Start by reading the first article What are future fathers thinking about?
I always ask pregnant women is they have a book about pregnancy. Almost all of them have several books on the topic, surf the web for more information on babies and watch TV shows about mothers and babies (A baby story, Bringing home baby, etc…). When I ask future fathers the same question, the answer is very different. Only a minority of them have read pregnancy books, and most often, they have read it with their spouse. The general attitude with men is that they’ll deal with it when the baby arrives. Until then they have to set up the nursery, get their finances on track and enjoy life!
Amazingly, more and more fathers are questioning whether to use disposable or washable diapers for financial reasons ($2000/year versus $400), but also for environmental reasons. One night, a group of men had a very intense discussion about this very modern dilemma. Times are changing!
Sexuality after birth
Most prospective fathers that I meet have already seen their sex life change because of their spouse’s pregnancy. They have already noticed the effects of this important event on their intimacy. However, most men are not aware that their sex life will change again after the birth. Some will tell me that they will probably have a month-long “sex break” after birth but expect everything to go back to normal afterwards!
I am not a specialist on the matter but this scenario seems a little too optimistic. If the woman had an episiotomy or suffering tearing, the delay might be longer. Sleepless nights, breastfeeding, mental and physical fatigue and baby blues are all factors that can contribute to making the “sex break” longer. Telling fathers about these possibilities prevents many deceptions, and even important frustrations.
Most future fathers have their own fathers as role models. If most men recognize having had a good father, they still want to be more present in their children’s lives, be more affectionate, play more and have a stronger bond with them.
Many men have their mothers as a parental role model. Mothers are usually the most present parent, the one who was there during the most important moments and with whom the child is most attached.
It is important to know that future fathers who have not known their father, or have had a difficult relationship with him, want to do everything in their power to have a great relationship with their own child. In a certain way, they are healing their own childhood wounds.
Men who go to prenatal classes are quite optimistic about their capabilities as future fathers. If most fathers are afraid of being clumsy with the baby, of not being able to change dirty diapers or of not waking up at night to give the bottle, most of their fears revolve around the baby rather than with the baby itself. How can they maintain a balance between family, work and friends? How can they be as present for the baby as they would like? These underlying fears will rarely be talked about but they can eat up a father-to-be from the inside out.
We often hear of couples who promise each other that nothing will change once the baby is born. Big denial! No matter what is said or done, the arrival of a child will change the parents’ lives forever!