No matter how prepared you think you are, the reality of becoming a new dad is often more complex than it may seem. Dads can feel overwhelmed by all the changes happening in their lives and in their families, and many dads feel disconnected from what it was like to be just a mom. Don’t lose heart, though! This post will outline some coping mechanisms for feeling stressed out as well as how to establish good parenting skills from the get-go.
How does it feel like to be a new dad?
One of the things we hear from new dads all the time is that they feel lost and alone after their babies are born. This can be very discouraging, especially when you thought that you had prepared yourself before the baby’s birth. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, most men reported feeling as if they were not ready for fatherhood during their partner’s pregnancy and worried about being good dads.
One way to prepare yourself is to keep in mind that there will be lots of little changes as well as some big changes in your life after your baby is born. Here are some things you can expect:
Your daily routine is going to change
Your daily routine changes. You will need to have your partners help in carrying your baby around. This means that you will be responsible for doing everything around the house. The domestic responsibilities include helping with cooking, cleaning and laundry, and other household chores as well as the baby’s care (bathing, feeding etc.). You may feel a little overwhelmed by these new responsibilities as it was not part of your original expectations after marriage.
You might not be ready for this change
You may not feel ready for this change in your life and start doubting yourself. Your partner will start a very new life as well. She goes from being pregnant to being a mother, and she has her own new responsibilities. She may be worried about her ability to take care of the baby, including worries about breast feeding or other health issues with the baby.
Your relationship can be in a spike
More than likely, you are now in a different space in your relationship with this partner than you were before the baby was born. There are so many big changes happening around you that it is normal for your relationship to change too. Sometimes, these changes can bring couples even closer together, but sometimes they can also cause tensions and hurt feelings–be it from lack of sleep or hormones fluctuating while their partners’ change weekly routines.
Not the time to get discouraged
Don’t get discouraged if this is happening to you. The first few weeks after the baby arrives can be very difficult emotionally for all involved, but be assured that many of these changes are temporary and will work themselves out over time. Also, be sure to allow yourself some time to adjust to your new role as a father and care for your baby without feeling guilty about taking time off from work or worrying about being a bad father if you do not have enough time with the baby.
However, if this becomes too easy, it can be difficult to keep in mind that these women are not the same as your first partner (and may never be). Many men who have children through anonymous assisted conception see their relationships with their children through rose-colored glasses. If you feel like there is no more love left for your first partner after the birth of your child, it can be very hard for you to develop healthy feelings for a new partner.
It is going to be a better change
Your new baby’s needs change with time and growth. Even if you have been a parent before, your baby is totally unique and requires very specific care. Before the baby’s birth you were not physically caring for this new life form, but now you are. For adults, the needs of their newborn are quite different from any other child they have cared for. It could be stressful to look at your newborn baby and see a direct resemblance to the person he or she once was (and still may be).
You will need to establish healthy boundaries with your partner. If you feel that your partner can do nothing right, then it can become difficult to establish good parenting skills or create healthy limits for yourself.