More Tips For Expectant Fathers From My Second Time Around:
- Survive the first trimester.
If your wife’s morning sickness is anything like my wife’s was (twice), the first trimester could be one of the most trying times of your marriage. She needs you now more than ever – to hold her head over the toilet, to prepare snacks that she can graze on at various points in the day, to rub her upset stomach and massage her aching back. She mostly needs you for the mental and emotional support required of someone who is living through all the trials and tribulations of human life while also growing another one. Be patient, be thoughtful and be proactive.
- Thrive in the second trimester.
Did you go on that babymoon yet? Now is the time. Your wife is feeling better, your baby isn’t baby-sized yet and you’re basically back to being a married couple for a few months. Now is also a good time to take care of other odds and ends that your wife won’t feel up to in the third trimester. Shop for baby furniture. Figure out which room will be the nursery and redecorate it. Get out of the house. Live the life that you won’t know that you can’t once the baby arrives. (Did you follow that?)
- Wait out the third trimester.
There’s a podcast about pregnancy called The Longest Shortest Time, and that title aptly summarizes the third trimester. (Word to the wise: Don’t listen to the podcast unless you are ready to hear mostly fear-inspiring or tear-jerking stories about pregnancy.) By the time you reach the third trimester, you’re probably starting to get impatient for the baby to arrive. If you’re not, your wife definitely is…and that’s probably reason enough for you to want it, too. This is where the nesting hits full force, and suddenly your house is cleaner than you ever thought it could be and your Netflix watchlist is nearly empty. Explore a new film genre, binge on an unknown TV series or find some favorite board games to help pass the time. All you can do is wait. I recommend talking to your wife’s belly and coaxing the baby to hit the due date (or maybe come a few days early).
- Share your feelings.
Make the pregnancy a shared experience with your wife. You both have feelings…share them with each other. The prospect of fatherhood – like any life-changing milestone – can play with your emotions even when you’re not the one whose hormones are supposed to be out of whack. This is a big moment in the life of your family and it needs to be discussed. Practical questions about childcare and existential questions like “Am I ready to be a dad?” should not be tabled or ignored. If the lines of communication remain open, the pregnancy can bring you closer together as you tackle fears, hopes, dreams and details as a couple.
The prospect of fatherhood – like any life-changing milestone – can play with your emotions even when you’re not the one whose hormones are supposed to be out of whack.
- Be involved.
I often joke that whenever we go to the obstetrician’s office, I turn into the Invisible Man. The nurses all seem to say hello to my wife and ask her questions or give her instructions. People rarely seem to look my way, much less act like I’m at all involved in the pregnancy. Rather than take it personally, I do my best to get involved. I ask questions. I crack jokes. I marvel at the ability to hear my baby’s heartbeat each month. Outside of the doctor’s office, it’s important to keep the same level of involvement. Most of these tips involve doing something and being an active part of the pregnancy. This kid has half of your DNA, so don’t take a back seat to the process, preparations and planning.
Congratulations! You’ve read through 10 items in this post, so I’m pretty sure going to make a great dad. It’s not always going to be easy – especially the first few months and whenever your baby hits a sleep regression (heard about that yet?) – but you’re embarking on the wildest, most rewarding ride of your life. Be confident in your ability to roll with the punches and take up the mantle of fatherhood with grace. Your baby can’t wait to meet you, dad!
Originally published on Dad Has A Blog.
Matt Paolelli is the lucky husband of the woman of his dreams and father to a 1.5-year-old daughter and newborn son. When he’s not chasing a toddler around or rocking a baby to sleep, he can be found rooting for his beloved Chicago Cubs, writing blog posts, or losing to his wife at board games. You can read more from Matt over at Dad Has A Blog, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.