Man (And Woman) At Work

18 Jan

F2BB 08Sorry its been so long since my last post. I hope you all enjoyed the festive season.

I can now say that my wife and I are trying for our first baby after choosing to wait till mid/late December to start. The timescales did slide a little to the right, ironicaly due to ‘Pregnacare’ tablets adding a week to my wifes cycle. After a panic we found out that this is actually a fairly common side effect of this product even though it is not mentioned anywhere in/on the product box/instructions.

A note of caution then, based on our experience (note, we are not Doctors so this is a subjective view based on our experience): Avoid Pregnacare products until you know you are pregnant. Instead just stick with normal folic acid supplements unless you (women) want irregular, normally longer monthly cycles.

Hopefully posts on this site will become a little more frequent as things (hopefully) start to happen. More news/info as things occur

A belated Happy New Year to you all.
-Chris.

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He That Would Keep A Secret Must Keep It Secret That He Hath A Secret To Keep

28 Aug

Well that’s another Bank Holiday gone. Like many other people we decided to spend it with family, my family to be precise. We had the usual fun, enlivened by trying to dodge the bullet about our decision to try for a baby in the not to distant future. Due to the possibility of needing to move house for a new job we very nearly gave the game away by saying why we would want/need a bigger place. We think our secret is safe for now – just.

During the drive to my parents my wife and I were talking about when we would like to tell our parents, friends etc. Of course, tradition dictates that we don’t tell anyone until 12 weeks after conception. So that puts my wife and I at a minimum of 4 months + 12 weeks before we can mention anything to anyone. That’s a shame really because I think that we would both like to let the cat out of the bag.

I know why the twelve week rule exists and its all very sensible and all but the point of this post is to see what other people do. When did/would you tell your family and friends that you are planning to try for, are trying for or are expecting a baby?

Now in my case, my wife will have to tell her boss at work the moment we start trying. This is due to the nature of her work – she doesn’t have a choice for health reasons. So that leaves when to tell friends and family. We decided that it would be unwise to tell anyone before we even start trying, no matter how exited we may be and hope we don’t trip up along the way.

We concluded that it might be nice to tell immediate family (parents, grandparents and siblings) over Christmas. This would be just after we start trying and should help make the Christmas holiday that extra bit special. The rest would have to wait till 12 weeks.

So, what would/did you do?
– Chris.

Getting Healthy Enough To Make A Healthy Baby

24 Aug

My wife and I are on a pretty serious health kick ahead of trying for a baby. Certain diet plans suggest that publically charting your progress is a great way to improve the diets effectiveness. I am sure you guys don’t want to read about my weekly weight loss so I will post dieting ideas and recipes to add flavour (pun intended). I would love to hear from you guys to see what you think and what you do when you have a health kick.

Having swotted up on being healthy ahead of trying for a baby, it seems that while weight loss is on the agenda it is not going to be my biggest concern. My wife and I are both in the upper 10% of our BMI scale, flirting with the barrier between ‘normal’ and ‘overweight’.

While losing weight is important, healthy living is really the prime concern according to my research. As I have said before, I hate fruit and veg and don’t have the time to exercise due to my current working pattern – this, it seems, is where the problem is.

So, what have I done to improve things? Well having looked at my life I found these major issues:

1) No exercise – literally. I have to drive to work, I don’t have time to play sport these days and I play on my PC or watch DVD’s for fun (health)

2) No fruit and veg – I rarely made my 5 a day (health)

3) Snacks and takeaways (health and diet)

4) Portion sizes (diet)

5) Saturated fat intake (health and diet)

6) To many calories per day (diet)

7) White bread, pasta and rice (health and diet)

Having identified these points as the areas I needed to fix, I came up with the following solutions:

1) Making the time for a 30 to 60 minute walk 4-6 days a week and a set of press ups and sit ups before bed. It’s not exactly great exercise – but it’s a good start and a lot better than nothing.

2) Since pushing through the baby fear barrier my wife and I have a new motto: ‘Cowboy up’. This also applies to my attitude towards fruit and veg. I’ve started eating veg I don’t like and we are doubling the amount of veg in our dinners. I am working on the fruit side but need to do some shopping. Pineapples, oranges and raisins will be on the agenda. This has meant that I have gone from eating three or four of my five a day to totally blitzing it (I am closer to six or seven now).

