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You are either about to become a father or have recently become one!

EFP-image3The Expectant Father
The moment you find out that you’re going to be a father is probably one of the most exciting of your life. You’ll probably feel just as emotional about the news as your partner does. Talk to your partner about the pregnancy and get involved in plans for the birth. Allow your unborn baby to become as big a part of your life as you can. After all, this great event is something that’s happening to both of you, not just your partner.

Understanding your feelings
For the first couple of months your partner will look much the same as usual and you may find the fact that you’re expecting a baby hard to take in. Don’t worry if your feelings about the pregnancy aren’t the same as hers at first; your experiences are very different. A couple doesn’t suddenly become one person with one set of feelings just because they’re having a baby together. Later on, when you see your partner’s body beginning to change and you’ve seen your baby on an ultrasound scan and felt their first movements, the idea of having a child of your own will become more realistic.

You may find at this time that your feelings of joy and excitement are mixed with fears and worries about how your life will be affected and whether you’ll be able to cope financially. There’s no doubt that having a child can be an extra financial burden, especially if one of you is going to give up your job to care for your baby, but don’t rush into making life-changing decisions. You may find that having time to spend with your child becomes much more important to you than making money or providing material possessions.

Getting involved
When you’re an expectant father you’re likely to feel not quite in control of things. You may feel something of an outsider and well-meaning female friends and relatives may assume you’re not really involved and seem to push you out of what the see as their territory. Medical professionals, such as obstetricians and midwives, will understandably direct their conversations to your partner more than to you.

Take the initiative
Don’t just step back and allow your female relatives and friends to become more involved than you. Talk to your friends and colleagues: some may tease you at first but you’ll probably find other fathers will be keen to share their experiences with you. Try to find out as much as you can about the pregnancy so that you can understand what’s happening in your partner’s body. Go with her to the scans so that you can see your baby developing, talk about the fact that you’re going to be a father, and ask as many questions as you want.

Plan for the birth together
Talk to your partner about the type of birth that she wants and how best you can be involved. Talk to your employer about taking time off for antenatal appointments and classes as well as for the birth and afterwards, so that you can spend some time at home with your partner after your baby is born.

The birth plan
Go through the birth plan together, but don’t impose your views. If she feels strongly about certain aspects, such as trying for a drug-free labour, respect her feelings but make sure you both know the pros and cons. Some men worry they’ll feel squeamish at the birth but few are. Witnessing the birth of your child is probably one of the most moving things that will ever happen to you, and holding your baby in the first few seconds after the birth not only helps bond the two of you, but is a tremendous emotional experience.