You’re going to be a dad
Congrats! You’re going to be a dad and your family is about to increase in size! Now, whether you were planning on starting a family or this came as a surprise, you’re going to be a dad and I couldn’t be happier for you! We are all happy for you! Becoming a father is one of the most beautiful, life-changing, emotionally altering things that can ever happen to a guy. It’s wonderful and whimsical and amazing. You’re part of an elite group of diaper changers, booboo kissers, and midnight bottle feeders. Welcome to the club.
Now that we got that out of the way, forget everything I just said and if you weren’t already, have a seat. Your life is no longer yours. Pack up the video games, say goodbye to your social life, your side of the bed and any thoughts of ever getting a solid nights sleep again.
First of all, keep in mind I don’t know your story or how you got to this moment but I do know one thing and that is that parenthood, fatherhood, though it may be a huge responsibility, is not something that I can teach you. It’s learned as you go and every experience is different. There are boat loads of books that can try and teach you the what and how of being a father. The truth is that every baby is unique. Every woman is different. Women each have a very different experience when it comes to growing a child. The one thing we do know is that the road ahead is a long one with many sharp turns and obstacles that will come up. I’m going to share what I found to be helpful.
1. Get ready to lose
some lots of sleep.
Yes, when the baby comes you’ll sleep less. We already knew that. What I’m talking about has to do with mom directly. Between morning sickness (which happens at all times of day), aching bones, being too hot/cold and eventually feeling your unborn child do backflips inside the womb, your wife is in for many a sleepless nights. Guess who’s going to be up with her when a lot of this is going on? Yep, you guessed it. The guy reading this right now.
2. Get to reading. Now.
Whether you’ve come to terms with it or not you two are in this together. By now she’s already made public the fourteen different baby/pregnancy related boards on Pinterest that’s she’s had hidden for the last three years and has read every expecting mother book and blog out there. It’s about time you do the same (minus the Pinterest thing). You’ll want to make sure you’re……on the same page (insert any other relevant dad joke). Education is key here guys. There is going to be a lot happening to her body over the next 9 months or so and it would be in your best interest to be aware of what’s going on. May I suggest you pick up a copy of The Dude’s Guide to Pregnancy? You can thank me later.
3. Shut up and listen.
Hormones are going to rage harder than those “scene kids” at a hardcore show. Emotions are high and she has little to no control over them. She’s going to need you to listen. Let her vent. Let her be frustrated. SIDE NOTE: arguments are NOT worth it. She’s going through enough mentally, physically and emotionally. So, just don’t. Most importantly, let her cry. Don’t be a hero and think you can fix everything because most times nothing is wrong and there is nothing for you to fix. I found this out the hard way and trust me, you don’t want to go and open your big mouth offering advice on how you are going to take care of it. There is no resolve. There is no answer. She just needs you to listen. So do yourself a favour, just smile and nod.
4. Her comfort comes first.
Whatever she needs, just do it. More pillows? You’d better get out to WalMart and grab a few. House too hot? (And it will be too hot. All of the time, even if it’s the dead of Winter…SMH). Maybe she doesn’t want to eat the food you just slaved over the stove (microwave) making for her. Rather than getting frustrated, put it in the fridge for later. She’ll most likely change her mind later on anyways. You’ll find that over time these small issues won’t matter anymore. Most of all, whatever she needs she gets. Repeat after me, “Is there anything else you need”? These 6 simple words will save you and your relationship a world of unneeded stress and headaches.
5. Cravings. They are real and you work for them now.
They are real and they come on strong. The intensity of said cravings will vary from woman to woman. You’ve heard the ever popular pickles and hard boiled eggs with mustard and peanut butter cravings and though, yes these items mixed together are a recipe for disaster can be the only thing she may want to eat for now. One thing they don’t tell you in the movies is that a lot of women have food aversions rather than cravings. Meaning, there is usually a list of things they will not eat as opposed to stuffing their faces with chocolate covered sardines. She may become a little picky. It’s okay. Throw it out and make something else. She’ll thank you. Or as I just said, put it in the fridge for later
6. Make time for doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds.
There will never be a time where you catch yourself saying, “I really regret missing work to see my unborn child moving around in my wife’s stomach”. On top of that (unless you are in the army or an astronaut) there is no reason why you shouldn’t accompany your partner to those visits (as many as you can anyway). Remember in point 2 when I said that education is key? Your OBGYN/Family Doctor/Midwife/Doula can provide you with all the information and sometimes more information than you need at the time. It’s also a great place to ask any questions that have kept you up at night and aids to calm any feelings of anxiety and or uncertainty.
Will there be more learnings along the way? Of course! Your story will be different than mine and you’ll take a little and leave a little of what I share. If you got anything from this post, the point would be this, It’s not about you anymore. It’s your job to make your partner feel as comfortable as possible in all areas. Have you ever tried growing a baby? It ain’t easy and she is going to need all the support she can get. Take initiative and clean the bathroom, fix her a cup of tea, pick her up some ice cream from DQ. Do whatever you need to do to ensure her that she has your full undivided support and love. It won’t be easy but the reward is oh so worth it.
I’d love to hear from you! What was it like for you when you found out you were going to be a parent? Leave a comment below and while you’re at it, you should subscribe to The Unfit Dad newsletter to make sure you never miss a post! Thanks for reading!
Until next time…
The Unfit Dad