Becoming a parent is a big deal.
But while mums are intimately involved with all aspects of growing and birthing a baby, some dads struggle to get connected, and often feel as though they’re on the outside.
This can lead to a number of fears about them becoming dads, fears that dads often struggle to talk about.
We’ve put together a list of some of the fears we hear about from dads at the start of their parenting journey, as well as throughout it. We hope it gives you an idea of what some dads are feeling, and what they can do about it.
1. Health of mum and bub
Pregnancy can be a scary thing, especially when your doctor has a frank discussion with you and your partner about things to monitor, and how things work when it doesn’t go as expected. The good news is it’s pretty safe to give birth in Australia. Our maternal death rates are some of the lowest in the world.
However, it’s easy to focus on that fear of something going wrong with your partner or your baby. All we can recommend is to talk with your doctor, and your partner, about your worries, and stay positive throughout.
A lot has changed in recent years in terms of a dad’s involvement in the actual birth of their child. In days past, dads waited outside the birthing suite, ready to celebrate, while mums laboured with the help of medical professions.
Now, more often than not, dads and mums want to go through the process together. But some dads do worry about childbirth, and whether they’ll be able to support their partner during the intense moment. The most important thing to remember here is to focus on your partner’s needs, helping her, and seeing your baby as they emerge into the world.
Though small they might be, babies are a big expense with estimates ranging from $6,000 to well over $10,000 for the first year alone. That’s a significant sum, so it’s not surprising that one of the things that scares soon-to-be dads in the lead up to fatherhood is finances. The thing to remember here is that babies are simple little things.
Mostly, they need love and comfort, so don’t stress about getting them the best toys or latest gadgets. They just want you, your partner, and lots of attention.
Ah sex, such an enjoyable pastime, but when a baby’s arrival is imminent, many dads-to-be worry about whether it will ever be on the cards again. Well, stop stressing about it! Yes, you will have sex again, but don’t set the countdown just yet because the last thing you want to do is rush your partner. Remember that growing and then birthing a baby is traumatic for her body, and she needs to both rest and heal.
Along with that, there are lots of hormonal fluctuations for her to contend with, and the stress of having a tiny baby that needs her attention. It’s pretty likely that sex with you is pretty low on her to-do list, and that’s fine. Over time, as you both adjust to your new circumstances, her energy and libido will begin to come back as well.
5. Things changing
Speaking of adjusting to new circumstances, that’s another common dad fear. Life prior to baby was probably pretty well set out. There was time for friends, time for your relationship, and time for relaxation and enjoyment. However, when a baby comes, things do change.
You might not have as much time for friends, and your relationship with your partner will also change. This is not the end of the world, but it does require a bit of organisation. Talk with your partner about the both of you having time out from the baby to spend with your friends, and remember to nurture your own relationship as well with date nights and couple time to keep the spark alive.
6. Succeeding at fatherhood
First off, if you’re a father-to-be concerned about whether or not you’ll be a good dad, that’s a pretty good indicator that you will be. That concern means that you care about your role and your responsibility, which is key in being a good dad right from the start.
So, instead of stressing about whether the role of dad will fit you, take it as a positive sign that you’re ready to do what it takes to succeed. Of course, becoming a dad isn’t an overnight transformation, and it certainly doesn’t start and finish the second your child is placed in your arms. It’s a long process, one that improves with every minute you spend with your child, so spend a lot!