Pregnancy can be a really scary thing, especially for first time fathers. Frankly, the thought of my wife pooping out a baby, terrified me. Not to mention that I would have to participate. The unknowing just gave me the heebie jeebies. So for all those expecting fathers out there who are really freaking out right about now, here was a couple of things that helped me.
Communicate With Your Partner
Tell your girl how you feel. I remember I was afraid of telling my wife, because I didn’t want to stress her out, or making her feel like her problems were less important than my own. After all she was the one going through all the major changes. In the end, however, I discovered we shared this fear, and knowing you aren’t alone helps make you stronger.
Don’t Watch Birthing Shows
I don’t know why my wife took up such an interested in birthing shows during the pregnancy. Perhaps it was a way for her to be able to relate to others that have gone before. Or maybe it was because she wanted to know what to expect in the upcoming months.
One of her favorite shows was A Baby Story, which aired on TLC. She would watch it constantly. And many times she wanted me to join her. Man, let me tell you, I tried, but to me, it was like watching those horror movies where the music alone has you on the edge of your seat waiting for something to jump out at you. I mean come on, it was on TLC, so of course there had to be as much drama in the show as they could cram in. So every episode, had its major complications with the birth, and watching only freaked me out further than what I was. I didn’t want to know all the things that could go wrong. Let me deal with that when that moment comes, not before!
Educate Yourself As Much As Possible
With the above being said, what I don’t mean is go into the labor and delivery room not knowing anything. That would be crazy. Take these long drawn out months of pregnancy to learn a thing or two. I remember right after my wife and I found out she was pregnant we started attending some birthing classes. We figured, why wait, the more you know, the better educated decisions you will make.
You should also do your own research online. Birthing comes with a lot of options, and sooner or later your wife is going to come to you for your opinion about a lot of things, such as circumcision, breastfeeding or formula, natural or epidural, etc, etc. The farther ahead in the game you are, the less you will feel bombarded when all these things are thrown at your face.
Another good thing you will discover by researching and taking classes, is a lot of options that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. After attending our first birthing class on SIDS, I discovered our community also had a father-to-be support group, in which expecting fathers would get together, hang out, grab a beer, shoot some hoops, and be each others support system. I was really excited about this myself, but unfortunately was not able to participate in it, due to the fact that we had to move shortly after this class, and was no longer in an area that offered it.
Pamper Your Partner
Make sure to spend as much time with your wife as you can. Give her a massage. Bring her food. Do anything she asks, no matter how crazy it sounds. By doing this, you are helping to alleviate some of her own worries, by being supportive. This is good, because a lot of times we feed off the stress of others. So the happier she is the less stressed you will be.
Plan In Advance
The more you plan the less you have to worry about. This topic is a broader one. It doesn’t just mean have the hospital bag packed and in your trunk at all times. It also means spend some time with you partner discussing things, such as your birth plan, or finishing your early registration.
Another big one, is knowing what sort of things she expects from you during labor, and also what sort of things she will find annoying, so you know what to avoid. These are always a good thing to know before you get to the hospital and will make for a lot less yelling and gnashing of teeth.
If you attend birthing classes like my wife and I did, you will learn a lot of techniques that you can utilize during the long hours at the hospital, some of them are fairly easy, while others are more effective, but require a lot more finesse. Practicing these techniques at home will not only give you a good sense of what it will be like during labor, but also will give you an opportunity to help relax the mother-to-be. And like I said before, the happier she is the less stressed you will be.
I am sure there are other things out there that you can find on the web, that can help relieve some of your own pregnancy stressors . If you run across any, or have some of your own from personal experience, leave me a comment below and tell me about it. I would love to hear from you.