I REMEMBER the day we found out my wife Abby was expecting not one but two babies.
My first thought was: all those nappies! Now they’re here, I absolutely love being a dad to six-month-old Isabelle and Harriette.
Fatherhood so far has been amazing, but being a parent is tough.
Both girls suffered colic for the first few months. Harriette in particular would cry for hours on end, which unsettled Isabelle too.
I’ve taken on some challenges in my career, but dealing with two crying babies is one of the hardest things I’ve faced.
It’s so frustrating – you want to comfort your baby, and it’s difficult to accept that it’s not always possible, no matter what you do.
I decided early on that I wanted to be there for everything, from getting their room ready to changing nappies.
These moments only happen once and you have to be there to experience them. But being a parent means sacrificing some things.
I can’t remember the last time I sat in front of the TV. Now, as soon as the girls are in bed, Abby and I go straight to bed too.
We have to sleep when they do.
Juggling a full-time training schedule with spending time with the girls is tricky, and I underestimated how tiring it would be.
Women share their worries with each other, but men don’t tend to open up.
I wish I had more mates who were dads and could have warned me about the broken nights and early mornings!
Us dads need to pull together to get the type of support network mums have.
It would have helped me to deal with some of the unforeseen niggles of fatherhood – for one thing it comes as a bit of a shock not to be the centre of your wife’s attention any more!
So when my mates start having babies, I’ll definitely sit them down and have a good old ‘dad to dad-to-be’ chat.
The girls have become calmer since we discovered Harriette has a problem digesting the lactose in milk, which explained the red, angry face, the screaming and the clenched fists.
We started adding a remedy to her milk and her cute smile soon came back. I also invented a rugby-style hug where I hold her under my arm, which worked a treat.
Thankfully, the colic is behind us now and the twins are growing fast. I can’t wait for the day when they can watch me play rugby.
I want them to be as proud of me as I am of them.
Ben is supporting Colief Infant Drops’ Problem Shared Campaign, in association with Cry-sis. Visit www.problemshared.info.
Photography: Matt Spour, Getty