A Dad's Guide to Surviving Pregnancy

Fatherhood
Fatherhood

Congratulations, You're a Dad!

After you get over the initial fear, shock, worry, and panic of learning of your impending fatherhood, the pride of knowing you will soon be a daddy sets in. Congratulations! Rest assured, you will survive.

If for any reason you fear you won't, or you just need a little encouragement along the way, here are a few simple tips to help you through the next few months of your life. My dad's guide to pregnancy survival.

This is not necessarily meant for men only. However, I am sure to be treading on thin ice as it is, so I will stick with what little I do know. One thing I have learned, ladies, is not to give advice to women, especially pregnant women, but if this helps you understand your man a little better, then great.

There Haven't Always Been "How To" Books.

How in the world the human race survived millenia without "how to" books I'll never know, but it did, and so will you. No book, manual, DVD, or magazine article will ever be more important than your natural instinct. If you are unsure of whether that instinct was imparted to you, just wait.

You will probably first notice the instinct in the mother. I certainly do not mean this as a criticism, but the fact of the matter is that you may be caught so off guard by the instinctual changes in the mother that you don't notice changes in yourself.

Many experts will tell you that the "nesting" phase doesn't kick in until the fifth month, getting stronger through the third trimester. LIARS! Let me back up, "nesting" is the powerful maternal instinct to prepare the home (nest) for the baby. Expect intense cleaning, recleaning, organizing, reorganizing, decorating, redecorating, and at the most random of times. Expect something resembling the following:

  • H: "Honey, I thought we were going to the supermarket." W: "We are, right after I finish scrubbing the baseboards and repainting the house."
  • W: "Did you wash your hands before you started cooking?" H: "Yes." W: "With soap?" H: "Yes." W: "Which soap?" H: "The soap that is on the sink." W: "Which soap that is on the sink, the one that smells good, or the one with bleach?" H: "The one that smells good." W: "Don't you know I'm pregnant(?)! Your baby is inside me. Do you want the baby to get germs from me eating the food you touch with your dirty hands! Wash your hands with the soap that has bleach!"

Nesting, in some form or fashion, seems to happen immediately upon mommy seeing the + on the home pregnancy test. Just deal with it. Don't get mad, don't get frustrated, just deal with it.

Beware of Mood Swings
Beware of Mood Swings

Expect the Unexpected.

Everything I had read informed me that there would be mood swings during the pregnancy. Everything I had read completely understated the truth.

You will likely witness tears of joy, tears of sadness, terms of endearment, terms of endangerment, strokes of love and strokes that will leave bruises all in the span of about 17 minutes. It's not her fault, and, most importantly, it's not your fault, usually. The whole hormone thing is out of whack, and it is worse than normal.

Again, there's nothing you can do about it, brace yourself, learn to carry Kleenex or a handkerchief, put on your Kevlar vest, have a compliment at the ready, and enjoy the ride.

Earthling
Earthling

Learn, Learn, Learn.

Reading this is a good start. But it is only a start. The truth is you can never learn enough, especially about pregnancy and raising children. Read everything you can get your hands on, talk to anyone who will listen and share, and GO TO THE DOCTOR WITH HER. I'm not saying you have to become an expert, but you have to learn what to expect (typically, it's the unexpected, but still you should know that).

Nothing will melt your heart like a sonogram. And even though, objectively speaking, the child may look more like an alien from the planet Zebulon Alpha 8 than an earthling, all you will see is your very own flesh and blood, fruit of your loins, seed of thy flesh, you get the idea.

Ask the doctor questions, ask your dad questions, ask anyone who will listen questions. I have included a list of pregnancy resources just for dads entitled Resources for Dads.

Symptoms, Symptoms and More Symptoms.

That's right, more symptoms. Many, many more symptoms above and beyond what you've learned so far. Let's see, where to begin? Of course there's the nausea, morning sickness (a nice way of saying puking), fatigue, aches and pains, irritability, frequent urination, a generic, unspecified and omnipresent discomfort, and gastronomical affectations that will literally blow you away.

And that's just in the first trimester.

I'm serious.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Oh, and you could develop what are called "sympathy pains". This is the politically correct term for symptom overlap. Yes, sometimes the symptoms overlap onto you. Or, better still, symptom overload, she is so overloaded with symptoms that you help by experiencing some of the symptoms for her.

