You have got the baby’s room painted and the crib is all assembled in the corner. You are feeling confident that you are ready for that little bundle of joy due any day now but also secretly nervous that you may buckle under the pressure. You feel like having a stiff drink but are afraid to in case the baby comes while you are passed out.
Your nerves are all over the place and while you have pasted on a smile to reassure her that you are up to the challenge no one has reassured you that it will all be okay. Well, it will be. It is natural to be nervous as being a father is a huge commitment that actually lasts long pass the stipulated 18 years of expenses because one ever stops being a parent. Instead of being overwhelmed, get excited about all the smiles, first step, first words, sports days, family vacations and homework around the table you have to look forward to. If you are committed to the process, you already have it in the bag.
First things first: while in the delivery room you do not have to actually watch the baby come out of her private parts. Do not let anyone try to force you to watch the ‘miracle of life’ only for you to end up with a concussion because you passed out on the floor. It is perfectly okay to stay by her head and observe all of the goings-on from there.
Now after you get the baby home, help out as much as possible, do not wait on the mother to ask you to wash the bottles or to have to beg you to change a diaper. Pitch right in. She may be tired, sore and cranky. Who would not be when they have a whole other human feeding off their breasts for hours every day?
And for all the men who do not want to clean poop… just do it as Nike said. It is a part of parenting and after a while, you get used to the smell (well that is not true but it sure sounds good!). If she has good family support or some bonafide friends, rope them in to coming over and doing babysitting duties as much as possible for her to get the opportunity to shower, wash her hair and take a breather when she needs to without fretting about the baby. That being said, while you need the help, you also have to be the watchdog to recognise when she needs alone time with her child to bond.
She is going to be moody at times. Don’t worry, it is nothing personal. Most of the times it may be the result of her sleep deprivation. If so, rise to the occasion and get up when the baby wakes in the middle of the night and let her sleep even twice for the week. It shows that you care, understand and that you are in it for the long haul.
Story written by C.W.
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