Nothing can compare you for having your first child; you go from not having a care in the world to actually having responsibilities.
I have to admit I wasn't prepared for the change. My life as I knew it was over. Life before having Elizabeth was easy; me and Mel got married in the June of 2012 after knowing each other for a little over a year. Before we were married we lived with her mum and step-dad. It wasn't ideal trying to get to know your fiancée with her mum around. We eventually moved in to our own cosy little fisherman's cottage the April before we got married and life was brilliant. We could just be sitting watching TV, look at each other and be like "we're bored, should we go the pub?" Our friends could call and we could just get our coats and leave without thinking about anything else.
After we got married we started to think about having kids, I wasn't sure at first, life was so easy right now and I was enjoying being married, but having no responsibilities at all. All I had to do was work, pay bills and I could do what I wanted, when I wanted. I wasn't sure if I wanted a baby ruining all our fun. After a heart-to-heart with Mel we made a decision that we were not trying for a baby. We had just stopped trying not to have a baby, so if it was meant to be, it would be. Apparently it was meant to be!
'We' got pregnant very quickly and nine months months later, we had a baby girl. From then on, everything changed. My life was over. Things would never be the same again.
Let me explain a little bit of what I mean when I say my life was 'over'. I am not talking about my life being ruined or even the PND I developed when Elizabeth was born. You can read more about that in my own blog (linked below),
My life as I knew it, was over. Life wasn't just about me anymore, I had a little person to think about. I couldn't just get up, throw some clothes on, grab my keys and walk out the door. When I wanted to go out, I didn't have to think about if I could, I just went out.
After having kids going out is not as easy. If I want a night out, I have to check I have a babysitter and if I don't then, I'm staying in. Of course there is going out with the kids, but that can fell like a military operation. There's the buggy to get ready, the changing bag, nappies, wipes, bottles, water, snacks, enough clothes to last a month, just in case the weather changes or we get dirty. We'd leave the house with enough things to survive a nuclear winter and when we do finally get out, we have the fun of trying to load the car, forget about having a nice car, no sports car for you, it's all about the big boot and room for a car seats. If you haven't got the stress of having a car, you have to go through the ordeal of public transport; will there be enough room for you and buggy on bus?
You will see all your friends without kids out in the pub, whilst you are watching Frozen for the 10,000th time. And that's another thing, forget about what you're watching on TV, it's kids shows for you now, even with them in bed, you will find yourself watching Peppa Pig whilst trying to sneak a cheeky beer at home.
Let's talk about your love life, that's not happening for a while either! Just as you get in the mood and think maybe we can have a cheeky cuddle, your darling child will suddenly wake up as if they sense what you're getting up to and doesn't want you having any fun.
I find myself saying the same thing to parents-to-be, gone are the days when you can just run out the door. As I said, your life is over! Maybe the title is a little harsh, but it is true, your life is over, but I don't mean that in a negative way. Maybe I should rephrase it, your old life is over.
You can no longer be selfish, the world no longer revolves around you. You have responsibilities now, your new baby comes first and your life is never be the same again. From now on you're a family; you, your kids and partner and you will do things as a family.
Life may be a little more complicated and it may take weeks of planning just to go the shops, so yes, your life as it was before is over, but your new life is only just beginning and for all its stress, a time will come when you look back on your old life and for a minute, you miss how easy it was for a little while, but then your remember you have something that you didn't have back then, the love and admiration you can only get from your kids.
So if you are expecting a child, or have just had a baby, remember this, your life will change. Your old life may be over, you may even miss your old life or be struggling to adjust to your new role, but things get easier, the things that feel hard or alien now soon become second nature and nothing can beat the thrill of being a parent.
We thank Tony (aka The PND Daddy) for his honesty and openness. He talks about all those things that many new dads will feel, but few will admit.
You can read more from Tony on his brilliant website over at thepnddaddyblog.wordpress.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, where he's @ThePNDdaddy. Tony also hosts a Twitter chat for dads who live with with PND for support and advice. It takes place every Monday from 7pm-8pm; use the hashtag #PNDDaddies