A Dad's Guide to Surviving Pregnancy
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.
Guides for Expecting Fathers
- 10 Things That Might Surprise You About Being Pregnant
What the Doctor May Leave Out.
- I Am Pregnant
Pregnancy Week by Week, Forums, Share Photos and Create Your Own Page.
Pregnancy Information, Tools and Resources.
Pregnancy Health and the Stages of Pregnancy Through the Trimesters.
- Pregnancy Info
Pregnancy Advice on a Variety of Pregnancy Topics.
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.
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.
Resources for Dad.
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 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.
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.