Finding out that your partner is expecting is an immeasurable feeling of happiness. However, whilst you may be overjoyed, many dads end up developing a number of anxieties and worries before their first-born arrives.
These feelings are completely natural, with issues such as money, relationships, preparation and whether or not you’ll be a good father, all immediately coming into play. Like most fathers, you will soon learn to overcome these fears for both your child and partner, turning them into positives.
Leaving the ‘Lad’ behind
Having a child is the final sign that you have reached adulthood so there’s no turning back. Becoming a father means that you will have to put aside a lot of your own needs in favour of your family, thinking less about yourself and more about those around you. This is never an easy step to take for guys, but remind yourself that this isn’t the end of doing things you love, just a sacrifice for something amazing that’s about to happen.
Whether or not you’re in a sound financial position to provide for your family is an issue that keeps countless dads-to-be awake at night. No-one’s going to deny that money plays a huge role in bringing up a child, with it currently costing £225,000 to raise a child until they are 21, a figure that has risen 62% since 2003.
Nevertheless, with careful budgeting and planning, raising a child can be achieved on a modest salary. Sacrificing a few luxuries will be inevitable for both you and your partner in the early years, but from the moment you set eyes on your little one, these will become insignificant. It’s also important to remember that as with life, money doesn’t mean everything when it comes to fatherhood.
Heading back to school!
Childbirth is a momentous occasion in your life and is really something you shouldn’t miss. Whilst you can read up as much as you like, nothing can truly prepare you for the actual moment. Unless you have medical experience, the chances are you don’t have much experience of a pregnancy. The best way to tackle this fear is through training.
There are a number of childbirth classes around (even dad-specific ones) which will help before the big day arrives. Going in with preparation and focus will help you to better handle the situation and remain calm enough to actually enjoy the unique experience – it’s also vital you stay strong for your partner, as she will be enduring physical pain along with battling the same fears you have!
Soon-to-be fathers also worry about the resulting relationship they’ll have with their partner and how it will change now that you have a child together. A common concern is whether your partner have more affection for your child than you. This is only natural, as although they will still care for you just as much, a lot of their attention and energy will be spent on your baby, physically and mentally.You shouldn’t measure their affection by how much time you’ll be spending together because bringing up a baby is incredibly time-consuming work. Bear in mind, the more you work as a partnership to bring up your baby, the more you’ll discover a whole new side to your relationship.
A life in your hands?
Being responsible for another life can be the most daunting element of fatherhood. It’s your job to protect your baby, as they can’t fend for themselves; so aspects such as holding your baby the right way, making sure they are safe in their crib and pram and baby-proofing the house are all essentials. Once again the best way to combat these fears is through experience and practice. Try holding your friend’s baby or look up tips on baby-proofing. Even babysitting a friend’s baby for a few hours can go a long way to helping you fight these initial fears.
Finding a healthy balance between work and family life can also be difficult and it’s a challenge that all new fathers face. Paternity leave is a concept that is constantly being reviewed so it’s best to speak to your employer regarding the options you have. Using your holiday time for when your partner is expecting is useful, as it will allow some time together without the stresses of work. Soon though, you will discover the perfect balance between home and work life that suits everyone in the family.
Patience is a virtue
Your sex life will be affected considerably after your partner has given birth and this is something you will have already noticed during her pregnancy. Similar to the increased affection they will show to your newborn, you may suddenly feel as though your needs aren’t being met. Keep in mind that they will mentally and physically exhausted from bringing up the baby, so patience is the key. You have absolutely nothing to worry about, this will all change over time as your relationship with your new family evolves.
Worrying about whether or not you will be a good father is perfectly natural. It’s a massive step in your life and you’ll be thrown into a whole new world of responsibility and sacrifice whilst attempting to be the best parent you can be. This may be the biggest fear, but as long as you make time for them, strive to learn everything you can about fatherhood and do everything in their best interests, you will be just fine!