By Jake Reid
Mum’s have it tough - let’s be honest here. For 9 months they grow another human or humans inside of them which causes sickness, tiredness, moodiness (please don’t kill me) and for their entire body to change. Then D-Day comes and its time for your child to enter this world in a life threatening, excruciating and exhausting way. After that, they have to find the energy to recover from stitches, surgery and blood loss whilst changing nappies, dealing with leaking boobs and sleepless nights. Us as men are fortunate that we have the amazing female species to carry and birth our bambinos because there is no way that we could do that – I’ll be honest a cold has me bed bound for days contemplating writing my last will and testament as I reach for the tissues. How do they do it? Because they are blinking phenomenal.
If you can’t tell, I’m male and a daddy. My name is Jake and my little minis are Ella and Finn. Ten months ago, we welcomed our not-so-little Finn Reid into the world after over three days of labour and a 9-month rollercoaster. I say “we”, but it was really Jaz who did it all. Whilst she encouraged me to eat, rest and watch Match of the Day, she was the one hocked up to machines, gripping the bed in agony and having her ‘bits’ prodded every 5 minutes by a different midwife or doctor. I can never thank her enough for enduring everything to bring our son into the world including putting up with me being squeamish in the whole birthing process.
Pregnancy is beautiful but also freaky. Every time Finn’s arms, legs or bum protruded from the bump I thought we were about to re-enact a scene from James Cameron’s “Alien”, but I was always feeling a little jealous of what Jaz could feel. That was until the day a limb went up into her rib cage and she sat at the end of the bed gasping for breath and painful tears falling down her face. Pregnancy is mind-blowing but the chronic morning sickness and heartburn is brutal and disgusting. In guy’s language its like a 9 -month hangover -I can’t even stand one day so how can you survive for 9 months still with a smile on your face? Seeing your body change into one you don’t recognise is difficult for many women to accept but you all must remember that you are still are, and forever will be, beautiful to us.
Labour. In many ways I dreaded it. The blood, the gore and the pain – thank god it was Jaz and not me. Primarily because she took it like a total boss. I would have been waving a white flag after one hour of contractions. I am almost in tears after stubbing my toe so how do women deal with the pain that is compatible to having all their bones in their body broken at once? They are simply amazing. I am not going to explain the full story of Finn’s birth but, after contractions started on Thursday, Finn was born on Sunday April 15th. As I sat eating her post-birth toast (accidentally I might add) and cuddling our new born, I was in awe of Jaz and every other woman who has ever experienced childbirth. How do you do it? You truly are the stronger species.
After birth thing’s don’t suddenly get better. Childbirth can take weeks, if not months, for you to recover. Our midwife compared it to walking like John Wayne. I had hoped that her pain would have disappeared after Finn was born but I was, sadly, gravely wrong. After the long and difficult birth, Jaz had lost a lot of blood and was exhausted. She was not able to produce enough milk to feed Finn herself and received no support from the midwife who questioned why she “was giving up so easily” when we started to add in formula feeds. How dare she?! Bottle bed or breast fed, who cares as long as the baby and mother are happy and healthy. More support needs to be given to new mothers and they should not be shamed or made to feel guilty for whatever decision they make – it is their decision. Let us all respect that.
Some woman and new mothers will flourish with motherhood. Every day is a blessing. But for far too many they can fall into the hole of Post Natal Depression. Many of you may have read Jaz’s previous blog about her struggles with PND and I am well aware that she is not alone. Again, more stigmas, more guilt and more pressure. Please remember that you are amazing, you are inspirational, and you are strong. But it is ok to ask for help. We are here to hold you and help you to remember you are remarkable.
Having a child is the greatest gift. We are indescribably lucky to have two. To every woman who has gone through pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood; I say, on behalf of the male species, thank you. Thank you for risking your health and your lives to bring our children into the world. Thank you for being so strong.
And to Jaz, thank you for making me a Daddy again.