Parenthood is an extremely transformative process for both the mother and the father. While the mother is going through a physical transition, the father has a metamorphosis of his own. For new fathers, change can be scary. You were perhaps still adjusting to the marriage and now you are responsible for another life altogether.
No matter how much you plan, the news of becoming a father will always come with a mixed bag of emotions. You may experience happiness, contentment, shock, and even resentment all at the same time. But, after you’ve overcome the initial euphoria, it’s time to begin your journey preparing for fatherhood. And that means, learning and unlearning a lot of things.
The good news is that you have the next nine months to prepare. But how do you prepare? Fret not, we sharing a helpful guide that will make this process more rewarding than it already is.
Preparing For Fatherhood: 8 Things To-be Dads Must Know
1. Prepare for the pregnancy
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It’s okay to not know anything about pregnancy before it actually happens. However, if you’ve been blessed with the opportunity to become a father, it’s time to invest your time and effort in relearning about pregnancy and birth experience. It isn’t just about being compassionate to your partner and their pain, but also being an active part of their pregnancy period.
There are multiple books that you can read up that are specifically directed towards expecting dads. There are also innumerable videos and forums that you can sign up at and learn more about pregnancy.
At the same time, stay observant about what your partner is going through. If you notice morning sickness or heartburn, support your partner during this phase. Be involved in learning about their dietary restrictions, food habits and choices.
Learn more about the process of labour and delivery, the complications surrounding it and what needs to be done in such a situation. If you don’t understand something, ask your partner, and they will be able to describe what they are feeling at that moment.
Even if you don’t have a solution, just being patient and understanding the process will help strengthen your bond with your partner.
2. Focus on yourself, too
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Becoming a dad should be a wake up call for you to become the best version of yourself. It’s your chance to hit the reset button, both mentally and physically. And that starts with emphasising your own health.
Pregnancy would be a good time to ease off smoking and alcohol, which would not make for a suitable environment at home. In fact, passive smoking during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of congenital heart defects in infants.
Before your baby arrives nine months later, use this opportunity to turn those bad habits into good ones. Preparing for fatherhood also means to eat well, sleep regularly, exercise, and make that annual visit to the doctor for a complete body check-up.
This isn’t just about you being healthy to handle all the extra load coming your way, but also being active to bond with your child as they grow in the years to come.
3. Communicate with your partner
Your partner and you are entering parenthood and that opens a pandora’s box of questions. This isn’t just about being supportive as a partner but having those uncomfortable conversations. Don’t leave things to assumption.
Now would be a good time to sit down and speak to her about things like how do you plan to handle childcare after the initial weeks? How will either of you manage work and parenthood? If one of you is planning to take a career break, who would it be and why? Then there are the finances that also need to be discussed. It’s easy to get involved in the smaller arguments during these conversations, but never lose sight of the bigger picture.
You should take out time and discuss your individual parenting methods with each other. The idea is to get on the same page so you can run this ship smoothly through the calm and rough seas.
Communication isn’t just about planning the future, it is also about opening up to your partner as someone they can rely upon. Mothers can often undergo postpartum depression and it needs a patient partner and professional help to ease them out of it.
4. Become a pillar of support
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It takes more than two hands to take care of a baby, and the more the merrier for the mother. That’s why you need to be up on your feet and become a pillar for your partner during this process. The immediate phase post-delivery will see the mother and child stay extremely close. As a father, you may feel left out but don’t feel disheartened.
There are many ways in which you can contribute, including changing diapers in the middle of the night, helping give baths, singing a lullaby to your baby to sleep or even bottle-feed the baby, if he’s on formula.
If the baby is only on breast milk, you can burp the baby after the mother has fed him. At the same time, be attentive to your partner’s needs. They need all the love and care to recuperate faster, which would mean taking a lot of household chores hands on.
You also need to give them some alone time to simply rest, and that allows you to spend some time with the baby on your own.
5. Talk to other fathers
Communication is key in any relationship, and so is understanding different perspectives. Your partner may not be in a position to understand what you are going through, and that’s why you may need someone who’s done this before. You could approach a counsellor if you are finding some of this a bit overwhelming.
At the same time, you can speak to other fathers either in your family or in your friend circle. Speak to someone who has had a similar journey or is preparing for fatherhood just as you are. You can raise concerns, vent your frustrations or just share about the experience with someone willing to listen.
There are multiple online forums too where you can find like-minded people who are also preparing for fatherhood and connect with them.
6. Acknowledge changes in your sex life
While your body may not be undergoing the dramatic change as your partner, there will be a lot of changes in terms of your sexual relationship with them. The nine months can be extremely confusing with the fluctuating hormones, changes in physicality and a range of emotions that your partner will be going through.
At the same time, you could be extremely nervous about doing anything that may hurt the baby or affect the pregnancy.
The lack of intimacy could also create an unspoken complexity in your relationship, and that’s exactly why you need to acknowledge the changes that your life is undergoing right now. And for that communication is important.
It’s not just about the nine months of pregnancy, but also the birth of the baby and the six-month recovery period after that, which will keep you and your partner apart.
It’s important that you are considerate towards your partner and understand her needs – both physically and emotionally. While sex may off the table for a few months, this will be the right opportunity to connect with your partner on other levels and that will only strengthen your relationship going further.
After all, parenthood is a shared experience and is intended to bring the couple closer to each other.
7. Celebrate the little milestones together
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You are soon going to be a part of a larger family. And while it’s easy to stay focussed on the mother and the child, take some time out for yourself too. Celebrate the little milestones that you’ve achieved along the way. From the first time, you changed the diaper to when you put the little one to sleep.
Did you buy a maternity dress for your partner? Shop for yourself too. Is it time to get that cheesy dad t-shirt? Yes, it is.
This will be the only time you will get to do it. So don’t hold yourself back. Capture the moments. These might look small but they are important milestones for you and they matter.
8. Have a sense of humour
We can’t emphasise this one enough. Not all days of parenthood or marriage are going to be pretty. You are living that life and there may be a time when you would rather drop everything and live out on your own.
However, the frustration, fights and disagreements are only temporary, family is forever. And you will only be able to see that if you have a sense of humour.
As long as you can laugh off and move ahead in life, preparing for fatherhood won’t be taxing, especially once you accept that there’s no end to it.
The post Preparing For Fatherhood: 8 Ways To Be The Ideal Dad appeared first on theAsianparent - Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.