Let’s face it. Hardly anyone thinks about Dad’s needs when a new baby is born. The baby is helpless and needs constant care. The mom gets some notice because she did the birthing bit. The dad is usually expected to be the caretaker, or to get back to work and let the mom handle things.
But dads are also experiencing a huge change in their lives. So let’s talk about how you can find your way through it.
Have a plan for your emotions.
You’re going to have them. Seeing your wife in labor might be a really intense experience. Holding your child for the first time is going to be radically different from any other child you might have held before. Whether you can write about it, or talk with a friend or older man, or schedule a session with your therapist ahead of time just to talk about the birth… do it! This goes doubly if you weren’t raised around kids, had absent parents, or deal with anxiety about your own ability to be a dad.
You might not be as exhausted as your partner who just worked the equivalent of a marathon, but your need for rest doesn’t go away just because someone else is more tired. Get the rest you need when you can so you can be at your best when you aren’t able to rest. Also get as much time off work as humanly possible.
Don’t worry about the mess.
New life is messy, but when given the choice between cleaning the bathroom and curling up next to your partner and a tiny cooing bundle of pure adorableness, choose the one that will build connection and lay the foundation for a joyful family.
Most of all, try to enjoy this period, it goes by fast!
The Discovery Box Team