On December 28, 2013 by Kunle Barker

One of the strange things about pregnancy is that nine months really doesn’t seem like nine months. I know it sounds silly but bear with me. As I try to negotiate my way through this pregnancy, the arrival of Kidney Bean has snuck up on me, but how? I think it’s because my journey has been divided into three stages, similar to trimesters but not exactly the same, and that’s why I’ve been caught off guard. Allow me to elaborate.

Stage 1 – ‘Subterfuge’ – Months 1 to 3

At this stage you do everything you can to conceal the pregnancy. You lie, you deceive and avoid any talk of pregnancy. Due to this, it almost felt like we weren’t pregnant for those first three months.


Stage 2 – ‘2nd Trimester jubilation’ – Months 3 to 5

This is a wonderful stage and I loved it, we talked about the baby, about what it would be like to have another little person in the house and in our lives. We couldn’t wait to meet Kidney Bean and we were both really excited. The problem was, it all seemed to be so far off at this stage, it was almost like the nine-month countdown to birth started at this point, but it hadn’t.


Stage 3 – ‘You’re going to need a bigger boat’ – Months 5 to birth

If you have ever seen the film Jaws you may remember the scene in which Chief Brody is happily chumming the waters off the coast of Long Island before suddenly coming face to face with Jaws (I’m not sure that was actually meant to be the shark’s name but for the purpose of this blog lets call the shark Jaws). Immediately, Chief Brody is simultaneously confronted by both the fear and enormity of the task ahead of him. Stunned, he proclaims to the skipper, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” This sums up Stage 3 perfectly, all of a sudden we begin to have thoughts like the house isn’t big enough, we haven’t saved enough money, we don’t earn enough money, the car’s not big enough, we haven’t bought anything, the nursery’s not finished, etc., etc., etc.



I realised that I was in Stage 3 of our pregnancy when Mummy Bean announced, “I’m due in four months and we don’t have anything for the baby.” I wasn’t really prepared for this as I was still knee deep in 2nd trimester jubilation so we sat down to discuss the things we needed to purchase for the arrival of Kidney Bean. I can only think of three things we needed to buy; however, before I can say anything Mummy Bean starts the list with ‘nappies’. I’m mad as that was one of the three things I knew, so I quickly try to gain the upper hand and blurt out, “We also need a cot, and a pushchair.” I’m feeling quite pleased as at least I’ve got two items on the list. “Actually, we don’t need a cot yet,” replies Mummy Bean.  “What? Are you sure? Where’s the baby going to sleep?” I ask. “In a Moses basket,” explains Mummy Bean. “A what?” I ask. “A Moses basket, it’s what the baby sleeps in, you really don’t know what it is?” asks Mummy Bean in a slightly sarcastic tone. “Well I can guess, it’s a basket, and Moses slept in it?” I reply, having upped the level of sarcasm. “Moses? What, Edwin Moses the runner?” asks Mummy Bean having turned up the sarcasm to eleven. “What?” I ask in a confused tone, mainly because I have no idea how she knows who Edwin Moses is, and for a moment I think that perhaps the Moses basket is to baby products what the George Foreman grill is to kitchenware? I then remember that the week before I had made Mummy Bean watch a Sky Sports Greats show about Edwin Moses and that she is joking. “It’s named after Moses from the Bible,’ I state knowledgeably. Mummy Bean simply smiles and says, “Yes, darling, that’s right, Moses from the Bible.” It’s clear that I have lost the sarcasm battle. A pushchair, surely we need a pushchair, but my hopes are mercilessly dashed as Mummy Bean announces that we don’t need a pushchair, we need a travel system. This piece of information feels like a knockout blow as I’m beginning to feel that I know nothing about baby products. So there is only one thing for it, we are going to have to go to John Lewis.





Over the years, the department store and London institution John Lewis has helped me on several occasions. When I was a teenager and going through an embarrassing ‘New Romantic’ phase I headed for John Lewis to purchase a mauve scarf. The next summer when I was in the middle of my ‘A-ha’ phase. I headed to John Lewis to get five metres of leather shoelace to wrap around my wrist, just like Morten Harket. I guess I should count myself lucky that in 1989 Mark Zuckerberg was only five years old; if not for this good fortune there would have been online evidence of these fashion faux pas. Years later when I bought my first flat and needed a sofa, again it was John Lewis I headed for. John Lewis has always been the place I go to for advice, for guidance, even when I couldn’t afford to shop there I would still go just to browse, kind of like going to a trusted uncle when you are not quite sure what to do. Mummy Bean can’t make our appointment and at first I feel a little strange attending on my own but I can think of no other way of ‘getting up to speed’ on baby products. So I ‘man up’ and rush out of the door so that I’m not late for my Nursery Consultation.

Turns out Uncle John was unavailable that day so instead Aunty Susan guided me through the nursery consultation and the myriad of products on display. I have to say it was brilliant, Susan was fantastic and really knew what she was talking about. As a man, a lot of the issues and subject matters were completely alien to me and the nursery consultation provided the perfect learning curve. Take breasts, for example. Now I’m not saying I’m a breast expert but I know one when I see one, even still colostrum, massaging breast pumps, and breast feeding bras were all new to me. By the end of the consultation, I felt knowledgeable about most baby products, I even knew what a travel system was. I had been in good hands and now had some idea of the items I needed to purchase in preparation for the birth of Kidney Bean.

Recently, I’ve begun to realise that dealing with pregnancy is as much about managing worry as it is about having a pair of ‘safe hands’ for when Kidney Bean comes shooting out of Mummy Bean in the birthing pool, I now possess a list of the items we may want to buy in preparation. We may not buy all of the items on our list, and we may change some of the products, but that’s not really the point. The point is now I have a list, and lists make me feel safe, plus now that means I can make a spreadsheet and I love spreadsheets. Mummy Bean has always found this side of my personality amusing and as I sit at the computer Mummy Bean kisses me on the head and says, “That’s right, you have fun making your spreadsheet, my little Rain Man.” I know she is taking the piss out of me, but I don’t care, as I said, I love spreadsheets.

My Spreadsheet

Kit list for the arrival of Kidney Bean

Kit list for the arrival of Kidney Bean

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