Becoming a new dad is a moment that’s full of incredible joy and excitement coupled with numerous fatherhood fears and worries. Let’s face it: Fatherhood is scary. Dads everywhere have these same fears and we are here to help answer your questions and support your efforts to be worthy of the greatest trophy of all, a “world’s greatest dad” mug to decorate your desk at work.
1. What is the process of labor and delivery?
Labor and Delivery will be like nothing you’ve ever been through, and you’re not even the one giving birth to a child! Be ready to support the mother of your child through this monumental effort and be the rock that she needs should anything not go as planned. There are numerous resources available to you to help prepare for this. 81% of fathers have shared that it was rewarding for them to be present during the labor and delivery process. WebMD provides an excellent checklist for fathers to go through as they prepare for this moment in their family’s life.
2. Fear of health issues for the baby before and after pregnancy
Every dad out there has their worries and fears for the health of their child. There is a wealth of reputable resources out there, but most importantly, express your concerns to your wife and her doctor. They will be your best resources for knowing how to take care of your child during and after pregnancy
3. Will I ever be able to provide financially?
Many new and soon-to-be dads ask this and similar questions. “Will I be able to even afford to have a baby?”. The answer is “Yes!” Make providing for your new baby and wife a priority in your life and you will find ways to make things work. There are even federal, state, and county government programs in place to help new families that are struggling financially.
4. Will I ever get to sleep again?
Sleep will be hard to come by shortly. But that period comes to an end! Just remember that you and your wife are on the same team. If she is breastfeeding you will need to help where possible to allow her as much rest as she can get, knowing that she will be doing all the feeding. If your baby is drinking formula, this is your time to shine. Take some of the night shifts so she can get some rest.
5. The effects of pregnancy and your new baby on your sex life
You will need to defer decisions on this subject to your baby’s mother and her doctors here. Some couples continue to have sex safely through much of pregnancy, but some women may not be interested in the slightest. They are tired, uncomfortable, and often sex will be the last thing on their mind.
After your baby is born, the doctor typically recommends 6 weeks before resuming any sexual activity. However, defer to your wife and her doctor again here. She will be tired from late nights, breastfeeding, and recovering from childbirth. Open communication is key to a healthy continuation of your sexual relationship with her.
6. How can I keep my child safe?
In a 2015 survey on dad’s fears, keeping their child safe made up 20% of all responses. Worries range from fear of holding your baby without dropping them to fear of not being able to provide adequate supervision to keep them safe. Work with your wife to find a balance between allowing the baby to explore the world and being safe. Babies require care but are often more resilient than you think. If you’re ever worried, bring it up at the baby’s next doctor’s appointment and ask what you can do to help keep baby safe.
7. How will I be able to maintain a work-life balance?
This will look different for every family. In the case of some new dads, they find that having a new baby forces them to find a better work-life balance than they had previously. Communicate with your wife to figure out what your goals are for spending time together as a family.
8. Will everything we do center around the kids?
For a time, yes. As the baby grows, they will become more independent. This is often difficult for those who are not parents to understand, so you will need to communicate that you haven’t become a recluse, you just have a tiny human that needs your constant care and devotion right now. You’ll get back out there having fun with friends and family and you will find ways to bring baby along for the ride once they are ready to go out.
9. Will I lose my coolness?
When you become a dad, you will embody a new kind of cool. You will want to share who you are with your kids and teach them to do the things you love. Most of us dads need to do some growing up, but you don’t have to change who you are. Share that with your kids and let them learn how cool their dad was and still is.
Becoming a new dad doesn’t have to be scary. Work to overcome those fatherhood fears that you have. Give it your all and your efforts to be the best dad you can be will make all the difference for your wife and new baby.