Congratulations to all dads to be! Particularly if this is you and your wife/partners first baby! It is a very special, lovely, and exciting time. It can also be a little scary, which is completely normal as it involves a big change to your lives.
It is a good time to start thinking about what it means to you to be a good dad and supportive partner.
Here are some thoughts and tips
Be as inquisitive and supportive as possible. Pregnancy is an amazing phenomenon. Get informed early through reading, watching programmes and talking to your friends and family about their valuable experiences. It is also helpful to attend antenatal appointments, antenatal classes, ultrasounds etc if you can, and ask any questions you have.
Your GP Obstetrician would only be too happy to talk.
Talk to each other too. Support your wife/partner in the important stuff like healthy eating, exercise, rest, sleep and the natural changes in her body and mind through pregnancy.
Be prepared also to be open minded to learn about labour, delivery and newborns. This may include some uncomfortable (but perfectly natural) concepts such as labour pain, labour length, blood and baby stuff such as crying, settling, nappies and breast feeding. Ensure support and learning continues post birth.
Very important also are issues related to mental health. You may have feelings of anxiety, worry, helplessness, tiredness, low mood etc. You may worry about the new responsibility of being a dad and looking after your growing family. These are all normal feelings, but it is very important to talk about and share them. Particularly if they are becoming overwhelming.
Utilise the support networks available to you and stay connected to your family and friends – those who have children particularly are a great support.
Do not hesitate to talk to your GP about any of this. There are lots of things that can be done to help and many ways to deal with these common psychological and emotional issues. You are never alone. Post-natal mental health can affect dad’s too.
Overall, there are many great (if new) times ahead and lots to look forward to.
If you would like to read more, these websites have some great resources for dad’s and dad’s-to-be:
This article has been written by Dr David Ward