If you have recently received the news that you are an expecting father, congratulations and welcome to the fraternity. The nine month period packed with all of the excitement and anxiety that surrounds having a baby is a rite of passage. Be careful though not to downplay the situation too much either. Fatherhood is a job not to be taken lightly, and popular media doesn’t always portray the experience realistically. As a father-to-be, here is one thing you should do, one thing you should be prepared for, and one thing you should avoid to reduce the stress before the big day.
One Thing You Should Do When Having A Baby
When having a baby, make every medical appointment a priority. The mother of the child will greatly appreciate the gesture, and my wife and I discovered on just about every occasion that we remembered different details of the appointment. It was much easier to ensure we were both informed as things progressed. Your attendance may adjust with later pregnancies, but if this is your first try to make each one. If you cannot arrange to make every appointment, here are some highlights of which appointments may be of more paramount importance, from the perspective of medical professional.
Tip: Write down your questions before you go to each appointment, especially if only one of you can make it. For the most important appointment, the trip to the hospital, do everything you can to be ready. As the mother-to-be begins packing like she is going on vacation for several weeks, it can become easy to make jest of the scene, and think all you might need is a toothbrush. The truth is, you have no control over how long you may be in the hospital, or even necessarily when you go, and once you are there, you will find it difficult to step away for very long. I brought one change of clothes, we ended up being in the hospital for 3 nights. Lesson learned.
One Thing You Should Be Prepared For
A medical professional will probably say something to scare you at some point. This is not done intentionally but, as I quickly discovered in sharing my own experiences, seems to be quite common. Mike Stanley and his wife were having a baby who’d been diagnosed with dwarfism prior to birth, and had just been cleared by a pediatric cardiologist for normal heart function, when another doctor came in following a skeletal ultrasound to deliver different news – “I have to be honest with you, your child has some very serious issues going on. But, you never know. He could surprise us and make it.” When he questioned the different report, the doctor turned to the sonogram tech to ask about the chest measurements. “He hadn’t even read the results of our ultrasound or echo that we had just driven 3 hours for,” said Stanley.
Tip: Expect the unexpected. At some point, you may be told something scary. Before accepting diagnoses or news as final consult with the mother-to-be, ask questions, do some research, and seek out a second opinion if necessary.
One Thing You Should Avoid
Taking unsolicited parenting advice as truth or fact. Just because some technique worked for another couple and their child, does not mean that it will fit your circumstances. Adam Griffin, father, received his most memorable ‘advice’ in the form of a message through social media from a stranger.
“After our son passed away, someone I didn’t know wrote on my Facebook wall a stat about the percentage of marriages that end in divorce after the loss of a child. A small part of me was grateful because it made me more aware, but for the most part I was befuddled why someone would choose those words at a time like that.”
Tip: Though every piece of advice is not right for your family, don’t be so quick to ignore it. Listen carefully, they are only trying to help. You may need their advice later, and your parenting approach will likely be a blend of everything you’ve experienced, read, and heard.
Featured photo credit: anieto2k via imcreator.com