Fear-spree of fathers-to-be

Fear-spree of fathers-to-be

Anxiety and fears are very common among fathers-to-be. But they can be overcome with a little effort, enlightens Dr Beena Jeysingh.

Every father feels that he would find it really hard to cope with the diverse fears of becoming a parent. When it comes to being pregnant and giving birth, no doubt the mother is the star of the show, but there are ways for the father to feel more engaged and helpful throughout the journey of parenthood.

Research shows that new mothers are much more successful when their partners are actively involved. Expectant fathers too go through profound changes, even though their bodies don't change. Overcoming fears and assumptions is part of becoming a father.

There are a lot of expectant fathers who find it really hard to cope with the
diverse fears of becoming a parent. While expectant fathers may be boiling with anxiety and worry, they may be reluctant to tell their wives about it, out of compassion.

Some of the most common fears that fathers face are:

Security fears

"Will I be able to protect and provide for my family?" In many families when the first child arrives, there is this sudden, if temporary, shift from two incomes for two people to one income for three.

Fear of "women's medicine"

Men feel embarrassed and inhibited around stirrups and gynecological exams. Hospital examining rooms and delivery rooms are not made comfortable for a father.

Performance fears

To-be-fathers worry they wouldn't be able to perform when their partner is in labour. They are afraid of passing out, throwing up, or getting queasy in the presence of all those bodily fluids.

Self-mortality fears

When a person is a part of the beginning of a life, one can't avoid thinking about the end of life. To-be-fathers start to think about how they are not the youngest generation anymore; their replacement has arrived.

Fear of loss

To-be-fathers fear about how they might lose the baby or that they might lose their partner and have to bring up the baby all alone.

Relationship fears

Expectant fathers often fear that their partner will love the baby more than anyone on earth and exclude them from that intimate relationship. It is a very real fear of being replaced.

Tips to overcome these fears:

*Ensure you and your wife save up as much money as possible, solely for the hospital expenses, baby’s expenses, and your wife’s expenses. This includes maternity clothes, baby products like feeding bottle, baby clothes, diapers, toys, and more. This way, you’ll feel a little financially secure, as you will be prepared in advance, starting right from the moment you hear that “good news”.

* Accompany your wife on every single visit to the doctor. Ask the doctor every single question you may have. Nothing is silly or stupid when it comes to doubts and concerns regarding your wife and your baby. Frequenting the doctors and hospitals, with your wife, will acquaint you with all the “women’s medicines” that you might otherwise feel embarrassed about.

* Watch uncensored birthing videos regularly with your wife. This way, both of you will know more or less exactly what to expect in the delivery room. Also, chew gum or pop an anti-anxiety or anti-sickness chewable pill while entering the labour room. This way, you’ll ensure you’re not going to retch or pass out, when your wife needs you the most.

* Understand that life and death are always a part and parcel of life. And so is old age. It is inevitable. Just give in to the all-new-mature-you and relish every phase of fatherhood and the joys that come with it. If it helps, your wife is ageing with you too. So you are true partners for life, when in youth or old age. Moreover, you might not be the youngest, but you are certainly young enough to bring a new person to this earth!

* It is natural to feel very concerned about your wife and the baby, what with the innumerable visits to the doctor. Just ensure that you are doing your best to keep your wife happy and healthy through her pregnancy and post pregnancy as well. Also, it is advisable to learn taking care of the baby, like changing diaper, clothes, feeding, soothing, and the likes, much before the arrival of your little one. That way, in the worst case scenario that you have to bring up your baby all alone, you are equipped with the required skills. Attend joint parenting sessions with your wife; there are plenty such programmes on the offer these days.

*Suddenly, your wife is not snuggling up to you, or cuddling you. All those cosy and mushy moments seem passe! She is doting on the baby day in and day out. Do not feel anxious; your wife still loves you! It’s just that the baby is more in need of her than you and she is more a mother than a wife at the moment.

Just take it in your stride and join her in doting on your baby. Keep pecking your wife on her cheeks and rubbing her shoulders often, even as you dote on the baby. This will let her know that you love her and the baby alike. Who knows! She might be having the same fears as you - what if you now love the baby more than you love her!

Pregnancy need not be a joyful experience only for the mother-to-be. Fathers-to-be can play a vital role right from the “good news” moment, through the pregnancy, to the delivery, to the baby-sitting, and forever more with the parenting.

All men need to do, is to have an open mind, cherish and pamper their wives through all the phases of motherhood, and they will come to realize that bringing a baby has not only brought parental joys, but has also strengthened their marriage...

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