Preparing for the baby’s arrival.
While the lead up to the arrival of a new baby can be an exciting time for expecting dads, it can also bring challenges as they adjust to their new future.
Adjusting to the idea of becoming a dad can be complicated, confusing and even overwhelming. We know that expecting dads can experience a range of emotions, thoughts and feelings.
Joy and anticipation of what is to come can be mixed with anxiety about the unknown. Even men who have felt able to cope with most things are suddenly facing a future filled with uncertainties they have not had to deal with before.
types of changes
We know that some expecting dads experience complex feelings of loss and grief. They are leaving one life behind, and moving into another. Everyone processes this change differently.
Issues in an expecting dad's family can also have an impact. In fact, their whole idea of family can take on a new meaning. We know that families can be complicated, which can impact how both parents view the impending arrival of the baby.
Other issues can also affect how men deal with impending fatherhood. Pregnancy might mean a family moving to one income, which might bring additional stress both before the arrival of the little one and afterwards.
At the same time, your partner will be going through a whole range of emotions herself which can affect how she feels about herself and also how she relates to you. Changes to a woman’s career, body shape and even clothes sizes can have a real impact on how she sees herself and her identity.
be aware of what you are feeling
Having mixed emotions and experiencing complex changes is normal. However, it can also be confusing and scary. As expecting dads, being prepared for these changes and being open to talking about feelings and facing them head on can help you navigate your transition to parenthood.
Sometimes even being prepared to understand and embrace these changes is not enough. You might still develop antenatal anxiety or depression. If you feel that the changes that happen during pregnancy and the lead up to the birth are causing particularly difficult emotional and mental challenges, then it’s time to seek support.
PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline provides a safe and confidential space for anyone struggling with the challenges of becoming a new parent – including dads. PANDA’s highly trained and caring counsellors will help you work through your challenges by talking openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Preparing for the birth
For many men, the prospect of the actual birthing process can be quite daunting. It’s the most natural thing in the world but still very different from the kinds of things most of us deal with everyday!
There are, however, ways to prepare for it. Most hospitals offer antenatal classes (otherwise known as childbirth education or birth and parenting classes). Some charge a fee for this service. These can fill up quickly, so get in early!
Or you could do something similar but in a less formal setting! Beer n Bubs is a one-night session at pubs all over Australia where as an expecting dad you can learn how to support your partner through the birth of your baby.
PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline
1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT)
If you can’t chat straight away you can ask us a question via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our Helpline team members will get back to you during Helpline hours.