The year my mother was born, fish and chips cost 2p, the Biro pen was the height of technology, Neville Chamberlain was in charge of the U.K. and Preston North End were the winners of the FA Cup. A great deal has changed over the years. Yet some things remain the same today as they were back then. Giving birth is a difficult and dangerous affair that tests most people to their limits, and somehow the superhuman strength of putting up with the pressure and strain of giving birth then looking after a screaming demanding little bundle of ‘joy’ afterwards bonds mother and child for life. What the 3pregnantdads did was a tiny drop in the ocean compared with what mums do the world over, every single day. But it was done with the right intention; the simple joy of honouring loved ones. I hope we did Anna Jarvis proud. Happy mother’s day. MUM.

I’m tired, so bloody tired. Can’t really be bothered to write much to be honest. Laying down on the sofa, cushioned up and counting away the hours. It’s been an experience, but now it’s about time for it to be over, and for that, I can’t tell you how grateful I am. One more night and then the day that all this has been heading towards ~ Mother’s day. Whoop, whoop. The joy. It’s going to be odd to take this thing off, but it is going to be great to get up and walk around without looking like a clown. No more people pointing and no more explaining what we are up to. Mother’s day this year feels more like Christmas day did when I was a kid. Now time for a glass of wine and Saturday night TV.

What did we have to lose? We’ve lost sleep, we’ve lost inhibitions,  and maybe lost a little credibility along the way too. Although I gained 15kg’s of artificial weight at the beginning of this I’ve also lost a little of my own body weight along the way. Which is nice. So we started this journey about a month ago. Going into it pretty much blindfolded, after an over enthusiastic chat in a bar, I decided to get the suits and seal the deal. It seems like an age ago now. What have we gained by doing this? Other than the aforementioned 15kg’s I believe we have gained an unfathomable amount of knowledge. Not just what it’s like to carry this bulk and weight around, but the effect this has on everyday life. We started a debate. And discovered some of the attitudes that the general public have to people who try something different. We certainly put ourselves in the firing line during this process. Most of it however has been friendly fire. We’ve gained a different perspective on our own lives, and this perspective viewed in the right way can only be a good thing. But for me personally, I found a (slightly odd) way of expressing to my mum and wife just how much I admire and love them. Of course I could have just told them, of course I could have just made them a cup of tea, or bought a big bunch flowers with a nice loving note attached. I didn’t. Instead I did this, and I’m very happy I did. Every last moaning moment of it.

Apparently a good curry and sex is all I need to help shift Bump. Sounds good to me, the curry should be a doddle, and erm, well yes, it’s coming off in a few days anyways. And as it’s coming off in a few days it seems like a great time to say thanks for all the comments, and encouragement along the way. And yes, it looks like we will be doing some kind of pregnancy simulator. I have to say I’m not very happy about it. What was a last few days of glee and joy at the idea of taking this thing off has now become filled with dread. I’m really not very good with pain. And yes I know it’s not half as traumatic as the real thing and blah, blah, blah. But I’m still not happy :(

I’m just on my way from Barcelona to London (it’s retail week), traveling with Bump is a bit of a pain. I have a busy couple of days ahead of me. But this is not a week for complaining; this is a week for reflection and for squeezing whatever fun I can find out of wearing this bloody Bump. I’m travelling with Jason and Jonny so there is sure to be a few laughs along the way. This is one of the upsides of wearing Bump, the three of us have spent a great deal more time in each others company this month. Not just working and sorting out the chapters for the new books but socially. Mainly because there is safety in numbers, when three men walk into a restaurant wearing the suits, it becomes a uniform, and something of a talking piece for the rest of the patrons. Walk in alone and you are a weirdo to be pointed at and sniggered at behind menus. Sometimes it’s been fun, sometimes it’s been less than fun and sometimes it’s been dreadful, but we have been through it together, and helped each other along the way. It’s been great seeing the extended families at the weekends too, and I’m sure we will make much more time for this in the future. But for right now we can see the end of the tunnel and we are running, charging, (Jason is giggling) towards it.

 

This goes out to my mum, Pat Hanson who has given everything into raising me, my brother Peter and my sister Ann. My earliest memory of my mother is seeing her with wellington boots on, covered in mud. She had just finished a shift picking potatoes at a farm about 2 miles from our home. Tough work, even tougher when you consider that my mum was holding down another two jobs to help keep our family’s head above water.

When I was around the age of 13 my mother permanently damaged her back while lifting boxes in a factory. About a year after this her own mother started to suffer with Alzheimer’s disease, grandma and granddad moved in and lived with us for years, mum helped nurse her with love and affection everyday. Sadly her mother died after a few years, and a few years after this granddad became ill. Mum gave herself over to looking after granddad. She did this with the grace and love that only a dedicated daughter can. When I reached the age of about 27 my granddad died of cancer. Mum was crushed.

All the children had flown the nest, which just left mum and dad (who is also pretty awesome) at home. This is where most people would begin to get old and tired, God knows she was entitled to. But not my mum, my mum started to bloom. She got busy. Taking up a role on the local board of education, helping the local government win elections, and becoming a major player in the village community centre. You will find my mum writing for the press on gardening tips, or sewing clothes at the school for children’s plays or holding a raffle for the elderly, my mum is almost an octogenarian herself. Mum and Dad have made a marriage that is an example to all of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My mum cares about people, she keeps herself busy looking out for others, she has principles, honesty, and the grit to stick to them. If I could be half the person my mum is I would be pretty proud of myself. Mum you are a marvel and I love you so much.

