It was a Sunday evening and we’d invited Joe and his wife round for dinner.

We were 10 weeks pregnant and nervous.

It’s one thing telling your family that you’re pregnant, but telling your friends is a different matter altogether. How would they react? After all, babies change everything, don’t they?

I’d met Joe in our first week at university, almost a decade earlier. We’d been good friends ever since. After graduating we both decided to stay in our university city and ended up sharing a house together. We go to the same church. We’ve shared countless rounds of golf, been on holiday together and even (I hesitate briefly at this point) performed side-by-side in a musical. It was Footloose, and we were playing the bad guys, but you know it’s a pretty serious bromance when you sing and dance together. In public.

One day Joe told me that he was getting married and asked me if I’d be an usher. A few months later I approached him with the same question. Our wives have since become near-inseparable, and their collaborations and schemes have been causing us trouble ever since.

When my wife and I decided to start a family we knew that it was a big decision. After all, babies change everything, don’t they? We like to plan things well in advance and so, upon finding out that we were pregnant, we each reverted to type. My wife immediately started mapping out the finer workings of maternity leave and scheduling parenting courses. I went for a long walk to chew over important questions like “how exactly are we going to afford this?“, “how much sleep can I bank in the next 8 months?” and “does a modern man actually have to change soiled nappies?

Clearly, however, there are many things that you cannot plan. At this stage, one of our biggest concerns was how our friends were going to react. We knew that having children was going to have a huge impact on every area of our lives – including, perhaps, our friendships. Given the way in which our lives had mirrored each other over the last decade we thought it would be sensible to let Joe and his wife have a bit of advance warning.

“Chief. Dinner, Sunday night, our place?”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Dan’s cooking skills develop over almost a decade.

An invite to dinner was now a no-brainer; recent culinary delights had (almost) banished memories of his infamous sweet’n’sour sausage pasta bake when we were at university.

What our friends didn’t know was that three days earlier we’d found out that Kez was 5 weeks pregnant.

In all honesty, this had come as a bit of a surprise. Kez and I had been married and renting in Exeter for nearly five years, we were in the process of buying a house, and while we wanted to have children we hadn’t anticipated doing so quite yet. We were midway through rehearsing another show with Exeter Musical Society. Kez was getting stuck in to a new dance class. I was looking forward to the summer and making the most of my golf membership.

So Dan’s text found its way to a friend still in a slight state of shock. I hadn’t reached the point of nervousness or trepidation about becoming a parent; instead I was overcome with plain disbelief. The simplicity of it was bizarre. The fact that I had been at work one day, come home, discovered Kez was pregnant, and then gone in to work the next morning like any other seemed almost inappropriate. Shouldn’t there have been some kind of fanfare or big announcement or flashing lights? After all, babies change everything, don’t they?

But at this point there was no big announcement, or even discussion with friends.

Until, after we’d accepted Dan’s invite, made the five-minute journey and polished off a roast dinner, our closest friends initiated a conversation that would change that, beginning with a revelation that would increase my sense of disbelief to an almost impossible level.

‘Guys, we’ve got something to tell you…’

Why Lads to Dads?

We each wanted to document this unique and daunting stage of our lives. Given the remarkable synchronicity with which we find ourselves drifting up this particular creek, each as paddle-less as the other – we thought that it might be good to do so together.

This is a blog for first-time dads, working dads, incompetent dads and expecting dads. We currently sit squarely in all four categories.

If you also find yourself in the same boat as us then we hope our musings are of some encouragement. Equally, if you’re further downstream – and haven’t been dashed to pieces on the rocks (or if you feel like you have!) – please feel free to drop us a comment and let us know what lies ahead. This promises to be quite a ride.