I was talking with a friend the other day who is a new father. They just had their baby boy. He says Jason, I’m not really enjoying this. Fatherhood is not what I expected. I’m not bonding with him, my wife is breastfeeding so I can’t help there, and he doesn’t really react when I hold him or I am near him. I assured him….these are common issues. Many new fathers experience struggles right after the birth of their child. In this episode, we are going to talk about some of the common struggles so that you can start feeling good and begin enjoying fatherhood.
If I’m honest…When I had my first child, I didn’t bond with him right away. I didn’t feel that connection with him that was clear my wife did have. and I recall feeling a little lost about it. I was a little upset. As a new father, you are excited about fatherhood but then when reality hits and the baby is born….and this little thing isn’t reacting to you yet, you can’t feed it…there isn’t much feedback that you get. It may not be very rewarding. Not to mention you are getting less sleep, you are spending a lot more money, and you are less intimate with your wife. You might think these were the things I wanted to sign up for or really knew what I was getting myself into. So understand that feelings of frustration that you may be having are totally normal. You may have expectations that just aren’t being met, this is totally normal too.
First, you might have to change your expectations, but take a deep breath and know that what you are experiencing is very common. What I can tell you is that this doesn’t last very long. Your baby begins to smile and eventually laughs…and this will touch your heart. Your baby will react to you and know that you are his or her dad. Fatherhood isn’t easy. There are tons of challenges. But as you stick with it, providing affection, baths, helping your wife, etc. it will all come together. You might still have less sleep but you will be ok. You begin to understand how important your fatherhood role is. You begin to make a connection with your baby. you begin to appreciate that as a new father, you are going to be learning new things every day. We have some crazy stuff going on in this world right now. Kids need their fathers, and they need them badly. It’s so important for us to step up and be there.