Pregnancy is a unique experience that can be both exciting and scary at the same time. Many dads feel lost and have difficulty gauging if they’re doing the right thing. For expecting fathers who are going through this stage, here are seven practical pregnancy tips that can help you navigate this journey.
Tip #1: You Are Normal
For many, pregnancy is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, event of their lives. So, it’s understandable if you’re freaking out, feeling anxious, stressed, or even scared. Precisely because fatherhood is a big deal, you should remember that the rollercoaster of emotions you’re feeling is normal. In fact, your partner is also going through a whole bunch of feelings that they might not be sure of how to deal with themselves.
This isn’t to say that you should feel more pressured or stressed, but expecting fathers should realize that all these emotions are normal and are nothing to be alarmed about.
Tip #2: Be Empathetic
Empathy is all about putting yourself in another person’s shoes and looking at a situation from their perspective. For expecting fathers, empathy is an important thing to put into practice as this will help you not just deal with the pregnancy itself but other relationships as well. Whether it’s with your partner, child, family, or even your co-workers, exercising empathy can lead to fewer arguments and having a better understanding of the situation.
Practice empathetic responses by imagining yourself going through a certain situation. For instance, your partner might be experiencing morning sickness and she complains to you about how awful she’s feeling. Instead of the typical response of telling her that she’ll be okay, be empathetic by saying something like “I’m so sorry that you’re going through this.” Through this, you can make your partner feel supported and understood.
Tip #3: You Are In This Together
Being empathetic helps drive this idea that you and your partner are in this pregnancy together. Neither of you should feel lonely but should, instead, support each other through this unique experience.
More often than not, people tend to ask the mother about the pregnancy, which is why expecting fathers might feel left out or ignored. If you can shift your mindset towards thinking that you and your partner are in this pregnancy together, it becomes more of a shared experience that you’ll get to enjoy even more.
Tip #4: Get Involved
Once you realize that you and your partner are in this pregnancy together, it’s time to get involved. Why is this important for expecting fathers? Here are three reasons:
- The first one is obvious: you should get involved because it’s your child.
- Second, you’ll deepen the pregnancy experience for yourself.
- Third, your partner will likely appreciate your involvement as she won’t feel as though she’s going through the process alone.
In most cases, expecting fathers who seem to be uninvolved in the pregnancy are not doing this consciously. Many soon-to-be dads might just need more time to process what’s going on as they don’t share the same bond the mother has with the developing baby. Others may not admit it, but they might simply be scared and confused, and they think that getting involved might worsen these feelings.
However, getting involved might actually help dads feel more calm, excited, and better overall about the baby and the pregnancy process. Some ways dads can get involved are by going to doctor’s visits or birthing classes. Make the effort to support your partner and, in the end, you’ll be glad that you did.
Tip #5: Worry About the Emotional Stuff, Not the Physical
A lot of expecting fathers tend to hone in on the physical, tangible aspects of fatherhood, such as wanting to know how to properly hold a baby or change their diapers. While these are fairly important skills, they’re much easier to learn and manage compared to dealing with the emotional and mental aspects of pregnancy and fatherhood in general.
As a dad-to-be, try to also focus on learning patience, anger management, stress reduction, and other similar concepts. While knowledge of the physical stuff is important, being able to pay attention to your emotional well-being and that of your child’s will have a more positive effect in the long run.
Tip #6: Buy Minimum Necessities
Both moms and dads tend to be mesmerized by lots of wonderful baby products and items. Whether these are from gift registries or suggestions from friends and family, it’s important to remember that not all the baby products you see are necessary to keep your baby healthy and happy.
While there’s nothing wrong with buying baby products for convenience when you can afford them, you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy all this when they’re not really needed. Sound machines, bottle warmers, even toys — you can do without these items or postpone the purchase for much later.
If there are two very crucial things that you should prioritize, it’s saving money and stocking up on diapers.
Tip #7: Improve Your Financial Situation
Aside from buying only necessities, seriously consider improving your financial situation. While saving money is great, keep in mind that babies are expensive and the first year can cost as much as $13,000. That isn’t counting the delivery itself, which typically runs between $5,000 and $10,000.
Think about whether you can get a raise, a better paying job, work extra hours, or a side hustle. Anything you can do to bring in extra income, do it before the baby arrives. Once it does, you will have other obligations and time constraints that will make this more difficult.
Some dads might feel stuck in their current situation, but use this baby as a motivator to improve your financial situation so you can reduce the stress levels that will accompany having a child.
Enjoy the Ride
Pregnancy and fatherhood might seem scary, stressful, and confusing at first, but it’s an experience that can rival no other. If you keep a good head above your shoulders and work together with your spouse, you’ll be able to enjoy fatherhood for the amazing journey that it is.
What are your thoughts on the topic?