Father’s Lesson #1:  Your Life is no longer your own (and ceased at the moment of conception)

Wrap your head around the fact that your life is now very different from what it was before.  The idea of thinking in terms of three is easier for your mate since she’s driven by in-born nesting instincts with which you are simply not equipped.

You probably noticed a change in your mate when she found out that she was pregnant.  Some of these changes are insidious and others more apparent.  In many instances, she changes her diet either because of nutrition or her stomach just can’t handle the food.  She might change exercise and health regimens and re-examine recreational activities.  If you missed these, you’ll understand when you find that she’s painted the nursery in bilious, glossy primary colors.

The pregnancy can be a delightful, insightful, confusing and stressful time for the expectant father.  Find a good source of information – What to Expect When You’re Expecting is the bible – and pay close attention to your mate.  Armin Brott’s The Expectant Father is another good source, written from the dad’s perspective.

While she will probably want to handle the more personal issues, take a different view and help create the structure within which she can build the nest.  Do you have a will and durable power of attorney?  Does she?  These mundane, boring boilerplate issues matter because you are now thinking for a third – and utterly helpless – person.  Who will care for your child?  Will they be responsible for financial management of the estate as well?  What are the appropriate financial needs if either of you, or both, die?  Is there sufficient insurance to provide for these contingencies?

Even after your new child arrives, there will be major differences.  There are huge domestic demands for caring for a baby, both in the child’s personal care as well as meeting the requirements of running the house.  The together time – romantic or otherwise – is probably going to suffer so don’t take it personally.  And earlier decisions that were previously simple must now account for the child.  Want to eat out?  Can we afford it and can we take Junior along?  If not, where can I find a dependable babysitter and can we afford her – or him?  Going to visit a friend’s home?  With Junior crawling/toddling, do we need to take a gate?  What other hazards are there?  You get the drift.

To get past this, you just have to be prepared to step up and take greater domestic responsibility.  It eases her stress level and strengthens your bonds in this new phase, which puts you in a better relationship for when the kids are a bit more self-sufficient.  The nature of the questions and concerns will change, but the idea of thinking for three, or more, will continue.

And if this bothers you, at least be glad that you and your mate aren’t Praying Mantises.



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