Because the physical changes of pregnancy happen to the woman, it is easy to forget the man is also a part of the pregnancy.
The adjustments of the expectant father relate to your changing roles, in preparing for fatherhood and your response to the physical and emotional changes occurring in your pregnant partner.
Feelings you may experience are:
- Feelings of virility and accomplishment
- An awakening to emotions concerning your own family, your past, and present relationship with your own father and mother
- It may remind you of your own childhood
- You may feel yourself becoming more nurturing and protective
- You may worry about the baby's health and your partners' safety
- You may have feelings of anxiety about becoming a father
- A fear of financial burdens
- Feelings of jealousy and loneliness because of your partner's preoccupation with the baby and herself and lack of involvement with you
- You may experience physical signs of pregnancy; weight gain, irritability, food cravings, and backaches
- Your sexual feelings may change toward your partner including a fear of hurting your partner or the fetus during intercourse
Ways to ease into fatherhood include:
- Be included in office visits, ultrasounds, and decision making
- Go shopping for the baby yourself
- Participate in childbirth education and new baby care classes
- Openly discuss your feelings with your partner, friends, and family
- Understand that the course of pregnancy is a natural time to explore and affirm your identity as a parent
Reprinted with permission from Her Health Care.