Tag Archives: babies

491. Becoming a Dad (with Andy & Ben) Part 1

A conversation and vocabulary lesson about childbirth and becoming a father, with Andy Johnson and Ben Butler from The London School of English. Listen to Andy and Ben talking about their experiences of becoming parents, how their babies were born and more. Vocabulary is explained in the second half of the episode. Vocabulary list available.

Small Donate Button

Introduction Transcript

This episode is all about becoming a Dad.

If you have heard the podcast recently you’ll know that my wife and I are expecting a child… (expecting a child to do what Luke…?) Well, expecting a child to be born… we’re having a baby, well she’s having a baby, as I said before, I will mainly be just standing there, hoping for the best.

“Expecting a child” is just the phrase we use for that – when you’re going to have a baby. We’re going to have a baby daughter in December. Thank you if you have sent me messages saying congratulations, that’s very nice of you.

I don’t plan to talk about children all the time on this podcast. Having a child is a big deal, but I don’t want to sound like a broken record by going on about it all the time, although it’s bound to come into the things I say because it will be major part of my life.

But I thought that it would be worth talking about it in some depth in at least one or two episodes because it is something that a lot of people experience (many of you will have had children, or will go on to have children and if not you then your friends or family – or at least it’s the sort of thing that people talk about a lot) and since this is happening to me I think talking about it could bring some authenticity to an episode, and that can really make it more interesting and therefore more engaging for you to listen to . Also there’s quite a lot of specific vocabulary that will come up that you can learn.

I did record a conversation with Amber nearly 4 years ago when she was pregnant with her son Hugo. She talked about what it was like for her to be pregnant and I did a follow-up episode with vocabulary of the subject too. You can find those two episodes in the episode archive – episodes 161 and 162. That was quite a long time ago, so let’s revisit the subject, and see if any of the same language comes up again.

161. She’s Having a Baby (with Amber Minogue)

162. Having Babies: Vocabulary / A Male Perspective

This time I thought I’d talk to Andy Johnson and Ben Butler about their experiences of becoming parents, to see if they can give me some general advice as I am just about to become a dad for the first time.

They’ve both had several children now, so they’re very experienced at the sort of thing I’m going to start going through in a matter of weeks.

So I’m going to do a lot of listening and learning in this episode, and you can join me too. Let’s see how much we can learn from this.

Watch out for some nice language relating to the whole subject of childbirth, parenting, and so on.

This episode is in two parts – that’s because I’ve decided to spend the second half of each episode explaining some of the vocabulary that comes up in the conversation.

What’s going to happen is that I’ll play you the first part of the conversation in a moment. Just try to follow it. I think it might be difficult for a lot of you. I think that there could be quite a lot of detail that you won’t catch. There are 3 of us, talking on skype, fairly quickly about quite a specific and detailed subject. So, remember, if you don’t understand it all – you should keep listening and hold on because I will be going through a lot of the language and clarifying it afterwards.

That should help you understand more and also turn this into more than just a conversation – it’ll become an English lesson and a chance to learn some natural English expressions. So, don’t worry if you don’t understand it all. I expect to catch a lot of that stuff in the second half.

There’s also a vocabulary list on the page for this episode and the next one.

Now, having children is wonderful and fantastic and all that – but it can also be quite scary – I mean, it’s fairly serious business, especially the moment of birth. I think we’re going to get into some fairly personal details in this conversation, and there will probably be a few descriptions of childbirth experiences which were quite emotional and even frightening at the time so please just bear that in mind if this is a sensitive topic for you for any reason.

Another thing I’m aware of is the fact that there are various cultural differences around childbirth and so the things you will hear about in this conversation might be different to how it is in your country. I’m quite curious to read your comments and to know if things are done at all differently where you are from.

Anyway, let’s now talk to Andy and Ben now and see what they can tell me about becoming a dad, and by the way – this conversation was recorded on Skype. I was at home in Paris and they were in a classroom at the London School of English, which is just next door to where I used to live in my flat in London. In fact, from some of the classrooms there it is possible to see my old flat through the windows. In fact, that’s the first thing that is mentioned in this conversation…

—————————- Part 1 ——————————–

Ok that’s the end of part 1 of the conversation!

