Fatherhood

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“We are having a baby!” These five simple, little words can raise the blood pressure of almost any living, breathing male on the planet. In fact these innocent words ignite an even bigger reaction than “we need to talk”. No matter how the news is broken, this is just the beginning.

You’re going to be a daddy!

It is wonderful and at the same time intimidating to be told by your partner that you are about to embark into fatherhood and that your life is going to change. For some men, the reality of fatherhood doesn’t hit until the day they hold their child in their arms.

This reality of being a dad arrives at a later period; while moms experience motherhood the moment they know they’re pregnant. Nevertheless, fathers play a crucial part in a child’s development and future role in society. So as a dad-to-be, how do you prepare yourself for fatherhood?

Get involved

While your partner skips off to buy books, baby clothes, toys and an endless list of nesting items, you will notice that there’s hardly any material or tips for new dads. It seems more like a world made for women. While it is obvious that your partner is affected more than you, it is often underestimated that you also go through change during pregnancy. Albeit, not as dramatic.

One of the things you often hear women complain about is how selfish their partners are – wanting sex despite being overly tired, not helping around the house, not spending time with the baby etc, but the shock and the lack of information on what you need to do can be an unrecognised issue. So the best advice to follow is to be pro-active and get involved!

Be genuine about wanting to learn what’s happening to your partner physically and emotionally. Ask her about the books she’s reading, what the birth plans are, how she’d like you to help set up the nursery, and maybe be honest and tell your partner how you feel – frightened, shocked and clueless about what to do, but excited about the baby’s arrival. The more you share positively, your partner will definitely appreciate knowing your thoughts and that you are thinking about this “new role” (she might be just as clueless about where to start). Remember, you’re both in this journey together.

Protector and role model

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“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”

Sigmund Freud

In spite of the changing family and gender roles in modern day society, a father’s protection is still revered as a strong influence in a child’s life. The role you play as a father in the eyes of your daughter, for example, will subconsciously become the role she might expect of her husband later in life. Your son may strive to be a man like you one day.

Your parenting values, how present you are in your child’s growing years, how you discipline him or her and protect them from harm, how you communicate with your partner and people around you – all sit indelibly in a child’s mind and influence how they will grow to be a part of society later in life.

Yet no matter how daunting the role of fatherhood seems to be, take it all one step at a time and remember to cherish every moment of your child’s life.

For more information see Parenting.

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