Wednesday, 9 February 2011

What App Doc?

When I first found out I was pregnant, I did what any right-thinking person would do on being confronted with the prospect of a momentous life-changing experience: I looked to see if there was an app about it.

There are many, of course. There are fertility calendars and pregnancy trackers and kick counters and even "iPregnancy Tests" ("The MOST fun you can have pretending to see if you're pregnant! Complete with new 'Baby-Daddy Generator'!").

I downloaded what looked like one of the most popular apps, Baby Bump. I'm pretty sure it was developed in the USA, judging by the relentless cheerfulness and lack of advice about what to do if your local hospital is infested with mice.

I'm finding it quite hard to absorb the information on offer. This is mainly due to the fact the topic headlines make me want to tear off chunks of my own flesh. Here are some samples:

Abreasted Development

Paint Those Pretty Piggies Safely

To Shop, or Not to Shop?

Don't Hem and Haw About Haemorrhoids

I Smell Scrapbooking Party!

But perhaps the most odious bits of advice are those prefaced with "Just for Dad". Like this one:

"Get Your Shut-Eye"

"We always hear about how important it is for the expectant mother to get plenty of rest during pregnancy." Yes we do. There is a reason for this.

"But it's also important for the father-to-be to rest up as the big day approaches." After all, he is the one who will be physically enduring the long, exhausting and torturous process of giving birth for potentially days on end. Hang on wait.

Here are some more wise words:

"Make Room for Daddy"

"During pregnancy, it's usually the expectant mother who gets the bulk of the attention. But don't feel left out, your part in this new life is just as important." I don't think I need to say anything about this.

"Don't hesitate to proclaim to the important people in your life how proud you are. This should remind them that there's more to making a baby than just a mommy." Yes. Let's not forget YOUR contribution to creating new life - half an hour of thrusting is entirely equivalent to nine months of physical hardships and hormonal turmoil followed by 36 hours of agony.

"As for passersby, there's no sense in speaking up to someone you'll probably never see again, so let those moments be mommy's time to shine." That's right Dad, let your wife bang on as much as she likes to total strangers - but when it comes to friends and family, make sure you steal that limelight.

Then there's this:

"Dads Need Pampering, Too"

I'm not even going to dignify this one with a full quote, suffice to say it features the words "focus on yourself" and "massage".

Or how about this one?

"A Baby Shower... For Dad?"

As above. Key points: "golf", "sports bar", "cigars and gifts".

In the interests of fairness I should point out the majority of advice in the app is directed at "mommy". It fits into two categories, which can be summarised as "Things To Avoid" and "Things Which Are Allowed".

"Things To Avoid" include raw meat, cooked meat, cats, dogs, animals in general, eating too much, not eating enough, running, cleaning, painting, sleeping on your back, sleeping on your right, hot baths, beef, buffets, sugar, sunlight and anything made of plastic. Plus many more.

"Things Which Are Allowed" include meditating, using a seatbelt and "pregnancy dancing". And not much else.

So much for pregnancy apps. Might just stick with Bejeweled Blitz.


  1. Sorry you've not found much useful. Just take up Peggle instead. The remaining months will pass swiftly then.

    When the time comes, you can while away the hours waiting for full dilation with a contraction timer app. I helped my mate to give birth last summer, we used this one:

    Hope it's all going well, Jane

  2. Angry Birds is ideal. I got RSI from holding my iPhone so much playing it in the WEEKS the baby refused to arrive. I now play it whilst waiting for her to doze off for naps.

    I used the Baby Timer app for a while to log feeds, naps, poopies etc. But then we found a notebook next to the changing table and another by the high chair was much easier.

  3. Oh, and just leave a webpage about which cheeses you can eat open in your iPhone browser. Then you can check it quickly when you're going "ooooh, that allowed?" at the supermarket.

  4. I'm sorry to post a serious answer, but I've finding myself thinking about this post a lot since I read it, and I think you're making a mistake.

    Becoming a father is a marvelous thing, and all the better for not having the weight, water retention, backache and pain of pregnancy, followed by labour.

    But there are also ways in which it is hard. You lose a large part of your wife as she, quite rightly, prepares to be focused on a life that is dependent on her. You are excited and frightened. You wonder if you'll be able to help, be a good father, know what to do.

    All of this says that if the focus of everyone around is on the mother during pregnancy, it is very easy to disengage. To pretend it isn't happening. To choose the route that says "motherhood is all about the mother, isn't it? Do I even have a role?"

    I understand your frustration at this app. But I really think that accepting that fatherhood is a big change is important.

    Otherwise, you run the risk of teaching a father that it is not his place to be involved., and that might continue after the birth.

  5. @LJ and Mags: Thanks for your recommendations, will try them out!

    @Nicholas: Thanks for your comment. I know deep down what a big deal becoming a Dad is and how important a role it is. That app just seemed a bit full-on :)

    I spose I'm lucky to be I'm married to someone who wants to be involved - who reads the books and attends the scans and glares at me if I so much as glance at a piece of blue cheese. I'll try not to take it for granted!