will kick in as soon as they set eyes on that little bundle of joy. It will also erase all the stress, strains and changes. Promise.
By the way, it's similar for us ladies. We don't really know what to expect and what's going to change. :-)
Our son was born 14 days after the due date. We weren’t too stressed out because of all the appointments with the midwife and doctor but because everyone kept saying: «This is the last time you’ll be doing XYZ. » So you can imagine that there were countless «last times» during those 14 days. We’d really had enough of hearing that same old comment and just wanted the baby to be born. In hindsight, we probably should have made more of those «last times» but we just weren’t in that frame of mind.Kevin Hofer, Editor
My wife is French. She speaks pretty good German but once, after seeing the gynaecologist, she asked me why the doctor had been talking about a “Käseschnitte” (cheese toast). At the time, she had been unfamiliar with the term «Kaiserschnitt» (caesarean). ;-)Thomas Kunz, Photographer
We took it easy, ate well and didn’t worry too much about everything being perfect.Louis Varnet, Process Manager
That first ultrasound check-up during the first trimester was probably one of the most powerful moments to me. It’s incredible to see the baby moving around. An indescribable feeling».Husband of Ümmü Baskin, Category Planning Manager
On that note, we would like to wish all you brand new daddies a wonderful time with your wee one!
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