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Dear future Dads (…and eavesdropping moms),
After some kind requests, let me share in advance, father to future father, what you should know, the things you should be alert for and the opportunity you and your wife will have after the newborn arrives.
Although this was originally meant to be written only for future dads, I’ll happily assume future moms will eavesdrop too.
In fact, moms, feel free to eavesdrop and share this with your husbands or partners. We’re happy that you’ll know our fatherhood strategy moving forward.
Reading this will be like a spoiler for moms, but an action plan and heads up for dads.
Dads, you will read about the importance of (1) being alert towards your wife, (2) an approach to breastfeeding, (3) about sexual life after birth, (4) when to offer your help and, finally, (5) how the birth can actually be an amazing entrepreneurial opportunity.
Before I get into more detail, let me tell you this.
As you can imagine, each person (mom’s or dad’s) reaction to birth won’t be the same.
I can tell you that a baby is a major test to marriage and even for the strength of a couple.
We struggled a lot when our oldest was around 2 years old.
I feared for our marriage.
But we overcame that struggle and we’re stronger than ever.
But some of our friends didn’t resist.
I am sure you’ve seen around you examples for both sides, right?
Couples that struggle and overcome the bad moments and couples that struggle but give up and go separate ways.
Knowing that you want your relationship to be long-lasting, as in a “they lived happily ever after” way, let me share with you a few tips.
Tips that will help you – the fathers – have an idea about what to expect from first time parenting and how to deal with the moms in this journey.
(1) Expect the unexpected
I know. This is a boring and pretty obvious one.
But ignore the title, let’s focus on what can be unexpected in the birth process.
The birth will be mentally demanding for the couple and, as you can imagine, for the mom will be a bit way more.
Especially with the first baby, moms may question everything and will most likely seed either a horror movie or a movie too perfect in their mind about the birth process.
Both scenarios will most likely fail to happen.
–> Fathers, you need to be ready to manage that “deception”.
“Is the baby safe?”
“I think I forgot something at home, just don’t know what…”.
“Will the birth be perfect?”
“Will I feel an immediate and unconditional love connection with the baby?”
“Will I be the perfect mom for my baby and be up to the task?”
“If something goes wrong, will you pick me or the baby?…”
Fathers, be ready for the unexpected and the best advice I can give you is to be eyes open.
Of course, your attention will be with the baby but let me ask you to pay special attention to your wife (or partner!).
The baby will be in safe hands with the hospital people. Your wife will be in an emotional turmoil that needs your “peace” and steady arm to ease her mind and help her relax.
Be there with and for her.
Make sure you alleviate her motherhood pressure.
“We’re doing this together.”
“You’ve done wonderfully. The baby is beautiful.”
“He has your nose…” (or whatever part you believe resembles with your wife)
Ease her rush.
Let me give you a short and terrifying, yet true, example.
A day after our son was born, the nurses in our hospital invited all fathers for a quick workshop on what to expect from that moment forward.
The workshop was almost entirely focused on the moms.
One subject they talked about was “postpartum depression”.
At some point in the conversation, one nurse mentioned that sometimes moms feel the urge to kill their kids because they don’t feel they’ll be up to the task of raising that wonderful child.
And the best way to assure child safety is actually killing her.
I was listening to this 24 hours after my first son was born and I was in shock.
I didn’t know what to say. I felt that that was so extreme that it couldn’t be possible. At least not with my wife.
Suddenly a father raised his hand…
“Nurse, I need to talk, I think my wife is having that…”, he said.
I have no idea what happened afterward as I went to be with my wife but it’s really important to look at the signs and, more importantly, to be there for her and listen to her.
She will need your help and attention right now, more than ever.
Related Reading: 5 things we wish we knew as first-time parents
(2) The breastfeeding pressure
This is a sensitive subject and I am sure not all of you will agree but I will still like to share my view as it may help you strengthen yours.
The society expects your wife to breastfeed.
Your mother-in-law, as well as your own mom, will most likely expect that also, and they will both most likely say that to your wife. No pressure, right?
But man, it’s your wife’s breasts and body.
Of course, there are studies saying that it’s important for the babies to be breastfed for a few months but hey, breastfeeding should be a pleasure for the baby as well as for the mom.
If it isn’t, there are alternatives.
Alternatives that will still be healthy for the baby and for the mom.
Fathers, as this is a sensitive subject and everyone around you and your wife will have an opinion, make sure you help your wife take a decision that she is comfortable with.
If she is all about breastfeeding but needs some guidance, this is a book that was highly recommended by some friends of ours.
If she doesn’t want to, speak with your pediatrician and ask for alternatives.
But yes, the message here is simple: at the end of the day, it’s going to be her decision because it’s her breasts and body and your role as a father is to help her in the decision process.
And, ultimately, to support her in the decision and make sure she follows it.
(3) Sexual Activity
Let’s face it.
