Monday, March 3, 2014

For Mommas and Daddies!

At the time of conception you are in the starring role, from the time your partner sees those little blue lines you have been cast as a supporting actor.  Your job essentially for the next 9 months and on is to be support for your partner and baby.  Through the pregnancy and delivery it is crucial for your partner to know she can count on you for whatever she needs.  You will come to find out that what she needs may be outrageous,  and at times impossible but these are the joys of pregnancy.

For us women we have the normal fears and anxiety that come with being pregnant and delivering a baby.  We forget that it is equally as terrifying for you daddies.  I know now, after talking to my husband after the birth, about all the anxiety and fear he had as well, but never wanted to talk about because, well...if he did I would have ripped his head off.   I wanted to write about this for moms and dads.  I want all you expecting moms to understand that your partner is just as scared, nervous, and excited as you are.  It can be difficult to communicate about it because of all the discomfort, nerves and anxiety you may be having.  My husband never wanted to stress me out more or worry me by talking to me about how he was feeling.  I do wish he had, but I can understand now why he didn’t.  I was a bundle of nerves, super uncomfortable, sick, and he didn’t want me to worry about him on top of everything else.  As for you daddy-to-bes, it is okay not to be “the manly man” all the time.  Sharing how you are feeling, and trust me you will have A BUNCH of feelings, is totally fine.  You don’t need to have it together 100% of the time.  It is so important to talk these things out and communicate to each other how you are feeling.
Not all men will feel the same emotions upon the arrival of the baby.  I can only speak from my own experience with my husband.  Some fears he had were: 
Will I be able to support and provide for my family financially?  Will I be able to support her emotionally during her pregnancy, delivery, and entering motherhood?  Will I be a good support during delivery?
So many expecting dads have financial concerns.  Speaking from my own situation, no matter how comfortable we are, my husband is always worried about the finances and if there will be enough.  Also, with needing to work more to have more income to compensate for my lack of because I am now a stay at home mom he is always worried about not being there enough for me emotionally and to help take care of the baby.
To put your mind at ease, financially, things always seem to work themselves out.  Somehow you get what you need when you need it.  For us, we have a strong belief in God and that helps up through every struggle.  That isn’t for everyone and it is important to depend on each other and communicate with each other.  As far as him feeling bad for working rather than staying home with us... I prefer it this way.  Being home with the baby is my “job” you could say, best job in the world, but a job nonetheless. I always reassure him that he is helping me by going to work and keeping the income going.
Will I be a good dad?
I am not sure if every dad has this fear or not, but all the expecting dads I have spoken to most certainly do.  This doesn’t apply to everyone, but in some cases an expecting dad who doesn’t have the best relationship with his dad may have concerns about being a good dad to his own kids.  I believe there is a little piece in everyone that has this fear,  not for that reason necessarily, but becoming a parent is a huge deal.  You have now become responsible for this little human.  My husband and I had the overwhelming feeling that we never wanted to let our kids down and this made me and my husband both scared of entering parenthood.  In my husband’s case this fear came from his own upbringing, he was worried about letting his kids down the same way he was let down by his own parents.  The best way to deal with these feelings is to face that head on and decide to change it.  Rather than continue the pattern, change it.
How will having a baby affect my relationship?
The reality is it no longer is you and your partner.  You have a new member of the family that requires so much love and nurturing and for a little while your relationship won’t be first and foremost; however, it is important to set aside some time to spend just you and your partner.  Having a date night maybe once a week will be so beneficial to your relationship.

Aside from communicating which is key in your relationship, there are some things you can do together.  Mommas it is crucial to help your partner feel included.  Since dads are not carrying the baby they do not have the immediate bond you have. Daddies, it is so important to be there for your partners since there’s a lot she is going through from physical to emotional changes.  Here are some things you can do together and really make sure you are both equally involved.
  • Go to prenatal visits together.  I wish my husband could have come to my prenatal visits and ultrasounds.  He was working so much and I didn’t realize how important it was to share the experience.  I always told him not to worry about it but looking back I wish we could’ve shared the experience.
  • Plan for the baby together.  Go with your partner to baby shop and start up your registry together.  My husband and I would go just window shop all the time to look at everything and get ideas for the nursery or just to bond and share the excitement.
  • Let him put together the baby items.  After my husband and I moved into our new place, I wanted to surprise him by getting everything done one day while he was at work.  I put together all the baby items, excluding the crib, and had the house set up by the time he got home.  I thought I was doing something nice for him so he wouldn’t have to worry about it, and though I was and he was super appreciative, looking back I realize how important it is for the daddy to have their nesting by putting together all the baby items.  Make it fun! Baby gear is tricky, take out the video camera and have fun doing it together.
  • Workout together during pregnancy.  Come up with a routine for the two of you to help you both stay healthy, happy and give you some time together.
  • Set aside some time for the bump.  When you are both done with your days and relaxing, play some music for the baby and interact with him or her.  Sing, talk, touch.  The baby hears you and knows you are there.  Just because the baby is not out of the womb yet doesn’t mean he or she isn’t aware of what is going on.  Babies are awfully smart and start to know Mommy and Daddy while cooking in the oven.  We used to play games with the baby.  We would play music for him and wait for him to start kicking, once he was kicking we would tickle his feet and he would kick back, without fail.
  • Plan the nursery together.  Prepare all the little details of the nursery together.  Pick out colors, decals, lamp shades, every detail.

Do your best to enjoy every moment and all that comes with it.  Pregnancy is not always joyous but keep every minute as a blessing.  Remember to be sensitive to each other.  You are both entering into the unknown and must work together to help each other get through.  Cherish the good times and embrace the difficult and use it to strengthen your relationship.  Remember, it goes fast, enjoy each day together, even when you are ready to strangle each other.


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