Expectant Fathers Benefit from Planning Ahead

March 7, 2016

There aren’t many events that can change your life quite like learning you’re going to be a father. With half of all pregnancies being unplanned, it often comes as a shock or surprise to learn that your life will be changing in the biggest way. Luckily, nature has given you nine months to prepare you to take on this new role.

Finding out you’re going to be a dad is exciting. But when reality starts to set in, it’s common to experience stress and anxiety as well. More often than not, resources are written with the mother in mind, leaving many dads wondering what they should be doing to prepare for this new role. Here are some ways to help you prepare and minimize your stress and anxiety:

1. Do Your Homework: A large part of your stress and anxiety comes from feeling unprepared or unsure of what you’ll need to know to be a dad. There are many Massachusetts-based resources to help you prepare. The Fatherhood Project, a program of Massachusetts General Hospital, has a number of programs available, including one that helps new and expectant fathers gain the knowledge and skills needed to help care for an infant, physically and emotionally, as well as to be an effective co-parent. Learn More

2. Communicate with Your Partner: It’s important to discuss your concerns with your partner so you can better prepare together. Chances are your partner is equally as anxious about becoming a parent. Open communication can help you understand what you and your partner need from each other, beginning with your baby’s birth and continuing through your first months co-parenting.

3. Talk with Other Dads: Who better to let you in on the reality of fatherhood than someone who has experienced it themselves? There are certain questions or feelings you may have that you would feel more comfortable having another guy weigh in on. You can certainly choose to talk to close friends or family members, or you can join a group that supports men as fathers, like Boston Dads.

4.Check in on Your Mental Health: During this time of stress and change it’s especially important to check in on your mental health. Anonymous screenings for depression and anxiety are available for free at www.MassMen.org, a mental health resource for men in Massachusetts.

Preparing for becoming a dad before the baby is born can help you feel more confident in your new role.