So, your significant other tells you that she thinks she is pregnant. There is a unique feeling that bonds all first-time fathers when they hear this news. Its probably most easily described as fear, excitement, and a little nausea. The order of which usually depends on whether or not the pregnancy was planned. Once you have processed all of these emotions, the next thought is usually something along the lines of “why am I worrying, its 9 months away until I need to be ready”. Wrong. Whilst your baby may not be arriving for a while yet, your job has just begun and with a newly pregnant and soon to be hormonal mother, the wrong word at the wrong time will make that argument you had when you insulted her mother look like a happy memory in comparison.
Your First Reaction
Ok, here is the first tip, I am assuming you and your partner planned to get pregnant and this is great news, and you want to celebrate. Wonderful! But how are you going to celebrate? You are thinking about popping some champagne, aren’t you? There is only one problem. Your now pregnant partner can’t drink alcohol. If you want to win some early points for being a good father to be, put down the alcohol and offer to show solidarity by not drinking while she can’t. There is no easier way to show that you are both in it together than this simple gesture.
The second tip is important for you to remember. You are not the only one freaking out about the idea of becoming a parent. Your partner is going to start thinking about how stressful and overwhelming it is going to be and she is going to need your support. Not only is there a small fear of her having to go through so much alone (hence the importance of the solidarity gesture with the alcohol). But she is also going to be worrying about getting fat. She is going to be worrying about all of the changes to her body. She is going to be playing back every nightmare labour scene she has ever watched in a TV show or a movie. She is going to realise she has never held a baby let alone changed a diaper. Our partners experience more complex emotions than us when it comes to most things. Now imagine that being increased 100 times and you will get the idea. You need to make sure you are supportive and do not expect her to just magically be able to handle everything.
Take a deep breath
OK, so you are freaking out, she is freaking out. You can’t have a beer to calm down as you agreed to give that up in a show of solidarity. So, what should you do? The answer is simple. Take a deep breath and remember you can do this. The truth is that every father to be goes through this. But if our ancestors could keep their kid from being eaten by a sabretooth tiger, have no access to hospitals or a local supermarket, you will be able to make sure that the diaper is on correctly and the milk is the right temperature. There are billions of people all around the world and many of them have been raised in worse economic conditions, with less educated and skilled parents than you. You will figure this out. More importantly, the first time your child smiles at you, it will make it all worth it.
*If you would like a personal coaching session via zoom with myself to help you navigate your first time dad journey, you can reach out to me directly by sending me a message on social media or the “contact” page on my website to organise a session