Top 5 Worries of Expectant DadsKatlyn Joy |24, August 2012
So much of pregnancy focuses on the expectant mother and unborn child that the dad-to-be often is overlooked. True he doesn't deal with swollen feet, weird cravings or getting kicked in the ribs from the inside. But his life is changing too.
So what do expectant dads worry about and how is it different than it is for their pregnant wives?
1. How will I provide for my growing family?
This is the number one concern. The costs associated with labor and delivery, buying baby gear and not knowing how maternity leave will go and whether he will need to be the sole wage earner for any length of time adds to the uncertainty and worry. He must shoulder this responsibility without worrying his spouse or so he may think.
To ease his concerns, take time to sit down and have a financial check up. Look over your bills and discuss your money picture. Have a conversation about what you both consider your priorities with taking leave from work. Will he get some paid time off to help, will you stay home for only 12 weeks or for the first year? How will you stretch your income to cover your new bills and budget?
Just talking about these concerns and making plans on how you realistically can deal with your finances will ease some of the concern for dads.
2. Will I be a good dad?
This worry may be more or less for the expectant father depending on his temperament, his family background and his exposure to babies and kids in general. Those who grew up in solid big families and have changed their share of diapers or rocked babies to sleep, whether they were siblings or nephews or nieces, will understandably have fewer anxieties about parenting.
Men who may not have experienced a happy childhood or grown up with an example of a good father may not feel so confident about how they will fill the role now that it's their turn.
Wives can give their husbands support from the start by never talking down to them about parenting. Instead of making jokes about his lack of knowledge about diapers or baby development can point out the qualities he already has that will enable him to be a good dad. After all, most of the traits that make him a good mate will also lead to him being a good father.
Once the baby arrives, don't whoosh in and fix everything he does wrong or point out mistakes and undermine his parenting confidence. Let him find his way to parent and respect your differences in raising your baby.
3. Will the baby and my wife be OK?
This worry begins nearly as soon as the pregnancy test turns positive. He will worry about every test, every ache, every cramp along with you. However, since he probably won't be at every doctor appointment and let's be honest, will not read every book or article you leave out for him, he won't get the reassurance that you have that everything is normal.
To ease this anxiety, try to schedule your doctor visits for times he can come with you especially for big ones like any sonograms. If he cannot go with you, then be sure to share the physician's words of encouragement or his explanation of why everything is normal.
Don't leave him in the dark on any unexpected symptoms or unscheduled tests or exams. And just because he doesn't say he's worried sick doesn't mean he isn't. Include him all that is going on with the pregnancy.
4. How will labor go?
Some guys have stronger stomachs than others, and for some men passing out when things get messy is a true concern. Other expectant dads may weather the blood and bodily fluids with ease, but are terrified they will be left to deliver a baby in the car or at home. Still others worry they will be out of town or somehow miss the big moment.
To relieve some labor day worries and keep the stress level down as the big day approaches, have a plan. Let him map out the route to the hospital and if it helps to do some dry runs, then indulge him that. You might be glad he came up with that alternate route when there is an accident blocking your usual way when your water breaks.
Also, pack your labor and delivery bags for the hospital together so he knows what you're packing and why. Go to a birthing class together and get a hospital tour. Prepare together for the birth and you'll both know what to expect.
5. How will a new baby change your relationship?
Expectant fathers wonder how they will fit into the new routine of family life. Even now before the baby has even arrived, he is pushed out of the picture quite often. He may feel forgotten or perhaps neglected at times. And once the baby is born, there will be so many more demands on your time.
Some men may wonder if they will see Mommy you the same as they saw you pre-Mommy. Especially if they see the whole labor and delivery up close and personal. Of course, most do recover, as most babies don't end up as only children. But this may be a concern he is reluctant to voice to you.
The concerns about your relationship changing are definitely realistic ones. Things will inevitably change. However, making time together as man and woman a priority and talking about your changing roles will go a long way to ease the adjustment.
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