I can attest that this is true. Although my wife experienced most of the symptoms described above, she did not get morning sickness. I did. About once a week for six weeks in total. Before we even knew we were pregnant, I was experiencing morning sickness. Inexplicable vomiting can weird a guy out when there is no apparent explanation. But, alas, the explanation was forthcoming. You're welcome very much.

World's Greatest Dad!
World's Greatest Dad!

It Will Be Worth It.

Believe it or not, the good far outweighs the bad. No amount of grumpiness, grouchiness or gassiness can ever compare to the giddiness. Which is great because you both will be giddy far more than anything else, and rightfully so.

A child is one of life's greatest blessings, and so is the pregnancy. It's an experience meant to be shared. I'm convinced that the tumult caused by the pregnancy, and there will be a little, is merely an opportunity to bring the participants (baby included) closer together. Best wishes to you. Now go and be the World's Greatest Dad.

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Comments 46 comments

In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California

Ah, I remember it well. When we saw the sonogram for our son the first time, we could have sworn we were having the Planters Peanut Man instead of a baby. Enjoy this time, it is the time of your life... with many wonderful times yet to come.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks, Doghouse. It is the time of our lives, and I'm sure it will only get better.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Peter - this is so well-written and true! Hilarious. Even though we're 5 years past a newborn, I have to share it with my husband. The bleach-soap exchange is priceless. Definite thumbs up!


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thank you, steph. The bleach-soap exchange is true. Please do share with your husband, and anyone else who needs a good laugh.


Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 8 years ago from Burlingame, CA

We just had a baby girl two weeks ago. I can tell you're talking from experience here:) The line about soap - so true. You mentioned the fatigue, but I'd like to help expecting fathers out as well. If your pregnant partner says she tired and goes to bed at 6:30 and expects you to go with her. Just go. Even if you have to stare at the ceiling for several hours. Don't try and slip out once she falls asleep. It won't work. I tried:)

After watching my wife deliver three babies, I swear I can do a c-section in a pinch.

Oh, and one more thing. If you really want to impress your wife's friends. Read the Nursing Mothers Companion. You'll learn more about breast feeding than most nursing mothers know.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

I couldn't agree more. We're not quite to 6:30 yet, but we are at about 8:30 or 9:00. So, then, if our doctor happens to be on vacation when we deliver you're available?


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

Peter, this is so funny and so true! By the middle of my sister's 9th month of pregnancy, my brother-in-law was convinced that he was never going to get back the woman he had married. He was afraid she would just get crazier when the baby arrived. She is back to her old self again and they are loving parenthood.

My husband insists that pregnancy is no big deal. He just laughed at me, for the most part, through all three pregnancies :)


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks, amy jane. I thought people might be able to relate. I'm glad for your sister's return to normalcy.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

We had three son.

Val wanted a daughter.

Everything was pink

Told we wree having Triplicates

Everything went black

Told we were having twins

Everything went red.

Present and two hours down the road and the first twin Arrived.

Sister/midwife said "what a Beautiful Baby Boy." I thought you tell all the Mums that.

Doctor glared, he was on way to golf with two deliveries.

Everything turned into thunder

Val stopped work and Doctor killed the Midwife with his looks.

Finaly after nearly three hours fifth son arrived.

Everything turned roses

Forget the daughter, we had two very healthy sons. (FIVE)


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Wow. I'm speechless, Marmalade, 5 sons. How do you afford to feed 5 boys?


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

Peter, what a great hub here. Being an expectant father myself, I found your hub to be insightful. I've found that there are MANY fewer resources out there for expectant fathers (compared to mothers), so I appreciated your hub that much more.

Thank you


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thank you, Wedding Consultant. I hope it was of some help. I appreciate you reading.


sis-in-law 8 years ago

I could so hear lo-lo's tone of voice with the soap thing!!! Love it, love it, love it!


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks, Robyn. I appreciate you reading. Pass it on to anyone who might enjoy.


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal

After 3 years of being dad lol, I have to admit that after all it´s easy specially if we think in all the great things that come along ;)

Great hub Peter, thanks for making me laugh :D


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks, funride. I'm glad to hear you got a chuckle out of it.


Eric 8 years ago

Did you say gassiness? I hadn't heard about this.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

If you haven't, consider yourself lucky.


best of the web profile image

best of the web 8 years ago from US

Good one.