3) Snacks and takeaways. NO NO NO NO – Cowboy up 😉

4) It turns out that my wife and I are probably eating anywhere between 25-50% too much food for dinner and lunch. This has been cut back. To make room for the added veg, meat is significantly reduced as are the carbs. Lunch is now 300g of healthy soup with 1 slice of bread.

5) A few years ago my wife went on the ‘Slimming World’ diet and lost a load of weight. One of the major principles is to try and eliminate as much fat and saturated fat from your diet as possible – as well as other things of course. As a result, cheese, olive oil, butter, ready meals, pizza, high fat content food, and all food with saturated fat is out.

6) As my portion sizes have been through the roof, eating ‘normal’ sized portions does give a calorie deficit, but it only brings me down to what I should be eating. Without the snacks I like (including milk before bed) this gets me the recommended 200-300 calorie deficit that is considered optimal for dieting.

7) It turns out brown bread/rice/pasta actually fills you up more and for longer which means you eat less than if you were eating white bread/rice/pasta. It’s also much healthier.

So that’s the initial plan for the diet and in two weeks I’ve lost 4lbs. Let’s hope it continues because we want to start trying in December. This means I need to lose about 1-1.5 stone (14-21lbs) and about 5-10% of my body fat in 3 months. I sense I have a long way to go!

I will keep a regular post about the fight with healthy eating as well as some of my hints and tips. Please, please post me your ideas on healthy eating and dieting ideas.

-Chris

Am I Trying For A Designer Baby? The Moral Dilemma

20 Aug

In my last post I talked about the need to be healthy ahead of trying for a baby. Call me overcautious, it may well be true, but the diet and exercise regime are in force as of last Monday. My wife and I have decided to delay trying until around December, we hope this will give us a few months to shed a few pounds and try and get a bit fitter.

However, there is another reason why we have decided to wait, it just happens to tie in with the health kick. I fear that this reason may be evidence that I am already flirting with the ‘designer baby’ boundary – something I am not exactly comfortable with.

I was doing some research on ‘when is the best time to conceive’. I was looking for information on age concerns, fitness, career, timing etc. One article that I stumbled across took a different angle (see link).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/nov/01/birth-month-affects-results-well-being

The article suggests that children born in September (making them the oldest in their peer group), are more likely to perform well at school than those born later in the same academic year. I say suggests, but to be fair the data provided is pretty overwhelming.

I have also read reports that suggest being the oldest child in a peer group improves the child’s focus, attention to detail, creative ability, maturity and can make it less likely to be bullied (or to tolerate bullying passively).

So the health kick my wife and I have started is not just about improving the chances of conception and having a healthy pregnancy. It’s also about being in a position to have a baby born at the leading edge of the academic year. This, combined with the diet is why we are waiting until December before we start trying.

But is this a dangerous line to walk? I was reading quite some time ago about the possibility that science could progress to the point where you could choose the sex of your baby, hair, eye and skin colour etc. I strongly object to this. ‘Designer baby syndrome’ is a particularly contentious point and when left in the hands of people who take the word ‘designer’ a little too far, could result in morally objectionable behaviour.

Of course, the moment you discuss something like this someone will immediately stand up and cite the most annoying question in the history of man: ‘Where does it stop – who draws the line’? While I really hate this question, it’s not unreasonable. God forbid anyone being in this situation, but what if the baby is diagnosed with something like Down’s Syndrome, motor neurone disease or MS during the pregnancy? Some people may think it’s unfair or cruel to bring the baby into the world with such debilitating disabilities. Some would argue that it’s not for parents to choose, ‘right to life’ and that Stephen Hawkins would not have existed otherwise etc.

But, where does it stop? Who does draw the line? Parents, make life changing decisions on behalf of their kids all the time – its part of the job. Hopefully, it is purely with ‘what is best for the baby’ in mind. But where does ‘doing what’s best for your baby’ stop and ‘designer baby syndrome’ begin? Has planning to have a September baby purely to help its development at school crossed the line?

