“What to Expect when she’s Expanding…”

**I was asked by a parenting magazine to put together some thoughts to help dads support mom before and after the birth. I realize most of you have already passed this wonderful stage, but I hope you enjoy reading and thinking back to those days – am I accurate?   Can you share anything I have missed?    Part 2 is next week!

In researching “life before baby”, I was shocked to hear of a code among moms. Apparently there is ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” motto that moms NEVER share the ‘real deal’ on the painful birthing details to expectant moms.

I want to begin a code for dads. We need to share EVERYTHING about the awesomeness of becoming a dad. Dad needs to hear how much better and richer their life will become!

When I talk to expectant dads, I am often surprised at their reaction when I tell them how much better my life really did get when my son was born. “Really?” “Seriously?” “For Realzy?”

“Yes absolutely!, I say, “I can draw a line in the sand to my boring life THEN, and my amazing life now!” Yes, your relationship may change, routines and time are not yours anymore, and your Xbox time may be negatively affected, but your life will change for the better – I promise… click here if you need to be convinced — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP-Sxfntdb4

Here is my executive Dad summary from ALL the “What to expect…” books. You are BOTH pregnant. Big changes are coming for both of you! Yes, she is doing most of the heavy lifting and getting most of the attention (and rightly so), but expectant dads cannot be ignored or forgotten.

As a soon-to-be dad, you may have fears and anxiety. That’s completely normal – from financial fears “Can we afford this?” to spatial fears “Can we all fit in this house?’ to the most common fear, “Will I be a good dad?” That answer is a resounding YES because you will do the work and invest the time it takes to be a great dad. It’s our job as the “other dads” in your life to remind you of the awesomeness of becoming a dad.   Trust us, we love being dads and so will you!

In the months leading up the birth, the number one thing likely bothering her is you (aside from killer heartburn, throwing up, raging scary hormones, weight gain, and general overall discomfort). From the way you unload groceries, to your parallel parking, even the way you breathe as you fall asleep may become sources of irritation. Things that you have been doing for a long time may suddenly cause friction and unrest. Relax, it’s all good.

Instead of looking skywards and muttering “unbelievable!”, try to be understanding and compassionate. She likely doesn’t mean any of it. Her body is changing and getting ready for the miracle of life.   Try to always choose kindness and be gentle.

Leading up to the birth, try to be at every appointment – as a support but also to educate yourself on what’s happening. This is baby thing is a big deal and your partner needs to know you are as excited/terrified and informed as she is.

Read every article and book that is passed to you.  Go to pre-natal classes together.  Aside from the great bonding time with mom, you will connect with other dads that are just as excited/terrified as you.

Now the birth of your child is right around the corner and you are both ready. You are informed and excited for the greatest chapter of your life to begin!

Next week I will touch on the tips and advice to not only survive, but thrive within the first year of babyhood!

Until next time…

Did I miss anything?  Is there anything else expectant fathers should know?  Please post your comments?

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