I have known for a long time that I wanted to be a dad, but we weren’t sure when the timing was right to begin even thinking the time was right. My wife and I both love to travel and wanted to go on a big adventure before we decided to have kids. The plan was made that we were going to go on a 3 week trip to Croatia, Italy & Greece with some other couple friends of ours; this trip was supposed to take place in the Summer of 2020…… enter COVID-19 to the picture to put a abrupt halt to any travel plans we were concocting. Once this trip was officially off the table, my wife and I made the decision that now was the best time, as we were not sure when we would be able to travel again, needless to say plans changed!!
Our first decision with trying to start a family was when did we want to try to have our baby? Do we try to plan it so they are the oldest in their class, or the youngest, or somewhere in the middle? We then looked at the best scenarios for the both of us to be off work together to ensure we would be there to support each other… no surprise, we choose to be off in the summer. We wanted the little one to be born before summer would be in full swing, so we would be able to enjoy it as a new family of 3. With all of that said, we decided that a fall baby would be the best, and with no surprise our plans were thrown out the window – we were on track for a Christmas/New Year’s baby. Our first lesson learned, parents must be adaptable with plans – even the best thought out plans, hardly come to fruition as anticipated. The importance of flexibility was shown early and often, and it has since been something that continues to be tested as we work towards arrival!
I can still remember the day when I found out I was going to be a dad. We had gone for a hike in mid April and we were casually discussing that our first attempt wasn’t successful. Again, flexibility was needed as we schemed up our next plan and tried to decipher if we did something wrong. Fast forward to the afternoon of the same day in mid April and my wife brings out a big present and hands it to me – I was caught off guard and thought someone had dropped off a belated birthday present, but it was waaaaaay better than that!
My first thought after getting the news, was what is my job now as a soon to be Dad? What do I do as an expecting dad?! I did what any new dad would do and went and completed a Google search. My first impression when I searched for advice was that there is a lot of advice for new moms, but there wasn’t as much out there for new dads. I came across a YouTube account entitled Dad University with the focus being on advice for new and expecting dads. Like most dads to be (I assume), I had no idea what I was supposed to do now that we have a little peanut on the way.
The second thought I had was to head to Amazon and look for pregnancy books that outline the entire pregnancy that would give my wife and I the support as to what to expect in the upcoming 9 months. I was able to find 2 resources that have helped us better understand the pregnancy process. I was able to purchase and find a first time dad’s handbook called “ We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Handbook” and the second was another book called “Pregnancy, Childbirth and The Newborn Complete Guide”. Both of these books have been great in helping us understand what is happening throughout the whole process. In later posts, I will go into more specifics of some of the more important or crucial (to us) aspects that these books have helped us on.
In the end, after watching the videos from Dad University and beginning the reading of my Dad Handbook, I learned 3 significant lessons going forward that will be crucial during my wife’s pregnancy:
- Focus on the pregnancy and not the baby (yet)! The focus needed to be on my wife and what she was going through and experiencing, since she is the one who will be carrying this baby for 9 months, going through so many changes physically, mentally and emotionally. It was important for me to be there for whatever she needed, whenever she needed it. Be present and focus on the now!
- Be grateful! Being able to bring new life into this world is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly; it’s amazing! Be sure to show gratitude towards your significant other or whomever is carrying your child. They are doing something soooo far out of their comfort zone, we as new dads, need to take every opportunity to show gratitude for the opportunity they are providing us with in a short 9 months.
- Be Patient and supportive! The changes that come with pregnancy begin immediately. Your wife is likely going to be stressed, scared, or feeling incapable of carrying a child or being a mother. We, as expecting dads, need to be patient and assure them that everything is going to be ok and we will get through things together. They are likely feeling isolated already with the changes forthcoming, so we need to do our best to make them feel like they are not alone!
Until next time,