For most couples, pregnancy is not the best sexual period in their lives.
Most women don’t feel comfortable with their body and being naked, or even the sexual act itself is a major discomfort.
It’s normal and understandable.
(For all moms eavesdropping, you’re still as beautiful to us, but we respect that. It’s hard, but we respect…)
And dads, after the birth, you’re expecting everything to become normal, right?
Firstly, if your wife is having a natural birth, you’ll have to wait for her to heal. Then most moms will still have issues with their body because it won’t go immediately to what it used to be…
You’ll probably have the baby sleeping in your room for a couple of months…
You’re in a highly fertile period and sometimes the best precaution is to avoid having relations at this stage…
Have patience man.
It’s not lack of love or interest.
It’s simply what it is.
But, saying this, be honest as a couple and talk about things.
Including this topic.
It’s tough, I know, but talk about it.
–> Respect each other’s feelings but make sure you talk about them as a couple.
Dads, read this if you’re curious in understanding what may happen with your wife’s body after birth. The last bit of the article is really important.
Bottom-line is: don’t nurture your own expectations thinking that now that the baby is out, your wife will be in the mood and physically ready for sexual relations.
I just wanted to share this with you because it’s a subject that it’s very hard to share or talk about and it is something that really damages relations if not well managed by the couple.
(4) They’ll want to do everything, but they need us to do something
Let’s face it.
Moms will take child care very personally, as something they’ll need to be 100% available and ready.
But odds are that sooner or later they won’t be.
(It’s exhausting just to think some moms have to go through this alone… You are amazing, by the way!)
In my situation, I remember waking up, in the middle of the night when my wife was breastfeeding our baby, just to seat next to her.
I wasn’t needed, as you can imagine, but I still wanted her to understand that I was there to support her, even in tasks where I couldn’t help much.
She literally fell asleep in my shoulder a few times while the baby was feeding himself.
–> Be there for her in any way.
She probably won’t ask for your help in many situations but step forward and offer your help. In fact, don’t offer help, simply do it.
Change the diapers, do the groceries, stay with the baby for a couple of hours and tell her to go to the shopping or go and meet her friends…
Show she can trust you.
You know, although they don’t normally mention it, they feel a lot safer to know that if something happens to them, the baby will be in safe hands.
(5) The first few months are a great entrepreneurial opportunity
I know, sleep deprivation, lack of focus… all valid excuses.
But hey, you’ll both spend more time at home.
And somehow, I feel this is a great time to open ourselves to something new to clear our mind from the normal stresses of newborn care.
It’s easy to think that a new baby is already a major change, that bringing another change will be crazy hard to cope with.
It’s a fair assumption.
But, at the same time and especially for moms, being at home with the baby, sometimes alone because we, fathers, have to go to work, it’s a great time to explore something new.
In fact, in our case, that’s how this and other blogs came to exist.
We love the parenting adventure and we started this blog to share our own experience and, hopefully, help you in your own journey.
It all started after I did a bit of online research and came across the Blog Simple Framework.
After I enrolled on their FREE 13-day Blogging Bootcamp and had the chance to chat with a few bloggers on the inside, I offered my wife the subscription to a few of their courses.
And oh boy what a great idea that was.
That was the perfect escape for her.
She even upgraded to access all their courses.
The course is amazing but what is even more amazing is the Slack Group the Club has where everyone supports each other in their blogging journeys.
It’s amazing to see my wife spending her time in a way she’s loving.
And, by the way, in a profitable way.
By the way, as someone who’s in the Club, if you join the club and need any extra assistance with your blog, just contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Dad, this is a team journey.
And as in any team journey, communication is highly important.
Communication, patience and your attention to the details.
If you can assure these three, you and your wife, as well as the baby, will most likely get through the “firstborn challenge” without any major issue.
But future dad, your role in the process is much more important than you imagine.
Future dads, to support your wife with the newborn, you must identify where your wife struggles or what she fears the most and fill that gap for her.
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Don’t let your wife think she needs to control everything. Both of you will face something completely new and it’s important that you talk a lot to make sure you have a team plan.
Being a father is absolutely amazing, but I can’t imagine doing it without my dear wife.
–> And if I can give her the best conditions and support to be the mom she always dreamt about, she can definitely count on me. Our kids will thank us later.
And it’s not just cheap talk. It’s an action plan.
In fact, it’s this teamwork that helped her be able to join the Blog Simple Framework and be able to generate some solid side income while nurturing our baby.
Happy days, right?
I truly hope this was a useful reading.
Dads and eavesdropping moms, leave a comment below if you enjoyed it or if you have any questions you would like me to answer regarding dad’s view on this subject.
Hopefully, this will help you become less stressed parents. 😉
Just like we teach our kids to ask what they want, I’ll ask you to take a second to share “Future moms, this is what future dads should know before the newborn arrives” with your audience. They respect great content.