Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.
We all know the fact that pregnant women experience a variety of emotions and life changes. But most first-time dads have their own feelings and concerns to deal with, too. A lot of fathers dread that the moment the baby will be born, their lives would end. Their personal life would take a back seat and so would their partners’. They would hardly have time to make for each other. All this reservation gets nullified, when hanging out with your baby and doing things together makes it beautiful and is better than any individual pursuits.
If you feel shocked, panicked, overwhelmed, scared, or like you’re just not ready, you’re not alone. Like any big change, this will require a major adjustment. And if the pregnancy wasn’t planned — half of all pregnancies aren’t — you may be feeling these emotions even more intensely.
You don’t have to feel guilty or anxious about having mixed emotions; it’s completely normal. And you can take steps to get more comfortable with the pregnancy, the idea of parenthood, and the preparations that can make both go as smoothly as possible.
A lot of fathers question themselves if they will be capable of caring for a baby. The fact is that no one is born knowing this stuff, not even your pregnant partner — that’s why there are childbirth classes. Depending on what’s available in your area, you can take classes as early as the 12th week of pregnancy or one that focuses just on the day of labor and can be taken as late as the eighth month. And some communities offer classes designed just for first-time dads.
Most classes teach the daily activities of handling a child starting from diaper changes to feeding to childproofing your home. You’ll also learn where to park your car when you get to the hospital, how to get through labor, and how to care for your baby and your partner when you get home from the hospital.
It’s great that you also end up meeting other guys going through the same experience who might be dealing with similar feelings, and that can be a huge help. The nurses and childbirth educators who lead these classes have seen dads in a variety of emotional states, so don’t feel embarrassed or hesitant about asking them for help.