Whether this is a first, second, or third baby, the dad's reaction is the same! After the happy dance, the mind races with what to do next. Should you buy the baseball glove, ballet slippers or open a 529 savings plan? Do you open the laptop and Google how to put the crib together like a pro?
Expectant dads sell themselves short on their roles during pregnancy and birth. They understand that their loving wife or partner carries the baby, but they’re not sure what they should do or where they fit in. Dads-to-be are just as in love with the great news as everyone else, but they want to remain cool-headed and handle everything with ease.
The men were suited up, but on the sidelines when it came to their individual roles. They were the walk-ons who showed up at the baby shower to carry the gifts home. Mommy and Grandma handled diaper duty and feedings. Television shows from the 50s, 60s and 70s had dads coming home, putting on slippers and reading until dinner. There was little interaction for dads other than bringing home the baby.
This evolution has come a long way from the relaxing recliner days. There has been an amazing shift in responsibilities. Dads are now the quarterbacks and coaches who tackle anything that comes their way. Expectant fathers are there for that first prenatal visit, sonogram or ultrasound, and are partners in this amazing journey.
The Game Plan
In this case, the ninth-month plan requires study and preparation. You don’t want to go into a big game without knowing what to expect, and that certainly holds true for the labor and delivery room! Be sure to formulate a birth plan with your partner. As an advocate for all things baby, you’ve got the playbook ready.
- Attend all prenatal classes with your partner.
- Attend childbirth classes and join a father/baby group.
- Ask questions.
- Be supportive and loving.
Face the Fears
Your fears and feelings are just as important as your partner’s and you need to share your thoughts on your hopes for your little one. Take the time to educate yourself on the birthing process by watching videos of vaginal and C-section births. You don’t want to be the guy who passes out and is picked up from the delivery room floor.
Create a Playbook
Sign up for free apps or emails from babycenter.com that will give you daily tips on how your baby is developing and what to expect that first year. Write a letter to your baby outlining your hopes and dreams for his or her future.
Congratulations on becoming a dad! This is a touchdown for Life!
Sources: parents.com, babycenter.com