They say that every pregnancy is different, and this was definitely the case with us. During the nine-month wait, I gradually became aware of the fact that we’d soon have a new member in the family … choosing the décor for the room, the tiny clothes. Strolling around children’s stores in search of more items, each one cuter than the last, was all part of preparing to become a dad for the second time.
I feel that I was present for both pregnancies, though my wife needed even more support the second time, as her second pregnancy was different from her first. And becoming a dad for the second time was also a new experience for me.
My role as daddy increased tenfold.
Our daughter Luna was barely three and still needed a lot of attention. Seeing her mommy change and feel more tired than usual was not easy for Luna, even though she was thrilled at the prospect of becoming a big sister.
I was already familiar with the basics of pregnancy – nausea, pains, mood swings – so I felt better prepared to help my wife with all this. But then, at six months, my wife, who’s very active, had to stop all activity and reduce her travel to a bare minimum. When the midwife told us there was a risk of a premature birth, I was forced to take full control of the running of the house.
Shopping, housework, and Luna’s activities: my role as daddy increased tenfold. I did everything I could to be sure that my wife didn’t have to worry about whether things were done in the right way or not. I wanted everything to be PERFECT at home so she could rest as much as she needed.
In addition, we had to change maternity wards. The first delivery had been complicated and difficult, so, to avoid getting worried about gynecologist appointments, we decided to start anew and give birth in a different hospital.
The team, which was young, attentive and motivated, instilled in us a feeling of confidence during every visit. I was present for each ultrasound, even if I had trouble following what the gynecologist was saying while we all stared at the small screen: “and there’s her stomach, and her right foot…” But I was soothed by his gentle words and I smiled as I listened to the rapid and regular beating of Maëlie’s little heart – at which point everything became more real. I was about to become a dad for the second time!
Every appointment was stressful due to the fear of complications, of problems the baby might be facing – it was agonizing at times. But in the end, Maëlie was in great shape and moved around so much that she gave the specialist a hard time.
I often worried about not leaving for the maternity ward in time.
Living in the country, a desert when it comes to all things medical, maternity wards are about an hour’s drive from our home. One hour is a long time when it’s an emergency! I often worried about not leaving in time. But Maëlie was kind, and gave us ample time to arrive at the maternity ward. We even had time to walk up and down the 11 flights of stairs several times in an attempt to speed things up, even though this proved to be in vain. My wife spectacularly sprained her ankle while my legs still ache to this day! By the end, I knew my way around the place by heart.
I have admired my wife’s will and courage during each pregnancy, and both ended extremely well with the arrival of my daughters, who fill me with happiness every day.
Lives: Saint-Céré, in the French countryside
Work: runs the blog monpapa.fr in which he shares his stories about family life
Family: married with two children, Luna and Maëlie