I hope not, and I think I could justify my decision in any case. As with all parents (actual or expecting), I want what’s best for my kid and to give it the best possible start in life. If choosing to conceive at a time that means the baby is born in September to increase the kid’s likelihood of achieving more at school then so much the better.

I am not making an early push to force my kid to be a high flyer at school. If school isn’t my kid’s thing then that’s ok and I will not force the issue – well, no more than many other parents. But it seems reasonable to offer it the best chance of success in that area if I have some (or indeed, total) control over it. I think a parent’s duty is to show kids the doors, and ensure there are lots of good options for the kid to choose from. But choosing the path should be as much the kid’s choice as possible.

I hope I haven’t crossed a line.

-Chris.

Let’s Have A Baby – Great Bring On The……….Diet?!?

17 Aug

First off, I want to start this post by thanking the many people who took the time to post encouraging comments on my last post, Tables Turned. As a result of these comments I’ve decided to embrace the horror for a little bit, even though I still don’t know why I told my wife that I am ready to start trying for a baby.

This brings me to the obvious next step: making babies – the fun part 🙂 I thought that deciding to try for a baby would result in me taking my wife to our bed for what I could only hope would be several enforced weeks of daily and unbridled passion. Instead I found myself talking rather sensibly (gasp) with my wife about how this may not actually be the best course of action.

I observed that, “really, we both ought to lose weight, I am sure healthy bodies make healthy sperm/eggs/babies”. Since our wedding in August, my wife and I have put on more than a few pounds, and we were not exactly skinny in the first place. I now weigh the most I have ever weighed in my life (a full 14 stone) and I don’t have the defence of saying its muscle bulk because sadly my work life means I have no time to play the sports I enjoy, and I can’t stand the gym or running.

Another was, “we (I) need to eat more fruit and veg” – oh God 😦 This may not seem shocking to you, but it’s horrifying to me. I don’t eat much veg and I eat NO fruit – that’s no understatement (assuming Innocent Smoothie drinks don’t count). I am a thoroughbred carnivore and love my meats. The thought of not only needing to eat a lot more fruit and veg, including the ones I don’t like, is not a thrilling prospect. We have also agreed to cut out as much processed food as possible and to move over to brown bread, brown rice and brown pasta. I even mentioned that when we do start trying (after we have lost some weight), perhaps we ought to move over to organic food where possible.

As we got into the detail of being healthy before (and during) conception and pregnancy we really started hitting some questions that stumped us. One is that my wife has been on one of the contraceptive pills that stops her cycle. She came off that about a month ago because it wasn’t agreeing with her, but she hasn’t had her period for over a month (she could even be pregnant now for all we know!). But in seriousness, given what that pill does, should we wait some time for the effects to flush out of her body and her hormones to level off – will it harm the foetus?

This led me to start researching the issue – my normal reaction when I don’t know something. I found the following information from the BUPA health service (kind of a British private medical organisation):

http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/p/planning-pregnancy#textBlock276126

As well as answering the contraceptive pill question (no harm whatsoever FYI) this very useful guide of do’s and don’ts also raised some other points. For one, women should get a Rubella shot as it can harm your baby if you happen to catch Rubella during pregnancy. I have also read that couples planning to have a baby should consult their doctor for planning and guidance etc. While I am all for this my wife seems to think it’s not necessary to “waste the Doctors time at this stage”. Thoughts anyone; did you go to the Dr’s? Was it worth it?

So it seems that our future baby has already resulted in our first sacrifice/hardship, and we haven’t even started trying yet! The diet started on Monday, as did the healthy eating push and a move to do more exercise. Amusingly, the first thing my wife did last Monday (the day after I said I was ready for a baby) was to whiz down to local shop and buy a huge tub of folic acid tablets – bless her :). As my wife and I have never smoked and stopped drinking just after university we can be thankful that at least there is no sense of loss there.

Looking around the blogasphere I was pleased to see that I am not the only one that has thought about this. One of the bloggers I follow (Run Angie Mae Run) is in almost exactly the same position as me (trying for a baby etc) and she has recently posted about her battle with the scales. I sympathise with her and wish her all the best! But are we being over cautious?