Well we’ve reached the third trimester of wearing our third trimester pregnancy suit. We’ve moaned, groaned and ached our way through this experience so far. It continues to be an interesting journey. We’re learning quite a bit, mostly about the people around us, and about other people’s attitudes to pregnancy. Our partners and families continue to be great and very supportive. But it has created quite a stir, and gathered much wider interest than anything we had ever anticipated. Yesterday we were in TIME magazine, Sunday morning we were interviewed by the BBC World Service.

It’s great that we’ve got people talking. It’s great that we’ve struck a note somewhere along the way. It’s slightly surprising to see the same attitudes popping up again and again. Quite a few men are somehow threatened by the whole idea. Any man that is threatened by this is basically an idiot. I wont even go into the hows and whys.

Quite a few women see this as a challenge, and immediately go on the defensive.

‘What about the hormones, and the leaking from every orifice?’ Yikes.

Well, we’re not really pregnant. We are not challenging anyone nor are we in any way attempting to demean what you wonderful people do. You are awesome.

Any Suggestion that because we have put on this pregnancy suit we now understand what it’s like to be pregnant is similar to us putting on a pair of platform shoes and saying we now understand what it’s like to be part of the Amazonian Panará tribe.

We really can’t experience every aspect of being pregnant, and quite frankly I’m glad we can’t. We are simply sampling a smidgeon of the discomfort that the body mass and the weight of pregnancy brings with it. We know a great deal more in week three than we did the week before we started this.

But what strikes me as really odd, given all the interviews that we’ve conducted over the last three weeks, no one has asked about my mother, the sole reason that I donned Bump in the first place. This whole thing is to celebrate mums and for me in particular to celebrate my mum. So tomorrows post will be dedicated to my mum, she really is quite an exceptional human being. Most mums are.

Well, I’ve been doing a little research and here are the top cravings – ice (cools you down and is great if you have anaemia), chocolate (of course), spicy foods (hot foods make you sweat which cools the body off – nice), pickles (some like the crunch some like the vinegar – I like the crunch), potato chips or as I call them crisps (loaded with salt), fruit (for a happy health baby), lemon (yes I know, it’s fruit but worth pointing out that lemon especially shocks your taste buds back into life), ice cream (yum), soda (or fizzy pop – love it), coffee (always), sugary sweets (nice), beans and greens (if I must), red meat (I can do that), juice (easy), salt (on its own, yuk), vinegar (like pickles aren’t enough, I’m going to try unfiltered apple cider vinegar) then there’s the old faithful milk, yogurt and cheese, but not necessarily in that order.

But it’s the odd combos where it gets interesting, dunking pickles into peanut butter or putting olives into ice cream? I’m up for that, again suggestions please.

Then apparently there is a whole deeper darker level, craving chalk, dirt and many other non-food items. I do however, draw the line at putting wood in my mouth.

“Lunch” someone said in the office, “nope, I’ve brought in sandwiches” was my reply. The truth is I don’t want to see people; I don’t want to face the open pointing and the unveiled laughter. I avoid people I don’t know, as much as I can. I’m tired of explaining why I have boobs and why I’m dressed like I’m an extra in a homemade sadomasochistic movie. I’m doing it in honour of my wife and mum seems to translate into, I’m a bit of an attention-seeking dick that likes to look silly. It really couldn’t be further from the truth, well the bit about attention seeking anyways. I don’t particularly like social gatherings, can’t stand crowded places and I must have spoken to my neighbors about twice in my life. But I’ve never before felt quite so reclusive. I have become a Steve Hanson plus Bump shaped prison of my own making. Saying that, I am enjoying it a little too, I’m catching up on films, reading books that have sat on my shelves for years but sadly I’ve not been contemplating my navel. I don’t have one anymore. I have my Bump.

So there I was cooking tea, cutting up some chicken to have in a little pasta, lovely. The buzzer on our door goes, and as is my Pregnant dad want these days, I shouted “Kate, someone’s at the door” I’m sure I heard her sigh as she passed the kitchen. I continued with the cutting of the chicken, opening the fridge door then forgetting what I wanted. I have become incredibly forgetful while wearing Bump. Cheese, that’s what I needed cheese. So I get the cheese and start chopping some fresh basil. Back to the fridge, nope no idea what I wanted in there, I stand there so long bemused that the fridge starts beeping. Close the fridge door. Kate has been gone a while. So I go to investigate, Kate is standing near the front door talking to an old lady. The old lady sees me, lets out some primal shriek and turns to run. She bangs her face on the doorframe and collapses in a heap. I just stood there stunned, while Kate helped the poor woman up. Someone from the street has stopped to help, and it’s only when they looked up and whimpered that I realized. I’m a grown man standing at the top of the stairs with a straightjacket pregnancy suit on, holding a big carving knife. It turns out the old lady was fine, and wanted to get away as soon as possible. On a happy note the pasta was lovely.