You are about to embark on one of the greatest journeys of the human experiences.
You are going to be faced with the momentous task of raising and nurturing a tiny version of yourself.
You. Are going to be..A father.
That a big deal!
So why are you stressing? This is supposed to be a happy time of celebration. Yet your mind is swirly with emotions and feelings you can quite place.
You may be wondering if you’re ready. Or if you will be a good dad. Or if you can even afford a baby and all of the expenses that come with it.
Between setting up a birth plan, choosing a car seat, taking classes and preparing your home for your newest family member, you certainly have a lot of planning and preparing to do.
Don’t forget to prepare yourself emotionally, as well. The journey of parenthood is one of growth and transformation. And you very possibly will be facing a challenge that looks and/ or acts just like you.
And this is nothing to take lightly because new dads can experience postpartum depression and other mood disorders just like new moms.
Learning that you will become a parent can stir up emotions and thoughts within you that you never knew existed. Most people turn to their own parents for support. Or start re-examining their upbringing and if their own parents lived up to the “good parent” standard.
You might be feeling anxious over how you will be live up to the awesome examples set by the people that raised you. Or trying to find peace with things you disliked or vowed you would never do when you had your own children one day.
You might be struggling with not having a parent present and active in your life.
Or maybe you will have to make decisions for your child or your lifestyle that may be difficult to make.
Whether good or bad, your first instinct may be to suppress the thoughts and questions that you don’t know how to process.
Face those deep, uncomfortable thoughts now, to help you start building your confidence as a parent today.
Take some time to think on these questions:
What does being a good parent look like to you?
Who do you look to as a parenting role model and why? Be specific.
What is my parenting style? What are things I must do to feel like I am doing a good job as a parent?
Sit with the insight and emotions that come up. Talk with your partner, parents or a close friend or journal your way through issues that take more time to process. There isn’t always a right or wrong answer when it comes to parenthood.
By doing this heavier mental and emotional work now, you can spend those crucial first days and weeks of your baby’s life cuddling and resting, instead of stressing. And if you do happen to need an extra send of hands, I am always here to help.
There are lots of things you can do before and after the baby is born and beyond the immediate postpartum to help make both you AND your partners experience a little better. And by a little better, I mean enjoying your postpartum time rather than just “barely surviving.”
Check out more tips the NEW DAD series.