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8 Things all Men Should Know Going to the Labour Ward

Planning a trip to the labour ward? Here is what every dad-to-be needs to know.

1. Do Your Homework

Some men watch One Born Every Minute to prepare themselves for the big day. Waste of time. All that shows is that women in the north of England don’t expect much from their men. (“Who cares that he has 47 tattoos and is just out of jail? My Dean has a luvly, luvly smile.”) Others say the best way to prepare for the labour ward is to spend 24 hours with a constipated Rottweiler. I would change that to ‘constipated Yorkshire Terrier’, because my wife reads these articles. But you get the message.

2. The Single Most Important Thing

New Dad leaves nothing to chance on the ‘best route to maternity hospital’ front. 76 hours on Google maps and two dummy runs later, you are ready for every eventuality. This includes snow, even though the due date is in July. There’s just one thing you forgot. Your partner’s reaction when you arrive back from the underground carpark after dropping her at the admissions desk. To prepare for this, we recommend an app that says “What kept you, I’m having a baby, did you forget how to park, I’m having a baby, did you remember the suitcase?” No, you forgot it. We all do. Back down to the carpark. Quick!

3. Get Connected

Obviously the first thing you do on arrival at the Delivery Suite is check for decent internet connection. You are a man in the year 2016 and these things can’t be helped. Unfortunately, there is poor reception in a lot of delivery wards, which means you can’t follow the minute-by-minute report of Liverpool reserves playing Burnley. That child is wrecking your life already, and it hasn’t even been born. Try not to say this out loud.

4. Pokémon No

It doesn’t matter if you are one of those couples who bonded over Pokémon Go. (Although it is a worrying sign that you mightn’t be ready to have kids.) Telling your partner you are heading out for 5 minutes because you think there is a Pokémon in the canteen will only end one way. The loudest scream of the day in the delivery ward. At you, for trying to enjoy yourself when she is only 3cm dilated. Sit back down there and ask if she’d like another glass of water.

5. Useful You

It’s the age old question. What can you do to make yourself useful, other than the glass of water mentioned above? A popular option is to offer your partner a massage. This is a good move, as long as you have done it before. Otherwise you are making your massage debut on someone who would much rather you gave her a bottle of horse tranquilisers. You’ll be doing it all wrong.

6. Entertainment

You know your favourite joke? It doesn’t sound funny to a woman who is wondering if it’s too late to have an epidural. The only thing that can make her laugh now is inhaled through a mask. So keep away from the gags. Far better to watch a movie on your iPad. A few rom-coms might be in order, even if they make you want to die. We hear Marlay & Me is actually quite good if you are off you head on laughing gas. So remind her that sharing is caring. Alternatively, watch some porn. It’s the last time you’re going to see some sex for a long time.

7. The Munchies

Don’t expect to eat well. This is an Irish hospital, the last place in the world you would expect to find healthy food. You’ll be doing well to find a packet of reduced-fat crisps. Some advice on eating during your 18-hour ordeal. First, don’t say that it’s your 18-hour ordeal. If you don’t know why, then we’re amazed you got a woman in the first place. Second point, steer clear of sickly flavoured crisps because your partner’s sense of smell during labour is right up there with a grizzly bear’s. (Don’t use this comparison.) Finally, don’t ask if it’s ok if you pop out to MacDonald’s. It isn’t. And you will never be forgiven.

8. A Record for all Time

Remember that urban myth during the video cassette years? Where you video-taped the birth and showed it on rewind to the child in later years as a warning to what would happen if said child didn’t behave. Well, obviously we’re not suggesting you do that. Not when you can just record it on your mobile phone and show it on your Smart TV. (Get with the times, seriously.) To some people this is a cruel and barbaric practice. These people have never tried to discipline a child with a reward chart. So record the birth. You’re going to need it.

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About the Author

Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork city with his wife and two small kids. He gave up a decent job in I.T. in 2008 to head for the lucrative world of writing. So don't hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. Pat is a regular on the on the RTE Today show with Maura Derrane and Daithí O’Sé and pops up frequently on radio shows such as the Right Hook. All of this is a bit too much like hard work, so he has started writing novels which will hopefully fund an early retirement to a hammock in the back garden. His first novel, Keep Away from those Ferraris, is available online and in shops outlined here http://www.patfitzpatrick.ie/novels/. Pat’s kids are both under two, so if you don’t mind, he is now going for a quick lie down.

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