Tanel was thrilled to become a brand new dad. And he took notes about what worked and what didn’t during the pregnancy. He shares the wisdom from his experience.
Becoming a new dad?! Congratulations!
When everyone expects the baby-news to bring nothing but happiness, some men find the prospect of becoming a dad worrying rather than joyful.
When we were expecting our firstborn, I was a happy camper, most of the time. However as we were approaching the conclusion of her pregnancy, it finally dawned on me how much my life will change and I started to doubt if I’m ready for it.
Keep in mind, however, the pregnancy you and your partner share may unfold nothing like my experience described here. With that being said, here are the 5 things that helped me remain calm and confident and support my wife throughout this fast-and-furious ride into parenthood.
- Take responsibility and ownership
Although I was nervous myself, I felt that this is the time to turn into the leader of our pack. I wanted to be prepared for what’s to come.
Putting in the extra effort helped me become more confident about the whole process and she was happy because she felt that I cared about her and the baby.
Go to prenatal classes.
On top of reading books and blogs, it was also time to return to classroom. Many couples choose to attend prenatal classes to gather information and lessen their anxiety. For a minimal commitment of time and money you can learn all the ins and outs of pregnancy and baby-rearing.
Accompany her to doctor’s appointments.
Men and doctors just don’t mix. Guess what, champ? Times they are a’changin’. Pregnancy brought lots of appointments. You may find yourself thinking: “What does it have to do with me?” until you realize, you’re expected to be at these doctor’s appointments. In fact the doctor’s visits weren’t the burden I’ve heard other soon-to-be fathers complain about. I found them beneficial to me as well: It insured her that we’re in it together. It helped me stay informed about what’s going on, how’s my wife’s and Junior’s health and stay on top of the most important benchmarks.
- Step away every now and then
Tempers and patience can be short in a pregnant household and it may not take much for emotions to run high. In this case you need to find a way to blow off some steam. However, this needs to be communicated well with the wife, so she wouldn’t feel that you just don’t care.
Go out alone.
With “guy’s night out” I got a chance to forget the daily issues and reconnect with my homeboys (some of them had accused me of abandoning them anyways).
Her granting me a hall pass for one night to pursue single-sex social activities was very refreshing. I didn’t forget to return her the favor and send her out with the girls every now and then as well.
Do something active. Few things relieve tension better than a good sweat and endorphin release.
It doesn’t really matter what the activity is, as long as it’s getting you moving. Go for a walk or a hike or a run, take bike ride or go for a swim, hit the gym for a workout or go play some ball.
If I found myself over-thinking, best antidote was to immerse myself into something that requires my full attention (e.g. rock climbing, team sports).
- Spend time together
Being a new parent myself, I can confirm that your bun won’t be in the oven forever. Before you know it, you’ll be deep in diaper duty pulling all-nighters. Take advantage of the time together, because soon it will be unreal fantasy.
Go on a date-night.
Put the pregnancy madness on pause for a while, forget about your to-do lists and reserve one night in the not-too-distant future for an outing in which the two of you (or a small group of friends) can focus on enjoying one another’s company in a relaxed setting to keep your flame burning.
Change in environment can do wonders to your stress levels and provide you with the three important R’s in pregnancy – rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. So get in one last rendezvous while you can and for a few nights focus on bringing sexy back.
Remember that the earlier into pregnancy you take your weekend off, the easier it is for your partner. As the pregnancy progresses she will have some travel-restrictions and she may also be low on energy.
- Let’s talk about sex, baby
This tends to be one of the main concerns for new dads-to-be so it was for me as well.
As long as her pregnancy is proceeding normally, you can have sex as often as you like — that means as often as she likes. I had hard time getting going knowing that “we’re not alone” in the beginning.
After overcoming this initial roadblock, I actually found pregnancy quite attractive. I understand that every pregnancy is different, but it worked wonders with my wife’s libido. Who can say “no” to that?!
Then again sex during pregnancy may be the last thing on her mind, especially when she’s dealing with nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Whatever she says, goes.
With that being said, there are many issues that can arise during pregnancy. You should always check with her doctor/midwife to find out what is safe for you. Once you two get the “green light,” it’s important for you to take a step back. This is not ballroom dancing where men are expected to lead every move.
- Develop a sense of humor
We are given a sense of humor for a purpose. Humor helps us adapt, learn, grow and survive. Taking ourselves and our situations too seriously puts limits to what we can become.
During pregnancy, humor is everywhere. It all depends on your perspective.
Let me add a disclaimer here, being humorous doesn’t’ mean making fun of another person. Don’t belittle your partner or her efforts.
Instead, laugh together at situations that unite two of you. Laugh about your facial reaction when you first got to know about your pending fatherhood. Laugh about the time when you got her the wrong kind of pads. Laugh about the fact that you have gained more weight during the pregnancy than she has.
As her pregnancy progressed, our bedroom became a stage for quite an unexpected comedy. You will have plenty of surprises waiting for you!
If you let it, the stress and anxiety that come with pending parenthood can divide expectant parents at the time they should be drawing closer. It’s important to be conscious about your actions and savor the last months of childlessness.
Even though expecting your first-born can be very nerve-racking, remind yourself that it’s only the beginning of an action-packed journey!
Now that this period is behind us, I find pregnancy to be very fulfilling experience and one that took my relationship with my wife to another level.
Read more Tanel on www.BrandNewFather.com .
Photo: Flickr/Zoloft Lawyer