What I’m going to do now is go through some of the language you just heard but may have missed. You can hear the rest of the conversation in part 2, which should be available soon.

Now, a lot of the language in this list for this episode is about childbirth and parenting – but not all of this language is about those things. There’s also plenty of vocabulary that you can use to talk about things in general, for example there are a few football analogies that Andy and Ben used as well.

Check out the page for this episode where you’ll see a the word list that I’m going through here. You can take those phrases, put them in your word lists, your flashcard apps, and so on.

Create your own word lists

By the way, it might be a good idea to create a word list of your own. It’s so easy with the internet today. When you find new words online, copy + paste them into a list (maybe on a spreadsheet, a word doc or a google doc or something). Add examples, definitions, pronunciation, even links to podcast episodes or whatever, and also any details that will help you remember the word. That’s so easy to do, right? Just copy + paste and bob’s your uncle. Use an online dictionary like Oxford Dictionary online to get examples and definitions. Then you can keep going back to your list, testing yourself and making sure that you remember these phrases and that you don’t just immediately forget them.

Just a tip there for how you can use word lists, notes or scripts on my website to help expand your active vocabulary with this podcast.

Vocabulary list

  • It’s exciting and slightly nerve-wracking
  • Football expressions (to describe the sequence in which Andy & Ben had kids – as if it was a football match)
    Ben, you went first with your baby and then Andy you came next.
    Andy: I equalised.
    It was 1 – 1.
    It was 1 – 0 (one – nil) and then Andy equalised.
    Then Ben took the lead again.
    Then more recently you drew level again.
    We’re both on a hat trick now but it’s more likely that the match has been abandoned now.
    It’s full time (no more kids!)
    Match abandonedinclement weather.
  • We’re going to call it quits at two.
  • The scans tell us that she’s healthy
  • How am I going to change a nappy?
  • Those kinds of things are easy in hindsight.
  • There was quite a lot of apprehension around the birth.
  • The midwife is talking about the birth in French.
  • Whether you want to have a caesarean section.
  • A natural birth – (in the UK this means a birth in the conventional sense, not a cesarean) but I use it to mean a birth involving no epidural (or pain reducing medication)
    So, here in France, when people say “a natural birth” they mean one with no pain killers.
    In the UK “a natural birth” just means “not a cesarean”.
  • So, will it be a c-section?
  • An epidural – a nerve blocker which goes into the spine
  • She had an epidural and she said it was a game changer
  • We conceived on Valentine’s Day
  • We had IVF so we know exactly when it happened
  • With the second one we were induced
  • My wife would certainly advocate having an epidural because it makes things so much easier
  • A chemical induced state
  • A numb state
  • My wife is pretty hardcore, she’s hard as nails
  • She’s got no qualms about that. She’s happy to just have the epidural.
  • We tried for 3 years and never fell pregnant again
  • In the end we went through IVF
  • They take the eggs out and inseminate them in a test tube and then they go back in
  • Talk about taking the fun out of it! (Talk about… = a way of emphasising something)
  • Our friends were plying us with champagne
  • Did your wives have morning sickness?
  • It’s the first trimester when they get sick
  • She was narcoleptic
  • Her body was generating new cells and it took it out of her
  • When is your due date?
  • You’re almost in the drop zone mate
  • By the time this has been published the sprog might have even arrived
  • Think about your social commitments and try and scale those back

— Part 2 Available Soon —

161. She’s Having a Baby (with Amber Minogue)

Baby on Board! 2aka “A Cup of Tea with Amber Minogue”

LISTENER: Who’s having a baby? Is it your girlfriend?! WOW!!! CONGRATU…
LUKE: Wait! It’s not my girlfriend. It’s my friend, Amber.
LISTENER: Ah, I see! Well, congratulations to Amber then!
LUKE: Yes, congratulations Amber!

