SafeMotherhood
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WHAT TO EXPECT

How life changes

The birth of a baby changes the relationship between a couple forever. While it is undoubtedly a life-enhancing experience, there are things about it that you may not like.

One thing that first-time parents Sarah and Steve have found since the birth of their child is that they can't make plans any more. "Everything has to fit around Isabella. She's in charge," says Steve. Nor is it possible for them to be spontaneous. "We can't just say: 'Let's go out for dinner' or go to the cinema, or even have a long shower." They're also glad that they bought what they needed for Isabella and stocked up on food and household essentials before she was born, because there's no time for that now.

Sarah and Steve have found that "life as we knew it has gone out of the window. We don't seem to achieve much, but we're incredibly busy."

Another father commented on how he saw his new role:

"Fatherhood is somewhat like being a team manager, not in a controlling or imposing way, but being prepared to stand slightly stage left and watch, with pride and love, as your children develop and your partner takes up the role of mother with confidence and brilliant instinctive timing." (Ian)

For younger dads, changes can be even greater. As well as becoming a father, many experience the stress of having to make the psychological transition from being a boy to becoming a man overnight.

"I should think it's turned me from a schoolchild into a man. I've grown up too quick, sort of overnight. From going out every night with the lads, to stopping in every night. But it doesn't really bother me. It's nice to know that someone depends on me. I've got a duty."

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