Thanks for sharing


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan

What a great hub, Peter. I've always heard that a woman becomes a mother the moment she finds out she's pregnant, but a man becomes a father the moment he holds his baby for the first time.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks best of the web. I appreciate you reading.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

I appreciate you reading, helena. I hope that's not true (about men), it seems a little late in the game to try and start.


recoveringredneck profile image

recoveringredneck 8 years ago from Idaho

These are great thoughts from a Dad's perspective. I think more Dad's need to give their take on parenthood/fatherhood. I love comedians like Bill Cosby who "tell it like it is" about being a Dad.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks redneck. I appreciate you reading. I agree, more people should tell it like it is.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

I'm never going to be a dad, but for some reason this seems like a hub that needed to be written :) Thanks!


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thank you glassvisage. I know I needed to write it for my own sanity. I'm glad someone else agrees.


tjmum profile image

tjmum 8 years ago from Isle of Wight

I wish my husband could have seen this when I was pregnant, both times! Good luck to you both.


Fran Horvath profile image

Fran Horvath 8 years ago from Universal

I was laughing so hard,tears filled my eyes and I couldn't see my screen! Great article Peter.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks, tjmum. I appreciate you reading. If he didn't, it is his loss.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thank you, Fran. You are too kind. I'm always happy to provide a good chuckle.


Encourager profile image

Encourager 8 years ago from Cotswolds, UK

Peter, its a great site. My daughter in law is expecting their second daughter. Will send this to my son. I have a hubpage where yours ends. How to raise Christian children. Have a look you will not be disappointed.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Please do. The more the better. I hope he enjoys. I will definitely visit your hubs as well.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Best wishes for your new child!


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thank you, Patty. I appreciate that very much.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

Great job. Very well written and oh so true. My wife and I are almost 8 years removed from our first child and 6 from our second, but these nuggets of truth bring back fond memories. I remember one instance during my wife's second pregnancy when the hormones were as thick as Brazilian mosquitos and I just had to "leave for a while." It was for my own safey of course! Keep up the good work.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Of course. We have had those moments, too. I appreciate your kind words. Welcome to HubPages.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

Great hub! I'm passing this one on to my son!


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX Author

Thanks, Dorsi. Pass it on to anyone and everyone you choose. The more the better.


nWoAdi profile image

nWoAdi 7 years ago from Singapore

Peter, thanks for the summarisation of one of your greatest chapter in life. Its still a long way to go for me. I'll still need to ensure that I've earned enough and ensure that I'll be able to handle all the responsibility once I get married. Anyway, seeing how my sis and my bro-in-law parenthood is one great experience for me as I get to babysit my little niece and nephew. One things for sure, credits have to be given to the father for the tasks they have to do for the family. =)


Equality For Men profile image

Equality For Men 7 years ago from USA

Great hub, should be a boon to all expecting Dads. Thank you.

http://equalityformen.org


Evelyn 6 years ago

So, so true. What a great article!

Now that you're in the trenches, you should check out the "New Dad Survival Guide -- 8 Tips" It's pretty funny too.

http://pregnantchicken.squarespace.com/pregnant-ch...

Congratulations!


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Wonderful tips that is well shared and alos a cool guide for all mothers.


scared crazy 4 years ago

this guide helps alot but i'm only 20 years old. I love my girlfriend but the reality of her angry parents just hit me and i'm trying to find every bit of info on being a dad. SO if possible can you put another guide with more detail please and thanx


firsttimedaddy 3 years ago

Just stumbled across this post, great writing. Especially liked the bit about nesting, so true! I've put together some of my own experiences at

http://www.1st-time-daddy.com


Davey Hiltz 18 months ago

So far, from what everyone tells me, it's going to be a wild ride when my wife gets pregnant. I'll probably come back to read this blog again and again and understand more and more each time. I'm so nervous! But as you said, it's all worth it in the end. I just learn, learn, and learn from one week to the next.

http://www.nflwc.com/services/obstetrics/


AJ 6 months ago

I was terrified of my wife's pregnancy more so because I knew of all the things that could go wrong and she was a high risk pregnancy. We made it and 2 kids later i couldn't have asked for anything better. They really do change your life. Im sure many of us worried about one of these at least once! http://www.pregnancy-calendars.net/fears-of-becomi...

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