The notion of ‘from a dad’s perspective’ first set the wheels in motion. I recall when my wife was expecting, and like the majority of most new Irish expectant dads, I was feeling elated but at the same time nervous as to what lay ahead.
Thankfully, I worked in pregnancy book central, a major bookstore, and on the day I found out we were pregnant I (discreetly!) popped over to our ‘sex & pregnancy’ section. I flipped through what was on offer on the shelf for expectant dads, making sure my suspicious behaviour didn’t appear like I needed any help from any of the relationship manuals!
The selection was limited to ‘laddish’ style bloke guides that did nothing to quell the nerves. When I investigated further on the Internet, I discovered amongst the information, heavily pink mothering sites with only a few tips written by good-hearted mums on how best to support your pregnant partner in ‘her’ pregnancy. I suppose it was this factor which made me think ‘but what about poor little old nervous me? Don’t I feature in all of this?’
This triggered my paternal quest to establish an information hub for Irish expectant dads who could visit a website and find articles written by other dads who were either in a similar boat or whose boat had already docked and could tell tales about their travels.
Dad.ie was formed shortly after we learned that we were expecting our second daughter. Though I had gathered plenty of material for the site prior to this, it seemed more substantiated now that we were expecting again and that the information featured on the site was relevant to where we were in our own pregnancy.
The idea of The Irish Dad’s Survival Guide to Pregnancy & Beyond, was always there really, even prior to launching dad.ie over three years ago. There still existed a gap on the shelf for a pregnancy title aimed at Irish expectant dads that included information appropriate to the Irish marketplace and more importantly, accounts from other Irish fathers about surviving the pregnancy.
I am very fortunate over the years to have made many friendships through dad.ie with other Irish fathers. Many of whom have contributed to The Irish Dad’s Survival Guide to Pregnancy & Beyond. This fraternity of fathers, though professing not to being writers themselves, were wise enough to insist that their surnames be omitted in the final print run – oh the bravery of Irish dads!
In writing The Irish Dad’s Survival Guide to Pregnancy & Beyond, I strived to make the content accessible, fresh and reassuring. When it did call for a more medical approach to certain topics I called on the help of a GP pal (who was an expectant dad at the time too!) to ensure that any terminology appeared in dad-friendly plain speak.
To put expectant dads further at ease, I enlisted the services of a seasoned midwife and lecturer in midwifery who patiently answered all the important questions regarding the delivery including; ‘Where do I stand in the labour ward?’ and ‘What if I feel faint?’…
‘Surviving the first six weeks’ after the birth plays an integral part in the book. Naturally, becoming a dad is probably one of the most important life-changing events to occur in a man’s life. However, in the months leading up to seeing his baby, the dad can often feel side-lined, with the reality of the situation not kicking in until he is cradling his newborn in his arms for the very first time.
Finally, if I could pinpoint the one word that best describes The Irish Dad’s Survival Guide to Pregnancy & Beyond it would be reassuring. Reassuring for any expectant dad that whatever he is feeling is perfectly normal, and that through reading this book he will discover that other Irish dads have gone through the same.
The Irish Dad’s Survival Guide to Pregnancy (& Beyond) by David Caren is available now in all good bookshops and at www.obrien.ie