Author Nancy Robison knows firsthand what new parents go through, and she shares her experiences in her book just for fathers. In Dear Son: About Your Baby, she provides a roadmap for new Dads. Here's what to expect in the near future!
What Is Expected of You Dad
Your dear wife, the mother of your child, is probably glowing right now with the good news.
Then, in a few weeks, she may feel a little sick in the mornings and unable to look at food. That means it's up to you to feed yourself. Remember what you learned in Survival 101? Well, it will come in handy now. And be patient with her. Be flexible. Go with the flow. It is miserable to feel nauseous all the time.
But it only lasts a couple of weeks: Her eating quirks will change and she may want to eat everything in sight — and every half hour — followed by stopping in the bathroom every 10 minutes. If she loved chicken before and hates it now, be understanding. Now she can't get enough California rolls. (It used to be pickles, now it's sushi!) Funny how that goes, but you, again, will have to be patient and understanding. Love her. Don't forget why you got married. She's a great companion and friend, and now she's going to be the mother of your child. And you will both try to keep your sense of humor and not let any of the little upsetting things send you off balance.
Oh, and by the way, just because she may start eating for two doesn't mean you need to keep her company. No midnight snacks for you! You are no longer a growing boy, and extra weight now, my dear, is going to look like love handles on you. She's the one who's pregnant, not you!
Life will go along normally for a while. Then, after being tired for weeks, she will suddenly have unbounded energy and start cleaning floors, ceilings, closets. This is part of the nesting instinct.
And this may be a good time to take her on a romantic weekend. Pamper her (it may be your last chance for a while). After baby comes, life changes, whether you want it to or not. You may say, "Oh, this baby is not going to change our lifestyle." Actually, you can say it, but your lifestyle can't help but change. That is, if you are a conscientious parent. Sure, you can still go hiking and skiing, but now on your back will be a 20-pound package. That's a change!
Your wife won't show for several months (pooch out, that is). But then your lovely wife will not be feeling very lovely or pretty. At times she will be awkward, a little helpless and off-balance. She may do some complaining — can't sleep, can't get enough exercise, etc.
Try to help her when you can. Remember, this baby started with love, and he or she needs to be loved every day.
Imagine how you would feel carrying around an extra eight or ten moving pounds in your stomach! (Try carrying a five-pound sack of flour around with you all day. See how you like it.)
Take her for walks. Cheer her up. Help her to think about something besides what is going on inside her. Get her an extra pillow or two for more comfortable sleeping. Remember, she can't turn over very well and needs the support under her stomach.
And there's more you can do. She will want you to paint and decorate the spare room, or clear out the space in your bedroom or closet, or wherever, to make room for Junior. Don't grumble. This is part of growing up, my dear. But you know that you are looking forward to this event just as much as the rest of us. Just look a few years ahead to a brand-new Little Leaguer or maybe a little ballerina in a pink tutu.
Before painting any room for baby, be sure to use nontoxic products and ventilate the room well for at least six weeks to allow any fumes to release and leave. Make baby's environment clean, new, beautiful, and safe.