Small Donate ButtonRight-click here to download this episode of the podcast.

Click here to help write a transcript of this episode using a Google Doc.

SO, my friend Amber is having a baby soon, and I thought it would be interesting to interview her for the podcast. I wanted to know; what is it really like to be a pregnant English girl, and what should we say or do when we meet a pregnant woman? Listen to the episode to find out the answers, and to hear plenty of vocabulary on the topic of pregnancy and having a baby. You’ll see notes and a vocabulary list below. Happy listening!


In this episode I’m going to talk to my friend Amber, who as well as being an interesting and lovely person, is also pregnant. In fact, she’s really pregnant because the baby is due in just a few weeks.

I’ve decided to interview Amber so that you can listen to her nice accent, but also so we can find out about what it’s really like to be a pregnant English girl, which I’m sure all of you have always wanted to know. I certainly have. The episode is going to go a bit like this:

First, we’ll get to know Amber a little bit. I’ll ask the usual questions like where she’s from and all that.

Then we’ll talk about being pregnant, and what that’s really like. Amber can tell us her experiences.

The episode is going to feature lots of vocabulary on the topic of having babies – not making babies (you’ll have to check the podcasts about slang, or swear words for that kind of fruity language) but the language of having a baby – being pregnant and giving birth. Hopefully we’ll keep it nice and clean and not too messy.

Lots of phrases and vocabulary will come up naturally in our conversation, but I have also made a list of vocabulary and expressions associated with pregnancy and having a baby.

So, finally we’ll go through that list of vocab and just explain it for you.

This could be a long episode, so I suggest you download it, & listen to it in stages, or just listen to it while you’re doing something else like travelling, doing the housework or just sitting on the sofa and staring into space. OK? So, let’s go!


Congratulations again!

How are you?

Where are you from?

What do you do?

How do we know each other?


How did it happen? Hahaha etc (actually that’s a question that kids ask sometimes – where do babies come from?)

I can hardly imagine what it’s like, as a man, but if I imagine pretty hard… I still can’t picture how it feels. I have no idea really. It’s probably different for each woman.

What’s it like for you? (physically, but also mentally too)

What about people’s reactions? Do people give you their seat on the train? Anything else?

Have you taken advantage of your pregnancy in any way?

What advantages have you experienced?

Have you had any cravings?

Any morning sickness?

Is it a boy or a girl?

What are you looking forward to?


Things you shouldn’t say or do…

Anything that makes her feel unattractive

“You look like you’re ready to burst!”

“Have you considered taking some exercise?”

Anything that makes her feel scared

“Get all the sleep you can now…” (because later you will get no sleep at all and it will be a nightmare)

“Enjoy ____ now while you can” (because afterwards you won’t be able to enjoy anything)

Questions about breastfeeding and nappies

Commenting on how much she ate – women are still women when they’re pregnant, and this is always a slightly offensive thing to talk about

“Oh wow, look at how much you ate! I guess you’re eating for 2 now…”

Anything that implies a mistake…

“Was that planned?”

Touching the woman’s belly – is this okay?

Things you should say or do when you meet a pregnant person

You look great

You’ll make a great mother (only if you know the person well)

This is going to be one lucky kid

It’s amazing news

Would you like to sit down? Please take my seat.

Let me get that for you.

Hey sit down, I’ll do that.

From the point of view of a man, meeting a pregnant woman

You’re supposed to say “congratulations” as soon as possible, but getting that wrong – misjudging when someone is pregnant or not – can be the worst social faux pas – so sometimes we’re a little bit ‘slow on the uptake’.

Similarly, giving your seat can be a little tricky. It’s the worst thing when you offer your seat to someone who turns out not to be pregnant. It should be obvious though – it really should. That might explain why guys don’t always jump up to let you sit down.

Some women in London actually wear a badge that says “baby on board” to make it completely clear, although I understand why some women might not want to wear one of them.

