written by my wonderful husband Andrew Taylor
Do you remember that feeling? That moment when you found out that you were going to be a dad? Surprise, fear, joy, happiness all hitting you in an instant………maybe all at the same time. When you have recovered from the realisation that life is about to get quite different, what next? In reality, this is not the moment when you realise that life is about to change dramatically, nothing can really prepare you for the new realities of life as a dad.
The pregnancy period can be a busy time, an anxious time and will be overwhelming at times. All being well your partner will be well and your antenatal appointments will go well, but there will be anxiety and there will be lots of new, unexpected experiences. Pregnancy is very individual and a deeply spiritual and personal experience, often quite different from one new mum to the next. As a new dad it’s impossible to physically experience the changes your partner is going through, you won’t feel the nausea or the mood swings physically, but you may get the other side of them! But be present and share what you can with support and understanding at every step. Your partner will blossom and bloom and look amazing, glowing skin and thick shiny hair, this is a time to cherish and enjoy.
When it comes to how you support it’s the little things that count, but don’t always expect a smiling vision of pregnancy bliss every day even when you are doing the best you can to support. Go to all the appointments together, learn and support each other at every step, two sets of ears will be useful, and you will both have your own thoughts and questions. A cup of tea in bed every morning when your partner has spent the night being poked and kicked from within is a good start. In case you wondered how it feels baby’s kicks are easy to mistake for gas bubbles, but they gradually grow in strength into unmistakable jabs (often causing visible seismic activity on the woman’s abdomen). Imagine that feeling!
Things will be different from the perspective of a new dad. Less ‘networking’ with new friends made at pregnancy support groups, less discussion and sharing with friends and relatives that have small children and a world of their own experience. And nothing can prepare you for the choices and decisions that you’ll need to consider that you never even imagined you’d have to make. I vividly remember walking into a child and baby retail ‘superstore’ and leaving around an hour later empty handed, confused, head spinning, completely exhausted and overwhelmed. There is lots to consider and arrange at home too, decorating and preparing the nursery, buying car seats, buggies, monitors, bottles, blankets, sleeping bags, nappies and accessories and gadgets that you never even knew existed. Some of which you probably won’t use and don’t really need.
Becoming a new parent might is probably the most significant and biggest life change you’ll ever experience, especially as a first-time parent. As a new mum, your partner has been through the emotional and exhausting experience of giving birth. But how did it feel the day you became a dad? A lot will depend on the birth experience. Will you go full term without complication? Will your partners waters break at home or somewhere convenient? What will your labour experience look like? For me birth was complicated and so had to be carefully planned and calculated, no surprises but lots of anxiety and unknowns for the big day. It was exhausting but relief and joy settled in when baby arrived without too much complication and both mum and baby were safe and well. Then the fun begins, and life will never be the same again!
Paternity leave is an important time, a time to support your partner, bond with your new arrival and establish new routines get hands on. Don’t be too quick to fill the house with family and friend well-wishers but do accept offers of help. A timely delivery of a fresh home cooked meal would be very welcome! Take your time to settle as a new family unit and recharge, visitors at this time will be tiring for you and take their toll, there is plenty of time for that in the coming weeks and months.
Gifts will flow in from all over the place, this is a time of great generosity. The greatest gifts will be those that you experience together, those that you can capture in time and those that will never fade.
After I became a father, I was on a mission to capture every moment and document every step, this started from day one with those first phone pictures in the hospital. I know I’m not alone and this so easy these days with phones and social media channels. Capturing moments is a big part of parenthood and the real legacy you leave for your children and your family to enjoy. Of course, this is a universal rite and nothing new, I still have the ‘baby book’ that my mother wrote in to capture my early days and years with name, birth date, weight, first words, pictures, growth and development and tiny curls of hair. The only difference is that these days it’s just so much easier to do. I challenge you to find any dad who hasn’t got a phone full of pictures of children and family life. But a phone full of pictures isn’t the goal and isn’t the way to celebrate parenthood.
My son gave me a gift as new father, a writing journal ‘Dear Dad……from you to me – a journal of a lifetime’. In its own words a book for my unique and amazing story for me to capture some or life’s key memories, experiences, and feelings. A journal to complete and return to my son, a record of my story, a story that can be treasured forever. How many of us know the story of our parents and our grandparents in any detail? Unless documented details are easily and regrettably forgotten and lost in time.
Photoshoots also became the new norm and my favourite way to document and celebrate our family. Starting with pregnancy through new born baby and on and on. A family photoshoot makes the perfect personal gift for any dad, it’s really, it’s a gift for the whole family………but maybe that’s one little secret that we can keep from dad! Time flies by, visual memories of parenthood and family life at all stages, ages and generations are timeless and will drive emotion and make you smile forever.
Fathers should be celebrated at every opportunity. Father’s Day is a great opportunity to plan something special, a time to celebrate parenthood and all that being a dad means and just have fun together! More than just a gift, a photoshoot is an experience day and something that you will look forward to and something that you will remember through the beautiful images, the stories they tell and the memories that they create.
However you capture those special moments just do it!
For pricing please see here. Gift vouchers available for Father’s Day.