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Fatherhood: Excitement, Anxiety or Both? Episode 1: T-13 weeks until the arrival of my baby boy.

Updated on November 16, 2014

Shock and Awe.

Currently my wife is 6 months pregnant and we are 13 weeks from having our first child; a boy. Although our pregnancy is planned, no amount of research can prepare you for the changes that are rapidly taking place. I'm sure as many fathers can attest to, the experiences that myself and other men are going through are uniquely exciting and frightening. With this being said, we are in good company. We're not the first men to feel this way at the prospect of a baby, nor will we be the last. Below are a few of my experience's thus far. Please don't feel like your the only one to experience stress (shock) nor the joy/excitement (awe) of waiting to be a father.

You can feel as if your on ground zero!
You can feel as if your on ground zero! | Source

Following is a brief list of the ways I have been shocked thus far:

  • Everyone acts like we are the very first people in the history of humanity to ever have a baby. Even the people that we know that are parents (regardless of the age of the child) proceeds to treat us as if we have contracted some previously undiscovered illness. Although the attention is somewhat fun, the general premise is a bit bizarre.

  • Many people that know I have a baby boy on the way act as if I have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Immediately they tell me how much “life is going to change.” When asked “how so,” the explanations are pretty negative:

  • My wife is going to ignore me indefinitely. Especially when it comes to sex. Everyone acts as if I better “get it now,” because it is likely to be the last time I'll have the opportunity to get laid ever again. Allegedly her total and undivided focus for the rest of either of our lives is likely to be the child. My response: “why do people have more then one child then?” I've been told that further children are simply the result of exhaustion or pity on the part of the woman. An answer that I'm just not going to buy.

  • My time is no longer my own. No more riding my bicycle, visiting friends, reading books or enjoying the outdoors. My only relief will be when I am at work or dead. I understand that a baby is a huge time commitment. Really? No more anything that I enjoy ever? One friend, a father of three, told me that being a good father means spending the maximum amount of time with your children possible. I agree that being present for your children is important, but the thought of completely abandoning physical fitness and recreation for at LEAST eighteen years seems completely dysfunctional. If I become obese and depressed, the quality of my child rearing skills will suffer. As in most of life, moderation is the key.

  • I will never sleep or feel rested: Ever Again! Many people say that by the time a baby quits crying and making you get up half a dozen times a night, then other issues of worry and exhaustion begin to develop. Babies become pre-school aged kids that wake you up due to bad dreams. When they get old enough not to wake you up for bad dreams, then you have to worry about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Personally, I'm going to invest in a retired drug dog and put bars on the windows. Enough said.

  • “You think your broke now.” As if I didn't have enough on my mind. Thanks.

Here are a few things that I am in Awe of:

Although there are many stresses involved in the physical, financial and mental preparation that goes into having a baby, there are some positive elements as well:

  • The incredible changes that my wife's body is going through. Not only is her body changing, but she is excited that it is happening.

  • You can feel and see the baby moving inside of my wife. Although I think it is neat, every time I try to put myself in my wife's shoes and imagine having a person growing inside of me and moving around.. I get majorly freaked out!

  • Even the naysayers and doom and gloom people that I know are excited. This includes the “never going to have kids” crowd I know, as well as the “your life is going to change into a living hell” types. I find this encouraging and fun. My only concern is that they are all wanting to watch our lives unfold due to a sense of morbid curiosity rather then genuine excitement.

  • I will be the only birth father this child will ever have. No matter what happens in the universe that cannot be changed. It's the only other permanent title that I will ever have other than son. Husband is a title that is only held so long as my wife doesn't decide to divorce me, or I stop living.

  • My wife is excited about the process of getting huge and then giving birth. I've watched the child birth videos; I just can't imagine being excited about having that happen to you.. Especially on purpose.

  • The feeding frenzy that takes place at a big box “baby store” when women are registering for their baby shower. I knew when they offered us water at the front desk that I was in trouble. I survived. Barely.

TSgt Pattee Meets Daughter.

Excitement abounds when meeting a new son or daughter!
Excitement abounds when meeting a new son or daughter! | Source

First reaction to finding out your wife's pregnant.

How did you first react to the news that your wife is pregnant?

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How to cope with the stress.

Am I excited to be a Father? Yes! Am I bit freaked out and stressed out? Yes. To be honest, I am in my mid-thirties, have a low paying job (less then two dollars an hour over minimum wage) and my wife and I are both saddled with student loan debt. My very expensive bachelor's degree has done absolutely nothing to help me find employment and we pay out almost as much in student loans as we do in rent. We do not get along well with her family and the nearest and the only prospective childcare that we have is my mother that lives thirty minutes away. Could it be worse? Absolutely. Is it still stressful? Very much so. How do I cope with the stress?

  • Try to keep things fun and positive. This is a challenge for me, since I tend to be a “realist.” One of the things that I have had to do is cut back on my exposure to certain people. Especially the “your life is going to turn into a living hell” folks that tend to bring me down.

  • Talk about the baby, but not 24/7. When I feel overwhelmed, I acknowledge it and ask to talk about it later. This has helped gradually acclimate me to the idea of parenthood. Although I have not tested this theory as of yet; I think that if the parent's realize throughout the process of raising a child when they become stressed out or overwhelmed and acknowledge it, they can help put things into perspective. There is nothing wrong with asking the spouse or a friend or relative to briefly take up the slack so you can take a break. An evening or afternoon off from time to time can help you reset and catch your breath. I often wander how many incidents of shaken baby syndrome or child abuse could have been prevented by occasionally taking a brief respite day, or at least a few hours.

  • Have a sense of adventure. Try to look at Fatherhood as an adventure rather then an insurmountable obstacle. This may take some practice.

  • If you read or watch television, keep it lighthearted. Dwelling on gloom and doom all the time is unhealthy when your bringing a little one into the world. Don't become escapist though; make sure to stay in touch with reality and practice moderation.

  • Surround yourself with good, wholesome, positive people. Just beware of granola and singing “kumbaya.”

Stay excited, be dedicated and exercise wisdom. I'm looking forward to your comments, questions and encouragements below!

Don't do this to your kids!


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