Fatherhood: When The Worries Settle In

National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome

Most men initially respond to their spouse/significant others conception with intense joy, excitement and pride. Some may settle into a brooding, contemplative state where they internalize most of their concerns. Below is a list of things you may be concerned about as a new father. It is important to address these concerns with your partner prior to the birth of your new infant.

Concerns for Fathers

father and baby at computer

Loss of “Me” Time
As a new father, a man may not be as spontaneous or flexible with his time as he was before. Soon a complete stranger will become his top priority. It may take a great deal of reassurance and support from friends and family for dad to accept the idea that fatherhood can be the best experience of his life.

Financial Worries
Some dads may feel overwhelmed with the financial demands of starting a family. Cribs, car seats, diapers and formula quickly start to add up. Couples should allow some time to shop around and look for good prices.

Capacity as Father
Fathers need to be prepared for a profound sense of permanency. Every aspect of life will be different now. Dads may be wondering if they’re going to be any good at being a father or compare themselves to their own fathers. It’s also normal for dads to be concerned about their performance at the hospital, but they should keep in mind that they probably won’t faint and surely they won’t be expected to boil water.

Mortality Issues
It can be very sobering for fathers to realize that they are suddenly going to become the adult in a relationship and an instant role model for their child. They may also become aware that should anything happen to them, the mother would have to raise their child alone. Dads should be encouraged to reconsider some of their unacceptable risky habits like smoking, or heavy drinking.

Concerns for Dad and Mom

frustrated father

Health Concerns for Mom and Baby
Even with the fullest understanding of the process of pregnancy, fathers may still be nervous or afraid for the health of the mother and baby. Learning as much as possible about pregnancy and asking questions at the doctor visits can be reassuring. Dads shouldn’t be afraid to ask any question that comes to mind about the pregnancy, labor, and delivery at these visits.

Relationship Fears
This experience can be the greatest experience that couples will have together, but it’s normal for men to be concerned about how it will alter the relationship with their spouse. Every aspect of a relationship will undergo some changes. Sexual intimacy, physical and social activities will all be influenced as fathers and mothers learn to think and function as a family. However, it’s important for everyone to know that life can return to normal after the birth and that the couples can enjoy time again as friends and lovers.

Frustration with Her Physical Condition and Emotional State
Fathers need to understand that changes that occur to their spouse’s body may be as foreign to them as they are to the mother. She will rise and swell in places and proportions men never thought possible! It’s important for dads to be very open about their concerns because she is likely having many of the same thoughts and feelings. Men should approach topics carefully, realizing that a simple comment, intended as a compliment may seem horribly insensitive to the spouse. Also, it can be discouraging for some men to think that their spouse’s body and temperament will be forever changed, so it is important for dads to keep in mind that her body and personality can get back to normal again in due time.