Our friend, Chris, turned 30 at midnight and got engaged to our friend Andrea a few weeks ago. The engagement didn't seem to affect Andrea regarding age but the party did. Knowing that there were engaged couples, married couples, expectant couples and parent couples - and their children - turning up was a worry to her. She didn't like that we were all becoming responsible adults. I think a few glasses of wine put pay to that though.
Obviously Erin and I are in the 3rd category (and 2nd. Oh, and have been in the first. And, er, are soon to be in the latter). We met some great people and had some fun chats with people in all the categories, learning a lot from the 4th. It's quite amazing really that when your wife is pregnant, conversations are very easy. People ask how things are going - alluding to the bump - and it flows from there. If you're talking to a couple or person who has a child it's even easier, but the questions come from you rather than the other way round. Also, nothing is out of bounds: bodily functions, body parts, anything, literally anything. There's definitely a pregnancy community - a pregmunity?
We were part of this at the party with instant offers of advice, books and maternity clothes. We took up all three offers and picked up a few things before we left Cambridge this morning, very happily - thank you Zoe and Andy.
And the advice? Here's what we learned:
Women tend not to be able to think past the birth, it's easier for men to do.
Men: Go to the loo before the labor so you don't miss anything and you may be needed.
St. Thomas' Hospital (ours) Pregnancy Yoga on the 8th floor is great.
Women: Make sure you really know how to relax your muscles at the birth. It'll make everything so much easier.
When the baby comes along:
You might want to be as eco-friendly using reusable nappies but forget that at the beginning. Get the disposable ones, they'll fit better for the first 6 weeks.
The first weeks are tough, not just because of lack of sleep but the lack of response from the little one. Once you get smiled at it's heaven.
Baby gyms are a godsend. Get a cheap travel one so they can be stored, thrown in the corner of the lounge and got at as you wish.
Breast-feeding can be difficult, and if it doesn't work out, don't get depressed about it. Plenty of children have been brought up without it.
There's a great children's drop-in centre in Kennington - just round the corner from our house.
Life goes on, you can go out to eat when the baby comes along, just do it at lunchtime.