I was speaking with a friend today, an utterly amazing woman named Pamela MacDonald, and we started talking about daddy activities. I lit up as I started to talk about my list of activities to do with our kids as they grow up. But Pam provided an elegant insight to the conversation. She and I talked about how I could write to my child right now.
This idea makes a lot of sense to me. I used to write love letters on some of my loneliest nights when I dreamed of sharing love with a special woman.
You know those times when you wake up from a dream and you’re still kind of in dreamland. You feel like the dream is real just for a few seconds before you realize you’re dumb (just kidding).
For example: After I got home from teaching ESL in Korea for a year I had a hard time getting my sleeping pattern back in order. One night when I woke up I was beside myself wondering how the heck I was going to make it to class in time … seeing as I would have to fly there! Boy was I in trouble … Lol.
As the days count down and my baby’s due date moves closer, I reflect daily on birth, pregnancy, parenting, etc. Amidst all of these thoughts surrounding birth, I have spent some time thinking about my own birth.
Like you, I obviously don’t remember the moments when I first opened my eyes to the world, took my first breath, or felt the cold sweetness of the air that would become my life support. But my mother has told me the story of how I was born. She has told me many times in fact …
I know my baby is still only an embryo the size of a grape, but I have so much love for it.
Some nights I watch my Sprout app. I hold the heartbeat to my chest, so I can feel it beating against mine. I can’t actually feel my baby’s heartbeat yet, but I can imagine it. It is beautiful. One day, after she or he is born I will just lay with my baby on my chest, while we hold each other with helpless and endless love.
That I am alive, and I will get to feel that is a profound achievement of existence. Not just that it is happening to me, but that it can happen at all. Life is so precious.
As I do just about every day, I woke up this morning and read about parenting. Of course some mornings I read about pregnancy or baby brain development, but you get the idea. The book I was reading this morning is called No Regrets Parenting by Harley Rotbart. This post isn’t meant to be a book review, but before you think I hate the book just let me set the record straight. I think it’s a good book, solid 4/5.
The overall premise of No Regrets Parenting is a GOOD one that we should cherish the precious moments we have with our kids. Those moments will be over before we know it. Thus it is with life.
With that said there was a little chapter in there that talks about camp. All the chapters are little, so that’s not meant to be condescending … :D. See, I do really like the book. I’m standing up for it against myself, lol.
In the chapter on he talks about sleepover camp. That’s a good start! But, then he starts talking about how we shouldn’t send our kids to overnig… I think Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig said it best at the 2013 Golden Globes:
Now that you’re back from the video … that’s pretty much how I reacted: “You get out of here”.
Let’s get serious here. Though I love Rotbart’s perspective on savouring our lives with our kids, I strongly disagree with him on the point of summer camp. I’ve worked at camp for six years and seen its power firsthand.
Here are the 5 best reasons I can think of why we should send our kids to overnight summer camp:
I have a feeling this post may be controversial to some. So before you read it please understand that it comes solely from a place of love. Love for all the woman out there courageous and strong going through pregnancy. Love for the men and women who support them. And love for the little ones that grow inside a woman’s incredible body. Above all for me, love for my darling and our little one (we just found out our child to be is about the size of a tadpole right now :P).
I think today’s post may be controversial because it talks about a man’s (or non-pregnant female partner’s) role in the pregnancy. More in particular the man’s role as it pertains to nutrition and the mother’s body. This is not about a man taking power away from a woman over her body. It’s about being a responsible adult and a supportive partner.
It’s no mystery that pregnant woman can have mysterious cravings during pregnancy. Last night I found myself eating Kraft dinner with Deb (as a late night snack) for the first time in over a decade. Some of this bingeing may in fact be necessary, to stay sane. I am not sure that I can really get into that, as it seems largely subjective. Who am I or anyone to judge anyway? With that said, I feel strongly that a woman also needs to up her game, and eat healthier foods. It seems more necessary that a woman take better care of her nutrition while pregnant than at other times. After all she is eating for two. And, when is a better time to start eating more nutritious food than before your child eating meals?
As I’ve mentioned before, the day we found out we were pregnant my life changed. I stepped up my game immediately, and became more of an adult almost spontaneously. It’s awesome, fascinating, and maybe a little scary. At the moment I don’t know if that’s normal for a man (i.e. biological) or that I just figured out it so quickly, because I’m so darn smart (jk). Our lives are changed, and there’s no going back. That’s why I say I already feel kind of like I’m a dad. Sure I may be an initiate at this point, but everything in my life has a different meaning now.
Part of Our Role
As men (and pregnancy partners) our job may be at times to help find healthy alternatives for a certain craving. For example, instead of those brownies she wanted, how about a chocolate smoothie? Or homemade raw brownies (made from nuts), if you can afford it. It means too that we need to actively seek out understanding of what she may be craving and how we can help.
We also need to be responsible with nutrition choices because it’s only fair that if she is eating it for our kids we should eat it, and prepare a little more often than we would otherwise. That means we have to cook more healthy and delicious meals. You should have that skill as a parent anyway.
What I think it doesn’t entail is to just give your pregnant partner the exact thing that she is craving (every time). Sure this may appear to be some sort of soft skill that only seems worthwhile during pregnancy, but it actually has application for the entirety of a marriage or relationship. I may get belted over the head for this thought before the end of it, but it just seems like the fair thing for our child! It’s not just about the decisions of adults any more. Those days are gone…
Some Thoughts on a Pregnant Woman’s Role in Nutrition
It also may be to help our loved ones make good choices about what she eats. However difficult it may be to accept, a woman does not choose everything in a vacuum while she is pregnant. Not that we make our choices in a vacuum to begin with, but I think you get my point. It seems like the mature thing to do is to not give in to every urge for certain types of food. There is a little one already counting on her. What she puts into her mouth she is feeding to her baby. I’m not pretending to fully understand the urges, but I do know the baby is in there and he or she is counting on the mom to make good decisions.
As a parent, we’ll likely lose even more of our ‘freedom’. We have responsibilities now that basically never go away. A lot of these responsibilities don’t start at birth. They start at conception.
I am really interested to hear what you think about this. Please remember that I am just a guy trying to figure this out. I love my spouse, and really just want what’s best for us and our child. Hence why I can’t wait to read what you have to say.