Back in January, following the government's proposals to extend paternity leave, we dared to imagine what the world would be like if men could get pregnant. Would it harm their careers? Lessen the pay gap between men and women? Improve everybody's work/life balance? To investigate the idea even further, we launched a search for an expectant father to become our first ever male columnist. Stuart Royall, a 33-year-old copywriter from Brixton, London, will write a fortnightly column to document his wife Seonaid's pregnancy (she's currently at 19 weeks), sharing his thoughts on everything from scans to breast feeding to antenatal classes. Read Stuart's columns to date below...
We're Having a Baby
"It scarcely seems real now, but at the time that little blue line on the shop-bought pregnancy test was a medical impossibility of biblical proportions."
Boy or Girl?
"Is having a baby so boring you have to spice it up with a surprise ending? Is there a danger we might lose interest because we already know what happens?"
The Not-So-Magical Scan
"Everyone we’d spoken to had said the 20-week scan was going to be an amazing experience. It was going to be awesome. It was going to be magical.
It was going to be no such thing."
"We’re on our way to the seaside town of Maldon – a chance for my wife to catch up with old friends and for me to show off my blossoming parenting skills."
Men and Breastfeeding
"Men can breastfeed. I promise you I’m not making this up. “Breast is best,” they all say. Where they stand on moobs though is anyone’s guess."
Life, Death and Disney
"Nothing makes you feel older more suddenly than expecting a child. One day you’re a hip, young thing and the next day you’re thinking about life insurance, fretting about knife crime and using embarrassing expressions like ‘hip, young thing.’"
"Today is ‘Labour Day’, a seven-hour class run by Guy’s & St Thomas’ hospital about the joys of giving birth or ‘labouring’ as the midwife insists on calling it, which I suppose is a more accurate reflection of the effort that will evidently be involved. I’ve never seen so many pregnant women in one place before."
Queasy Does It
"I am becoming increasingly nervous about my ability to keep it together on the big day. I don’t exactly have a reputation for fainting – but I don’t have a reputation for staying conscious during childbirth yet either, so we’re entering uncharted waters here."
The Baby Toothbrush
"We bought a baby toothbrush. Or rather, we got given one for free with our two grown-up versions. That’s not so crazy. Quite prudent, many would say, in these troubled economic times. Except just thinking about it now is making me feel a bit sweaty. How can something so cute, so small, so periwinkle-blue be so intimidating? That tiny toothbrush has come to represent all my fears and anxieties about parenthood."
Reasons To Be Cheerful
"No matter what the activity, and no matter how pathetic you are at it, simply stick a 'Dad' at the front and suddenly your ineptitude is altogether more sweet and endearing."
Time’s Up, Shorty
"People keep telling us we’ll know your name when we see you, but since most newborns look like a shrivelled Winston Churchill I’m not sure that’s a good idea."
It Was A Good Day
"The head is out. I can see our baby. It has dark hair. That’s all I can really say because it’s still underwater and well, because it’s a baby; they all look the same, don’t they?"