Whether slowly or suddenly, suddenly everything changes.
There are exciting times and there are moments that change everything. With a lot of anticipation, questions and doubts in their stomachs, fathers-to-be also start an unknown journey. This is rarely considered. That's why we asked Christoph to give us insight into his feelings and views as a father-to-be.
How are you today? What does a typical day look like at Christoph - the one before the Baby Edition?
I am very well. My wife Saskia and I have just arrived in the 9th month of our pregnancy. We sleep a lot at the moment and generally take it easy. Since we are at home a lot due to Corona, a certain morning routine has been established in which I bring us tea in bed in the morning and then we do yoga. From my home office, I work as a strategy consultant 38 hours a week. Thanks to my company's flexitime arrangements, I can take many breaks during which Saskia and I can go for a walk or I can cook for us.
What has changed for you since pregnancy?
Suddenly you pay a lot of attention to what is being cooked. We don't eat raw milk cheese, the meat has to be well done and no alcohol. For me, it is natural to make these cuts in my diet, as Saskia did the same when I decided to eat vegan for a few years. I only treat myself to Parmesan now and again, otherwise I eat what Saskia is allowed to eat
When did you realize you were pregnant?
In fact, the moment came faster than expected. Of course, we also paid close attention to whether anything would change. Saskia had the feeling that she was pregnant and Tada, the early test, then confirmed it.
Also, since we got married in 2020 and just moved into the house where Saskia grew up, everyone around us was waiting for the next step. It quickly became clear to us that the right moment had come for us to bring a child into the world. I'm 39 years old, before that I worked as a musician, then as a consultant and I've generally traveled a lot. Saskia is 29 years old and works as a psychotherapist. It was important to her to complete her state exam before she became pregnant. In the spring of 2020, we seriously talked for the first time about the fact that we both wanted a baby. In 2021 we stopped taking the pill and finally decided to have a Corona Lockdown Baby (laughs). It's actually funny how you spend your whole life trying not to get pregnant until you realize that there are actually only a few fertile days in a woman's hormonal cycle when she can get pregnant.
What were your first thoughts when you found out you were pregnant?
After the first positive pregnancy test, I was still calm, because so much can still happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Also, through the experience of friends who have suffered miscarriages in the first few weeks of their pregnancy, I have approached the situation more calmly. It was only when we received confirmation from our gynecologist a few weeks later that the whole thing became real for me, where “becoming a father” had previously been an abstract thought. I grew up in a large family and I always knew I wanted to be a father. But it was Saskia who first opened up this dimension for me and made my dream of becoming a father a reality. I still remember the first time I heard my child's heartbeat. I was very touched. Then time stands still for a few seconds before the thought carousel starts.
What does your personal thought carousel look like?
You suddenly become a role model and you are assigned a task that is not limited in time. I have spoken to many friends who are already fathers about my feelings, fears and expectations. Especially about how the ego suddenly changes. The supply mode comes to the fore and his own well-being in the background. I was actually considering changing my job again, but such factual things suddenly become completely unimportant. His own personal realization comes second. The dimension of time is becoming more important and the desire to spend as much time as possible with your child comes first.
When did you announce your pregnancy?
I'm quite an impatient person. It was very difficult for me to keep my joy to myself and not announce the pregnancy to everyone right away. Actually, you wait until the 12th week. We told our parents beforehand. At dinner with our friends, I quickly drank Saskia's glass of sparkling wine for a while before we could tell you about it in the 13th week.
Preparing for your own child can take place on different levels. Organizational, emotional, rational? How did you prepare for this?
I prepared myself emotionally for the birth and the time afterwards through the experiences of my friends. I'm from Freiburg and, as is well known, they don't mince words, especially when it comes to the subject of childbirth. I follow thought leaders on Twitter and have read a lot of blog posts in preparation.
Birth preparation courses are a great organizational, but also emotional preparation, since possible experiences (emergency caesarean section and painkillers for the postpartum period) that could come up are discussed there. We also spent a lot of time setting up the children's room. Because of my job, it is very important for me to have a financial plan so that we know how we will live in the next few years, what we can afford and how much we can save. I've also set up an e-trade account for my daughter by occasionally buying stocks. In preparation for a child you think a lot, for one thing about your own emotional stability. This topic is important to me, because as a musician I experienced quite unstable times when you couldn't plan in the long term because you didn't know what was coming up in the next week. I attach great importance to treating myself well so that I can be a kind of rock in the surf for my family, because you no longer live for yourself, but for another person. Since I want to be a role model for my daughter, I also think a lot about how I deal with other people. How forgiving are you with people and how appreciative are you towards others? I reflect my own behavior more. Don't drive too fast on the road. Thought constructs, such as how I would react when my daughter takes drugs, arise all by themselves in everyday life.
I am very happy to be able to raise a daughter as I feel it is woman's time. And the age for growing men to find their self worth without falling into the old role models has become more difficult.
How do you personally see the role as a father?
The role as a father is one thing, but it is much more important to me to reflect on the role in the different phases of a father. In the first few months you will (hopefully) develop a sense of what the baby needs. It gets more exciting when the child grows up and makes demands on a father. The reflection of what kind of father I want to be plays a key role here. Do I want to take an active role and play with her and be available to her? What am I going to do with the child? What do I want to teach him? For example, I am already looking forward to going baby swimming with my daughter and playing an active role in her development. In the future, I can well imagine being home alone with my daughter while Saskia builds up her practice.
What options are there for expectant fathers to support their partners before and after the birth?
Before the birth: being there, doing the housework, going shopping and cooking. Being emotionally stable and holding back in your own moods to take the emotional pressure out of the relationship as being pregnant is incredibly stressful. Give back massages, because the lower back in particular often hurts a lot.
How did your relationship with your partner change during pregnancy?
We treat each other more carefully. We see ourselves much more as a unit and don't let ourselves be stressed about how parents want to help plan things. We cuddle more and generally pay more attention to the needs of our partner.
You still have 6 weeks to go before you give birth. What would you like to experience/enjoy/do as a couple beforehand?
We would love to eat out more or go to a spa. We would have liked to have done some city trips before the pregnancy, for example to Rome. But unfortunately this is canceled due to Corona.
Thank you Christoph for taking us along with you on your preparation for the journey as a new dad. We wish you and Saskia all the best!