10 Things New Dads Fear Most About the Birth of Their First Baby

 The picture we paint of childbirth is sometimes charming, and sometimes cute, but at times inaccurate. We know it isn’t perfect for mothers but how is it for dads?

Becoming a parent, whether mother or father, is an amazing journey, a wild journey, and sometimes a scary one. Men and women are different so naturally some worries will differ, but this doesn’t make it any less of a fear. Be there for him, just as much as everyone expects him to be there for you before having your first baby, and you will get the pleasure of seeing him thrive not only as a new daddy but as a whole new kind of man with your support.

1. That he won’t know what to do

He is neither confident nor insecure about fatherhood- he is just unsure. Just like you, he is scared of the uncertainty and anxious about the unknowns that every new parent experiences. He doesn’t have as many people telling him it will come naturally, or to just follow his instinct. He doesn’t even know he has an instinct yet, but the worry and the angst will fall to the wayside as soon as he holds his new baby in his arms.

It helps if you don’t point out the way he is doing something that you think is wrong but is really just different than how you would do it. It helps if you ask him for advice every now and then, and it helps if you tell him he’s doing a good job too.

2. Worried he won’t be able to give them a better life than he had

Everyone wants better for their kids. We all hope they don’t turn out like we did and we hope they get to see more, experience more, and be more than us. But fathers have different worries than us. They want to be able to not only get the new baby to sleep, but to fix the problem when they’re crying, and not only to get them to burp after they eat, but to provide. A lot of times the financial responsibility lay with the father and no amount of planning ahead can prepare you for the cost of raising a child.

They wonder if they have saved enough, thought enough about their child’s future, they wonder if they have any right bringing a child into this world when it sometimes feels like all they can do to make it through the day. They have different worries but they also have some of the same worries.

3. Fear of marriage changes

Until now, it has just been the two of you. If you got bored you could go out. If you got horny you could have sex, which would indicate that you weren’t both two exhausted roommates just trying to keep your head above the chaos of that first 6 months. He’s heard a lot about what it’s like after marriage, but even more about life after a new baby. It’s usually brought up with teasing and a little fun torment from other men. But it isn’t a joke, and they know life is going to change forever. They know that their cool wife could turn into the nagging wife, and their laidback wife could turn into the high strung wife after the added stress of a baby, and that scares them just as much as it scares you. But they also know that they picked the right person to do this with and  that takes some of the fear and uncertainty away.

Because when the baby is up for the 10th night in a row screaming his head off and you two look at each other and laugh because if you don’t you’ll cry, and he doesn’t want you to see him cry, he will never be more sure you are the right one or more in love.

4. Delivery problems 

All men want to be able to protect their women, be their safety net, and be their shield and their defense. But they know during delivery that even if they can hold your hand and let you squeeze it tight, it’s out of their hands. It’s in the doctor’s hands, it’s in faith’s hands, it’s in someone else’s hands other than his hands and that scares him. What if something went wrong? You aren’t the only one with these worries, even though most of yours are for your unborn baby, his are more for you because giving birth for the first time is scary.

And because even though he knows you are pregnant with the child you created together, he isn’t carrying the child, the baby isn’t quite yet as tangible as you are to him yet, and he is more scared of losing you.

5. Will she love the new baby more than me? 

Of course you will, but it’s in a different kind of way, it’s a different kind of love, and the teamwork and partnership he will develop with you to care for this new baby will be a kind of love that no other can replace. As long as you remember that this new season is only one season of your lives together, and that it’s a hard season but one that will make you closer and fall in love all over again with each other. Only this time as parents, you will be just as proud of your strong relationship as you are of the new life you created.

6. How helpless the new baby is

He’s scared of that first baby. That teeny tiny creature, that doesn’t talk, doesn’t do anything but sleep, eat and poop. Will he be able to hold the baby’s head right, burp the baby as well as you without hurting him? How is he supposed to know why the baby is crying if the baby can’t even talk to tell him?  He is terrified he will be useless for a while and it’s up to you to make sure it’s not that way. But you have to let him help you. Start out by asking him to help you with things, showing him how if he’s okay with that, and eventually he will catch on and you two will establish a parenting routine.

7. Not connecting

Fathers fear not connecting with their baby too. They are scared the instant love they are supposed to have won’t be there, and they are scared they won’t know how to find it. You are the one carrying the baby, so you have already been developing a bond with your baby while he is patiently waiting for this idea to become a reality. If you have these same fears and anxieties, please don’t be afraid or ashamed to bring them up to him.

Hopefully by admitting you are worried your love won’t be automatic for your unborn child, he will open to you, and you can feel a deeper connection upon your new baby’s arrival feeling even more like a team. 

8. Time to grow up

Nobody wants to grow up once they are there, but that holds especially true for men. He may worry the new baby will suck all the fun out of his life, and out of yours as well, but that little boy side is just what your little bundle of joy will thrive off of when they are with him.

They will love him for the way he can forget the stresses of the real world and revert back to being a little boy even if only for a while and as they grow older it will be something they look forward to.

9. Fear of either a boy or a girl

Both mothers and fathers have their own unique set of fears over having a daughter or a son. Fathers tend to activate their instant protector mode the minute they lay eyes on their daughter. They also turn into a ball of mush the older she gets. They know how men think, and worse, how teenage boys think, because they once were one. Suddenly, they understand why all their girlfriends’ dads were so hostile in the beginning, and that scares them for the day she is out on her own. He doesn’t want that to come. With his son, he wants to prepare him to take on the world, to handle responsibility and handle the world- make him into a good man.

More importantly, he wants to make him into a better man than he was, is , and ever could be. You see in him what he can’t see in himself, so remind him that he always was the kind of man he hopes his son to turn out to be. Remind him with a father like him, you are bound to have an amazing son that you are proud of. 

10. Fear of not being good enough

The very fact that he cares enough to even be worried about whether or not he will be worthy of your unborn child means he cares. He won’t be perfect, just like you won’t be. He will have good days and bad days just like you will. He may be a sad dad in the first couple of sleepless weeks or months, or he may be a bad dad down the road when the stress from work or any other of life issues interfere, but the very fact that he cares about this and worries about this makes him a good dad. Remind him of this.

Once the  hurricane of emotions arrive from hormones, and from finally meeting the new life you have created together, life starts moving fast. Talk to him about the above fears before the baby arrives, especially the ones that scare you too. Talk to him during those first few hard months about what your biggest challenge is, it may be his too. This is a new season in your life where it is more important than ever to stay on the same page as much as you can, and weather the storm that is parenthood.

What are some of yours or your partner’s fears when it comes to newborns and parenting? Let us know in the comments!

(Image: iStock / monkeybusinessimages)

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