A Pregnancy Guide For First Time Dads
You're Going To Be A Dad!
Well by now your either celebrating or crying. Your wife/girlfriend/girl you met at bar has informed you that she's with child. Your child. You maybe elated, overjoyed that your boys can swim. At the same time a tiny fear emerges somewhere inside you. Unless it really was that girl at the bar, in that case you may be flat out terrified and preparing for a Maury Povich Show appearance.
Alright Soon-to-be-Dad, take my advice. This is kind of a big deal. It may take some time for all of this to settle in, but that’s okay. You have a long journey ahead of you and there’s work to be done in the mean time.
So if you’re the type of guy who plays video games, has the free time to watch television, has a weak stomach, and needs 8 hours of sleep, things are about to change. In a big way
Well, there are plenty of books and websites and even phone apps to help you out. When I first saw the book What To Expect When You’re Expecting, I laughed and thought, a baby stupid. Yeah, what a lost little soul I was.
Your wife/girlfriend/girl you met at the bar will be expecting you to do your part so with that in mind, I present my quick guide and spotty advice for expecting first time dads. Let's get started.
Be Ready For The Mood Swings
Remember that sweet, caring chick who laughed at your corny jokes and cheered on your favorite football team? Yeah, she’s gone pal. That girl's been kidnapped and whatever is growing in her womb refuses to give her back. You find little snippets of her, but for the most part, those hormones aren't playing nice in there.
She Will Have To Pee....A Lot....
Comfort eludes her, which in turn, eludes you. You’ll be left with a swollen, uncomfortable, waddling, woman whose main goal in life is to find a bathroom. My wife once used the bathroom in our bedroom and I kid you not stopped again to use the bathroom in the hallway. This was before were going to make an hour long trip in the car. Lucky me!
It is freezing hot in here
Back to that comfort thing. It’s too hot or too cold. Sometimes at the same time. Doesn’t make sense? Just wait. The number on the thermostat means nothing. The window may be opened during a snowstorm. Her body is short-circuiting and you’ll have to just ride out the storm. Go ahead, argue with her. Let me know how that works out for you.
"I want to have a natural child birth."
"I'm going to try and have the baby naturaly."
"There's nothing natural going on here, give me the epidural!"
"So I'm thinking earth tones for the baby's room."
"We really should get that room done while we have the time."
"Why haven't you painted the room? You don't love me!"
"My pants are tight!" *giggle giggle*
"I may need new pants." *frown*
(Standing on a pile of clothes from over turned dresser and ravaged closet) "Where are my sweatpants!!!"
"I wonder what color eyes he'll have?"
"I think he'll have my hair."
"I think there is an alien growing inside of me."
"I've got to pee."
"I've got to pee"
"I think I just peed"
Give the foot massages.
Look, let’s be honest. She’s doing the heavy lifting. As men, we have it pretty damn good during this pregnancy thing. Our hormones remain intact, we can still enjoy an adult beverage, and most of us (hopefully) can still see our feet. So when your girl needs a foot massage, or shoulder rub or back scratch, get to work. She’s carrying around junior all day long, it’s the least you can do.
She looks great. Say it!
Even if it's a um, stretch. Look, she knows that she's a sweaty mess, that she's not glowing but rather bloating. She used to shop at Victoria Secret, (which may have something to do with her being pregnant, by the way), but now she’s been relegated to s skimming what look like couch covers at the maternity store. So when she comes home with two bags of maternity clothes that are all stretch pants and elastic, try to be supportive. And don’t look at the receipt.
You Can Do This
As guys we may not like to admit it, but we have our fears. Sure most of them have to do with the crazy woman sleeping beside you and taking up the whole bed, but there are other fears as well. I was worried that I wouldn’t know what to do when the little guy came. I worried that I wasn’t cut out to be a dad. These are normal fears and most expectant dads will feel this way at one time or another. But guess what? You’ll do fine. Trust me. As soon as you see that little guy or girl for the first time, you’ll know exactly what to do. If you don’t pass out. Sorry, didn't mean to scare you...
Get on board.
I’m not suggesting that you become Mr. Mom, but try to muster up some excitement. For a lot of expectant dads, it comes natural. I transferred all of my anxiety and fears and used that energy into becoming a dad. I put together all of the furniture, imaging the little guy there with me. If you’re not excited about the pregnancy, think of it this way. Sooner than you think, a little being is going to come into this world and look to you for survival. So at least try to go through the motions.
The classes are overrated.
Of course this is only one guy’s opinion, but the baby care class was nothing more than a group of pregnant couples, all with the same deer in the headlights look in our eyes, playing dress up with a doll. I clunked that dolls head on the desk, the tub, and may have even dropped it on the floor. Who knows? Maybe I was just getting it out of my system. On second thought, take the class!
You know that dresser, the changing table, that crib that she registered for at Target. Well, they don’t come assembled. Get your screwdriver and call up a few friends because assembly is required, and expected. I remember during the nesting stage, pulling our piece after piece. Attach piece B with piece Z3. Now insert piece XXX3 into XXX7, and so on. Every drawer had to be put together, it got old quick.
Seriously. I was told that no matter what happens do not look down. You don’t want to see what’s happening. I had it all planned out. I would be the hand over the shoulder, supportive husband. But in the heat of the moment I looked down. And it changed my life. I witnessed the miracle of birth and I’m happy that I did. When it was all over I did almost pass out, but that was from the wash of emotions that came over me. I was a mess As far as your role, just do as much as your comfortable doing.
Get Ready For The Nesting
Around the seventh month mark, you may notice that your wife/girlfriend/girl you met at bar may start freaking out. She wants the baby’s room to be ready. Like, really ready. Everything needs to be in place, and she may even start folding baby clothes. Ridiculous? Yes, but you’re a guy. You wear mismatched socks and use a blow dryer as an iron. So she’s going to get a little crazy, or crazier, but you just need to weather the storm. Just remember, she’s out of her mind right now.
You've Got This
Okay, there is much more advice that could be given, but I think the above is a good starting place. I hope I haven't scared you off, because you will be needed. While the women do all the work, our job is crucial as well. We have to be the rock, the support; after all, there has to be some semblance of sanity when those contractions kick in. That's where you come in. So congratulations again. There is nothing easy about pregnancy, but trust me, it’s a breeze compared to what will follow...
Father Knows Little
If you enjoyed this article, head over to my blog at www.fatherknowslittle.com where I document my experiences as a first time dad.