I’m not an ogre. Let me start off with that statement. It’s important that you know this fact. I’m not an ogre; I’m a loving husband who is so proud of his wife; the woman carrying his soon-to-be first child and who’d do anything to make her life easier, who understands that she’s (metaphorically) climbing a mountain of toil and strain at the moment and who would like to think he would turn his hand to any task entreated.
However (you knew there was at least a ‘but’ but more likely a ‘however’ coming) I may have once (possibly twice) not entered into such tasks with, shall we say, complete 100% enthusiasm.
I’ve not refused to help, I wouldn’t. I just may have been caught, perhaps, expressing the merest hint of an eye roll somewhere in the vicinity of a request to paint her toenails (ie. just after).
And that’s how ‘Bump Week’ began.
Pregnant women often wish that their other halves could experience the good and the bad of this nine month baby growing business. I’ve heard all manner of tales of the sheer joy of the first kick, the bizarre but reassuringly kooky experience of hiccups from within the womb but also of the heartburn, the exhaustion, the nights spent unable to drift of into peaceful, restorative sleep.
It’s worth noting that expectant fathers also, to a lesser extent, live through the latter normally courtesy of a flailing, restless elbow squarely in the ribs. Accidentally, of course (this caveat has been added in the spirit of diplomacy).
Mums-to-be will always bring up the bump; how it gets in the way of household tasks, the strain it puts on the back and the general self-consciousness it engenders. After listening and sympathising, in what must have been the very definition of a moment of weakness, I pledged to wear a maternity bump for a week to truly gain an insight into what Jill is going through.
Thanks to the good people of Lazy Daisy a canvas suit arrived at my house all ready to be filled with bags of sand and then be strapped around me. At work I was the subject of much ridicule, in the street I was stared at but no one wished to ask the all-important question, “why?” Then again, would you approach a pregnant man? What if it turned out to be Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film Junior and he cornered you for the rest of the day to discuss the finer points of his theories on the future of California’s renewable energy policies? Unlikely but possible.
Perhaps there was the same fear as with potentially expectant ladies; do you risk asking someone how far along they are only to be rebuffed with a curt “I’m not pregnant, actually”? I suppose feasibly it could have been the result of a voracious Timothy Taylor Landlord habit but it mainly just looked like some daft get with bags of sand fastened to his gut.
It was heavy and it was uncomfortable but it was mainly inconvenient. I tried to vacuum but I couldn’t get enough range in my arms, pulling the Dyson towards me was hindered by my newly acquired sand baby.
I felt an amazing sense of frustration; I’d leave a room and only then realise that I’d intended to take an item with me. Just considering the effort of returning to my previous position and then back again brought on a true, foreboding sense of doom. You soon learn to keep a tight hold of anything you’re carrying; bending to retrieve an errant pen is a joyless experience.
I was meant to wear the bump for a week, I managed until the Thursday and my respect for pregnant women and those who have been through it is immeasurable. Eyes will certainly remain unrolled for the duration of the pregnancy and toenails will be painted with not only acceptance but enthusiasm. There’s no way I’m risking the moment of weakness where I agree to experience the pain of labour. I’d do anything for love, but…