Preparing New Dad's for the Birth
Many men describe becoming a father as a roller coaster ride, something with its ups and downs, excitement and scares - all at the same time. Fatherhood is a journey, one which can be challenging, demanding, rewarding, fulfilling and ultimately one of the most important achievements in any man's life.
New fathers that have watched their child being born have reported a range of experiences - from being the greatest, most joyous experience in their lives, to the anguish of seeing their partner in extreme pain. New fathers often have strong thoughts and feelings about the birth process, which they may not tell anyone about and keep to themselves. Difficult thoughts and feelings can be intensified if the birth did not go as planned or there are problems for the mother or baby.
Most fathers and mothers feel a bit 'all over the place' after the birth. They often feel excited and proud about the new baby, but equally overwhelmed and exhausted by the whole process. Many mothers and fathers may be confused and not really know what they think or feel about it. There is no right or wrong way to feel. All responses at these times are natural. Although, it is important to pay attention to each other's wellbeing following the birth of your child.
Think about your supports
Who can you ask for advice and practical support when your baby is born? Most new fathers and mothers need help at some point. This can include help around the house like cleaning and preparing meals. Who's going to do the shopping? How about daily errands? You migh have other children to care for. Who can help with this? Any family or friends? And how about some emotional and social support for you and your partner. Do you have some friends or family members who you can lean on when things get hard? Any mates that can help out in some way? And, how about professional and community supports? Do you know what's out there?
Best to think about and even plan for these supports before the baby comes along. It's great if you have them in place beforehand, or at least have a clear idea of who you can get support from in the early days of parenting. And remember, don't refuse any reasonable offer of help...... it could make all the difference!
Organising Time Off Work
Dads regularly tell us that this is an area that is challenging for them. Like many others, you may now be on a single-income. How will you balance financial responsibilities with spending time with your new baby? There is no set rule, yet we know that this early period in your baby's life is so very important and critical to his or her long term development - and it's time that never comes back!
Think about how much time you want to take off and why. Then, check with your partner and workplace about their expectations. Some workplaces are more flexible than others. In others, fathers have to strongly advocate for themselves. Remember, spending time with your baby in the early period is one of the most valuable acts you can perform for your child.
Some fathers can:
Take an extended period off work.
Work from home.
Start later or finish earlier on some days.
Work less overtime.
Save weekends for family.
Plan for their time at home to be absolute quality time between them and their new baby.
Try to keep in mind that most new fathers have a very long work life in front of them, yet those precious early experiences of their child's life are limited to that moment in time.
The following is a list of things some Dads have found useful to organise for the birth:
Dads hospital kit – what you can bring with you:
- Camera/video - with a charger.
- A supply of favourite food and drinks.
- Something to read, games to play and music to listen to to help pass the time.
- Some clean clothes, tooth brush, toiletries, any medications.
- Change for cards for vending machines, telephones and parking.
- Mobile phone.
- A note pad and pen for writing.
- Baby capsule with anchor points securely fitted in your car.
When: 20 Feb, 1:30pm
Birth to 4 months: A 5-week series of workshops for parents with a newborn baby. Each workshop covers a wide range of topics about you and your new baby and provides the opportunity to meet and connect with other new parents in your local area.