Now there is no way that we can ever predict how the father of our child is going to react when we tell him the news that will change both our lives forever.
So how did your partner react? Did he jump around the room like a kangaroo? Did he immediately go to the nearest chemist and purchase 10 more tests just to be sure? Or just stand there in front of you, mouth agape with a complete look of shock across his face.
Now we all know as pregnant mums that the minute we start telling people the news that we are expecting most of the attention immediately falls on us. How you feeling? Have you had a scan yet? You need to rest? How many weeks are you the questions just keep coming? But what about the fathers? How do they feel?
As friends and family do we even ask?
As a HypnoBirthing Instructor one of the first things that I do when I meet the expectant couple for the first time, is to discuss how the fathers feel about their partner’s pregnancy, the labour and the birth. Now I know that for many this will have been the first time they have been asked about their feelings.
Below is some of their feedback…..
“Once the excitement and the shock had settled down on hearing the news that I was going to become a father I began also to experience anxiety and a real apprehension about how both our lives were going to change and how well I would cope”
“Am I going to be able to financially support my new family provide them with everything that they need especially for the baby. How much time is my partner going to give up work for? I want her to spend as much time with the baby however things will be tight financially”
“Friends of mine told me that the labour can be long and that they couldn’t stand seeing their partners in so much pain, how will I cope? I just don’t want to let my partner down; I just want them both to be safe and everything to turn out okay”
“My partner is going through so many physical and emotional changes yet she’s only five months pregnant and to me it still doesn’t seem real. I feel guilty that even though most of the time I feel excited I also experience moments of sheer panic especially about whether I will be a good father or not”
“We are so happy at the moment and I am really looking forward to bring our baby home yet friends seem all too happy to tell me about the horrors of lack of sleep once the baby is with us, that sex goes out the window and whenever you want to go anywhere as a family you can expect to feel the back of a Volvo estate with everything that you’re going to need just to go out for a few hours!”
So how can we support expectant fathers more?
1. Mums talk to your partner about how you both feel about the pregnancy. Spend time together discussing how things are going to change and what your expectations are. Make the most of this time so that you both feel on the same page through out your pregnancy and beyond… Perhaps setting a specific time aside once a week to talk about how you are both feeling can be useful.
2. Discuss any possible financial worries with your partner, and perhaps put together a financial plan. Be open and honest and let them know they are not alone.
3. One of the most common concerns for fathers is the expectations of the labour and birth process. Try not to watch programmes such as ‘One Born Every Minute’ instead visit websites such as www.tellmeagoodbirthstory.com to help build confidence instead of fear.
4. Encourage your partner to attend antenatal classes with you as this will help enormously with feeling prepared. There is a lot of choice out there including, Hypnobirthing Antenatal classes that actively involve the father, NCT and free classes that run via the NHS .Research the different classes and choose which one is right for you both.
5. There are groups specifically for expectant fathers that will allow them to air their concerns and worries in a safe environment and of course having a supportive family can be a real bonus. Check out groups at your local children’s centre’s.
6. Read literature specifically for the expectant father. See below for two recommended books by Hypnobambinos. Knowledge helps fathers become empowered enabling them to feel very much part of the pregnancy and birthing process instead of feeling like they are standing in the background.
So let’s not forget the expectant father. Make sure we ask him how he feels and check in with him once in a while to see what support he may need. Expectant and postnatal fathers can also suffer with Depression just like us mums so we need to do all we can as their partner, family and friends to listen and support their own individual journey. After all without fathers there would be no baby.