My mother smoked when she was pregnant with both me and my brother. There has been no obvious sign of damage, although I sometimes wonder about my Brother! I am certain she would have stopped if the health risks were known at the time. However, when my mother asked if she should stop smoking the attending doctor/medical person (I don’t know what GYNO’s and OBGYN’s etc are yet –more research needed) he/she said: ‘We look after pregnant women with heroin addictions that give birth to perfectly healthy babies with no problems, don’t worry about smoking’.

Despite what appears to be every idiot underage kid managing to get pregnant aged between 13 and 16 with no trouble at all, it seems that getting pregnant (responsibly) takes quite a lot of hard effort – its just not the kind of hard effort I had in mind!

Sorry about the pun.

-Chris

Tables Turned

14 Aug

Well it’s been a strange couple of days. While still being concerned with my lack of justification for my recent decision to have a baby I am now confronted with an interesting turn of events that I really didn’t expect.

As I mentioned in my last post, my wife and I have been talking a lot lately about how a baby would impact our lives. Money, time, career, location, diet, lack of sleep, friends and the big one – change in lifestyle. None of these topics reveal anything that shocks or scares me (I was already scared). I know having a baby costs a lot of money. I know that sleep becomes even more of a luxury. I know that it would affect our careers and where we live. This has always been self-evident to me, and this is before we even get close to one of my big fears; change of lifestyle. They are all major factors that stopped me from wanting a baby in the first place.

What I find really shocking and perhaps alarming is that after 2-3 days of talking about little other than having a baby, my wife seems to be getting cold feet. No, she is not backing out – I am not that lucky. But I had assumed my wife’s response would be a sudden and swift ‘ok let’s do it’ (literally and figuratively). What I have been confronted with is much closer to hesitation. So now I have to ask myself; ‘why is my wife reacting like this when she has wanted nothing else for the last year or two’?

On reflection, it’s not that surprising and it’s probably my fault. In the last year or two my wife has been getting increasingly broody, but we have never really spoken about it as something that will happen and that must be planned for. It’s always been a case of me saying ‘no I’m too scared and we are not ready and I am not sure when I will be ready’ and her saying ‘it’s not that bad and we would manage, honest’. As a result she has only focused on the ‘fun’ parts of having a baby and has been forced to try and dismiss my concerns in order to try to convince me to have a baby.

So when I suddenly say ‘I am ready’ and start talking to her about cost, the impact to her career, our lifestyle, where to live, childcare, maternity leave etc. she has been forced to take a big bite of a reality sandwich that I don’t think she had given to much thought too. Suddenly its reality rather than a hope/dream/theory, so perhaps it’s more the by-product of her suddenly needing to stop trying to convince me and start addressing these concerns as a reality rather than cold feet?

So this leaves me in a quandary. First, I am still groping for my own logic in agreeing to have a baby, I still don’t know why I said yes and I am still not sure I am ready. Second, I now find myself playing devil’s advocate with my wife saying things like ‘yes of course we can afford it’ and ‘so what, other people manage’. This last point is despite my strong desire to lay it on thick and convince her that it’s the wrong time – why have I not done this? It would mean we could shelve the idea and buy some more time to get my head around the idea. An opportunity wasted perhaps?

Anyway, this brings me to my closing remark, which goes out to my audience. If you are planning to have, are expecting, or already have kids, did you ever swing from really wanting a baby to suddenly getting cold feet about it?

Till next time,

-Chris

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

12 Aug

As promised here is the first real post on my blog. It seems rather strange writing this as there are a grand total of 0 hits on my blog at this time. I am not a professional writer and I know nothing about blogging, twitter and use Facebook as an email service – not very 21st Century I know. But it appears necessary to provide a more detailed introduction to set the tone for this blog.

About 24 hours ago (and I remember this distinctly), in sound and sober mind I told my wife that I was ready to have a baby with her. This may not seem like a revelation to you, why should it? I am in my late twenties and have been married to my wife for nearly a year. We have been together over 5 years, we both have pretty solid jobs, we are healthy, reasonably mature and reasonably intelligent. Why should this be such a problem for me?

