Becoming a parent is serious business. If you go through an unending bout of fear as you approach the final days of pre-birth, just know that it is absolutely normal.
Mothers have their own set of concerns but as a to-be father, it is important to acknowledge these feelings, talk to your wife/partner and come to terms. Acceptance is after all the first step to change. And remember, things will change after your little one is born.
It is also important that women understand what their partners are experiencing. Being an active participant in the pregnancy and birth process doesn’t come naturally to all to-be dads. There are social, cultural and biological factors at play here.
Some of the most common fears experienced by expecting fathers are:
1. The fear of financial instability. In most cultures, it is the father that provides for the family while the mother takes time off during childbirth. It is also less common for men to take paternity leave though that trend has begun to shift. Men worry about being able to adequately provide and meet the daily needs of their growing family.
2. Will I be a good dad? There is the ever-looming worry of never being good enough. Not being able to keep your child away from harm and just not getting things right. Will I drop my baby? How do I change a diaper? Then comes in the question of morality… will I be able to impart the best values to my child and raise them as upstanding citizens? As my child grows older, will they think back and remember me as a great father? Men also worry about their need to grow up quickly and rise to the occasion.
3. Relationship with wife/partner. Spousal dynamics change when a baby is born, and men often fear that the relationship they share with their wives won’t be the same. They also worry that their world will now revolve entirely around the baby. The fact is that life won’t be the same and it is important for couples to acknowledge the difference and stay connected despite the change.
4. Fear of raising a daughter. To-be dads often worry about not being able to provide the necessary love, care and attention to their daughters. They believe it might be more natural to raise a boy by virtue of being a man and having gone through boyhood.
5. Health and Mortality. The 9 months of waiting can be quite stressful and so many things can go wrong. So many scans, doctors’ visits, reports and results. Will we lose the baby? Will our child be delivered healthy? Will my wife/partner survive? What if something happens to me, who will take care of them? Is there anything I can do to make it easier?
6. The birthing process. Men often worry about not getting it right. Not being at the delivery room on time, not carrying the right things to the hospital, not understanding their wife or partners needs before and after the birth of their baby. Should I watch the birth of my baby? I don’t understand all the terms the OBGYN is using, what is an epidural?
Our guide is meant to outline the basic facts. If you do experience any of these fears, know that it is completely normal. You may consult with a qualified and certified mental health professional or medical doctor if you require additional guidance.
Did we miss anything? If you feel like you/your partner have experienced a fear that we have missed, do share it with us using our contact form.
Reviewed by: Dr. Melanie Schlatter
Date reviewed: 14th November, 2018
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