Dads are often forgotten in pregnancy. We’re there at the beginning and the end, but there isn’t much we can do in the middle except offer support. But because of Covid-19, us dads (in fact, all partners) have been left out even more.
My wife Lauren has been pregnant twice before. During her pregnancies with Leo and Teddy, I attended all the fertility, IVF, midwife and consultant appointments and scans we had. When Lauren went into labour with Leo, I slept on the floor for 5 weeks to ensure I could be there for anything and everything she needed.
I know there is a global pandemic but to be excluded from my wife’s pregnancy journey is hard, especially because Lauren’s is a high-risk, consultant-led pregnancy.
When we first found out Lauren was pregnant, it didn’t feel real until we had a private scan at 16 weeks and I could see the baby. We found out that we were having a baby girl and this made me feel more a part of the process. But I was quite upset that Lauren had to go to all her standard NHS scans without me, because I felt that I was missing out on important information.
This pregnancy has been a strange time, as Lauren’s anxiety is heightened, and she has to go to her appointments on her own without any support. At 18 weeks, she started to bleed and had to go to hospital. I’d normally be by her side so we could handle whatever happened together, but I was told I couldn’t attend and had to wait at home. I put on a brave face and watched her walk through the doors into the unknown all on her own. This was heart breaking and I’ve never felt so helpless. My wife is my best friend. Whatever life throws at us we handle it together.
I believe that there needs to be more consideration about a dad’s need to bond with their babies and the anxiety they can feel when faced with a difficult pregnancy, especially one after loss. We’ve booked a private scan to see our girl again the day after Lauren’s birthday.
I’m hoping that by talking about the importance of the partner’s mental health we can encourage more to speak out and to know: it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to be anxious and worried, you shouldn’t feel you have to ‘man up’. The phrase is damaging and nobody is going to judge you for speaking your mind.
Teddy is James and Lauren’s rainbow baby. After losing their first baby Leo, the couple decided to do something positive to help raise awareness of baby loss and make it less taboo, as well as remember their baby boy. You can read more about their story.
If you feel you may need some help managing your mental wellbeing, or if you’re finding things tough before or after becoming a parent, here you can find a list of organisations to help.
Maternity care is still essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and services are still running. If you have any concerns about your pregnancy, it’s important to call your GP, midwife, nearest early pregnancy unit or maternity unit as soon as possible.
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