Well the answer is quite simple; I really don’t like babies/kids. I am sure they don’t like me and I could think of few ‘responsible’ people more ill suited and less interested in becoming a parent than me. I am now very, very worried that perhaps in as little as 18 months my wife could be giving birth to something (someone) that I am quite ill equipped and ill prepared to deal with.

You can put this down to natural anxiety if you like, but I would disagree. This isn’t a ‘perfectly natural reaction’ when making this kind of decision. I have never liked kids, I have never liked being in their company nor in the company of what I call ‘baby obsessed parents’ and I have never wanted to have my own kid. The thought that one day I could be in exactly that situation is not a matter of anxiety for me, but of real fear and melancholy.

This may be selfish. It may be ‘what all people go though’. What really worries me is that knowing all this I have still told my wife in no uncertain terms that, minus a few caveats (that will be the subject of future posts) the ball is in her court and I am willing to move onto the next stage of our lives and start a family.

Since returning from honeymoon in the 2nd quarter of this year my wife has had baby fever real bad. This has not been helped by our recent marriage and two of her best friends recently having babies. She has been visibly upset and emotional for the last few months. For the most part it’s been because she has been worried that it could be years before I make my mind up and that even then, it could still be a ‘no I don’t want a baby’. It hasn’t helped that perhaps I’ve not spent enough time with her lately – something I have made recent efforts to fix. She has also had trouble with hormones on account of the contraceptive pill she has been taking – her admission, not my observation.

My wife has never really had the opportunity to talk in detail with me about having a baby. Mostly this is because she thought it would scare/upset me and also because my position has always been ‘I’m not ready now’. On the occasions we did speak she pointed out that women over 30 have a harder time getting pregnant and that the risks to the foetus increase with age as well. I suppose she didn’t want to be in her mid to late 30’s when we started trying only to find out that we couldn’t conceive.

So this post comes 24 hours after I effectively said ‘whenever you’re ready’. Much of the last 24 hours has allowed both of us to really drill down into the detail of having a baby, what it entails, costs and what we both think about it. I think she is more shocked than I am – no bad thing as I have always insisted she is only interested in the ‘cute’ side of having a baby rather than the practical details.

So there we have it, I may well be a very bad person, I am certainly a very scared person and I can only hope I have made the right decision for the right reasons. I appreciate that nowhere in this post is a single bit of evidence to suggest that I have agreed to have a baby because I want one or any other reason that would make me sit back and feel more comfortable about my motives.

When I proposed I promised my wife that I would have kids if that’s what she wanted and I always try very hard not to make promises I can’t keep. I really love my wife, and it would be unfair of me to keep her in the dark about my intentions when she so clearly wants to have a baby. Especially when it is biologically risky the older we get. But the question I could never answer for her was ‘do you think you will ever want a baby’? I really didn’t know one way or the other if I would ever want a baby. I do think it’s unwise to wait to a point where it might be dangerous to the baby or impossible for us to conceive, but as I say, we are only in our late twenties.

While I don’t know why I have suddenly agreed to have a baby, the one thing that I don’t feel is pressure, especially from my wife. I find this strange given what I have written about, but the ball is in motion now and it would be cruel of me to back out now. Strangely, I don’t want to.

The search for reason in madness continues, which leads me to my title. There are bonus points for anyone that can explain its significance, because it’s the only thing that seems to make sense at the moment.

Till next time,

Chris.

Welcome To Father To Be Blog

12 Aug

Hi all and welcome to ‘Father To Be Blog’, henceforth: F2BB.

I will write a better post very soon, but for now here is a quick blurb. I have decided to write a blog that documents a significant change in my life and to talk about fatherhood and parenting. I dare say that along the way it will cover marriage, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and the big one – being a Father, Dad or Daddy.

I hope it will be a source of interest to you and I hope it will help me along the journey. For me it really is a life raft in a sea of uncertainty and fear. I hope this blog will help me deal with this change in my life by documenting the experience and talking with others about it via this blog. Hopefully it may even help others in a similar position.

Anyway, that’s all for now while I work out how to set up and maintain a blog.

Very much looking forward to my first ‘real’ post!

-Chris

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