Not touching the woman’s belly. Women often get very tactile and touchy-feely when meeting another pregnant woman. Men are less likely to do it- perhaps because we’ve learned that you shouldn’t just dive in and put your hands on a woman without getting her okay first. Anyway, we’re probably not that interested in a baby unless it’s ours (and even then it’s no guarantee for some men – wow, some men are right bastards)

From the point of view of a man who’s girlfriend/wife is pregnant

I imagine it’s a complex feeling of pride & joy, protectiveness towards the woman, and total panic.

There’s some freaking out to be done. This is a very big deal because a whole new responsibility has arrived, and we want to do it properly. So, it’s a change. We feel we are the providers, and so we want to make sure everything is provided for – money, security and so on. Men will often get a bit serious and look for more job security.

Sometimes it takes a while for the news to sink in.

Women immediately face the reality of pregnancy (although some deny it). For men, it takes more time – for example, it doesn’t sink in until they hear the heartbeat or see the sonogram of the baby, or even until birth in some cases!

In the end though, although it is frightening, it is also great because you get to see your child grow through all these important stages in their life (first words, first steps etc) and you get to re-live your childhood a little bit too.


Transcript [Unfinished, work in progress]

EPISODE 161 [2:14] – [6.20]

[BEGINS FROM 00:01:43]

and in the end you will be totally clued up about all of the English that you need to know about this subject, which, I think you will agree, is a brilliant thing.

So finally, we will go through this list and that will be that.

This could be quite a long episode so, I would suggest that you download it. Listen to it in stages or listen to it while doing something else, like: travelling, doing housework or just sitting on a sofa and staring into space.

Let’s go!

Luke – Hello, Amber!

Amber – Hello, Luke!

Luke – Congratulations, again.

Amber – Thank you.

Luke – I don’t know if it is appropriate for me to say “Congratulation, again” at this stage.

Amber – You can.

Luke – Really?

Amber – Yep.

Luke – Is there a time limit on, you know, when you can say “congratulations” to a pregnant person?

Amber – I don’t think there is a time, really. I think, there is an appropriate number of congratulations.

Luke – …and do you know what that number is?

Amber – I think, one or two congratulations is fair enough and then, it is obvious you have forgotten. And then it just becomes rude.

Luke – I think, actually, the first time that I realised that you were pregnant, I didn’t say congratulations early enough. Did you realise? Did you notice that? You probably did.

Amber – Em, noooooooo.

Luke – No? Because, em, we will come to this in a minute. This is the subject knowing when to say “Congratulations” to someone who is pregnant. Anyway, so, it’s very nice to be here. I mean in your flat. You have given me a cup of tea, which is lovely. Thank you for that.

Amber – You’re welcome.

Luke – Now, first of all, so, how many months pregnant are you now, in fact?

Amber – I’m eight and half months pregnant.

Luke – Okay, alright. So, it is nearly due I suppose.

Amber – Very soon.

Luke – Okay, we will come to the pregnancy in a minute, but first of all, let’s talk about you. Amber? Yeah. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, in fact?

Amber – I’m from London.

Luke – Okay, which part?

Amber – North-West London. Edgware

Luke – Oh, yeah. I know it. Well I know Edgware Road.

Amber – It’s not the same. It’s much further away.

Luke – Alright.

Amber – zone six

Luke – That’s quite far.

Amber – Technically London. It’s hanging on. Clinging, to the edge of London

Luke – Is there a Tube station for Edgware

Amber – Edgware

Luke – Okay.

Amber – It’s at the end of the Northern line.

Luke – I see. Okay.

Amber – at the very end.

Luke – Alright. There’s Edgware Road, and then there’s Edgware, and I expect people get them mixed up.

Amber – They do, but I don’t mind, because Edgware Road is actually, quite a lot nicer than Edgware

Luke – It’s quite posh, isn’t? Edgware Road

Amber – Yeah.

Luke – So, Edgware Road at the top of the Northern line.

Amber – Yeah.

Luke – … and you are living here in Paris now, how long have you been living here?

Amber – I’ve lived here 12 years.

Luke – Okay, alright. So,  you speak good French, I imagine?