Pre-baby jitters and nervous nesting, DIDO style

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Sarah Long arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met her Mr Miner soon after. They're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) to country NSW. Sarah came out to Oz as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

"I need you to support my need to nest," I told Mr Miner when he was last home.

He gave me a withering look as I explained why I wanted him to clean the garage, which is his domain and a place I seldom ever go. "Otherwise I’ll just go down there and do it myself."

He shook his head and walked away, but when he’d gone to work and I went down there (to get something, not check up on him… honest!) it was spotless.

He knows I have become defiant about the things I am not supposed to do while pregnant, and I think he’s trying to stop any possible disasters.

In fairness to him, my defiance has tended to be to my detriment. Incidents have included getting stuck under the bed and falling off a kitchen chair (both in the same weekend), breaking several items of crockery and glassware and crashing my car. I am putting most of these down to simple errors in spatial awareness, that could happen to anyone really, pregnant or not.

You see, I have always thought it is really important to be independent in a relationship (if that isn't a contradiction). For FIFO/DIDO couples, where you have to be apart for so much of the time, it seems pretty much essential.

But during pregnancy, this has been more of a challenge. In February he was away for a month, which usually doesn't trouble me too much. This time though, it felt like an eternity. And as I have grown bigger and more tired, it has become harder to do things on my own.

Obviously for the most part you have to get on with it. The idea of not doing any heavy lifting, or getting on a chair to reach things down from a cupboard for a month at a time is a bit ridiculous – I mean I wasn't moving pianos or anything! But yes I did get stuck under the bed trying to get to some wrapping paper, when I probably could've just waited or asked for help.

The trouble is I am scared of losing my independence in a bigger sense. And by holding on to the little things I feel more in control.

OK, so some things are physically impossible now. I can't paint my toenails anymore, or pick things up from the floor, or get out of a chair with any sense of grace or elegance and I don't think I'll be doing any fly-in day stripteases anytime soon. But what about going to work, paying my own way, and buying my own things? What about doing what I want, when I want?

I have had a job and some kind of disposable income for the best part of 16 years – half my life! We have always split rent, bills, groceries and everything equally. With the exception of the odd date treat, regardless of who earns more, everything has been split down the middle and that's the way I like it.

But now I am on maternity leave, anxious about what happens next. Will I really become "a totally different Sarah", as someone told me when I left work? Will I lose my independence? Will I rely on Mr Miner for everything?

As I lie awake worrying about birth, babies and bills, I remember another important point about being in a FIFO/DIDO relationship: it's all about teamwork and making it work for yourselves, as a team, together.

Our roles may be about to change, but I realise that he will be relying on me to do a pretty important job for our team, too. And all good team members know how important it is to occasionally ask for help.

Our Miner's Girl also has her own website: check out her blog here at

And here's lots more from Sarah on Mining Family Matters:

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