Preparing for fatherhood

"Babies are for men who wear sensible shoes and drive sensible cars" was my view of fatherhood 12 months ago, so it's fair to say I was not ready for being a dad and eager for practical help. All I knew about having a child was that I'd have a good excuse to get a Scalextric set!

Babies are only fun for a short time and then it's all downhill, isn't it?
Fortunately, there's a lot of support and advice out there for trainee dads and it started with friends and family. I couldn't believe how delighted people were when they heard the news of our forthcoming arrival but it somehow seemed false to me. After all, it wasn't going to be their baby and in any case, babies are only fun for a short time and then it's all downhill, isn't it? With a baby myself, I now realise how wrong I was and, like them, am over the moon when I meet someone who's started eating for two.

Since the birth, I've found the support continues and whenever a small problem arises it seems every other parent I meet is happy to share their similar experiences. Knowing that my friends have gone through disturbed nights/leaking nappies/teething troubles and survived is a great relief.

In addition to this, one of the best sources of help that I found by accident is the local NCT (National Childbirth Trust) group. We became members (although it's not compulsory) and attended the antenatal classes which were held in the evening and aimed at both parents-to-be. It was wonderful to be with people going through the same thing at the same time and to discover that my partner's new habits weren't so unusual after all (and to think she blamed the farting and forgetfulness on me!). Strangely, I also felt less inhibited by not knowing anyone else in the class - at least until the second week when we felt like old friends. A few months later and the mums still meet regularly while the dads dream about the first Scalextric get-together.

Finally, support for me has also come indirectly from celebrity dads, most notably David Beckham. He is an incredibly influential figure under continual media pressure and since the birth of his first son has always been proud to show his love for his children and support for his partner. His lifestyle must be many times more stressful than mine and yet he publicly demonstrates that his family comes first. Not only that but he seems to enjoy fatherhood so much, which I believe makes him an ideal role model for new dads today. I may not have much in common with him but I bet he also makes time for a Scalextric race every now and then...

Comments (now closed)

This NCT... whats this? where is it located... could i get some information about it? I noticed no one has posted on this site for about two years... hopefully someone still looks at this...
Eric31 December 2006

Hi Dave. Thanks for pointing this out. It seems to be OK now.
DadCafe28 June 2004

nct link seems to be on the blink. lovely site, thanks How about some stuff on travel systems from 0 as we are due in a couple of weeks.
dave25 June 2004

I've found a couple of books that are both helpfull and humourous for expectant dads: The Blokes Guide to Pregnancy, Jon Smith Loads of advice and stuff you didn't think you'd need to know. Put accross in a similar way to this site. Your New Baby, an owners manual, Martin Baxendale. Ok not much real advice but absolutely hilarious.
Paul Hester18 June 2004

I would agree with your comments regarding the NCT - we were new to the area and didnt know anyone. I was 'joined' by my wife and now i attend months 'dads nights' - nothing scary - just pub, curry whatever but it makes a nice change. I also help out with their events setting up tables etc.
Richard Warriner16 June 2004