Whether you are an old pro or a first timer, becoming a new dad can be stressful. There are so many things to consider before bringing the new addition home, not to mention mom’s needs. An article published by The National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) listed the top stressors for new dads as: financial concerns, rigorous schedule/time management, not knowing what child wants, and lack of sleep. So dads, if you feel any of these or others stressors, you are not alone.
So how do I reduce any or all of these stressors? A key step is to know what the stressors are and then plan ahead. The Mayo Clinic lists several solutions that you may find valuable. If your baby is not born yet, try getting involved. This can be as simple as attending prenatal classes with mom or singing and reading to the baby belly. For the financial concerns, try consulting a financial planner to help determine ways to handle the added expenses. There may also be local resources that provide assistance. Build a network for social support. Typically moms get support from healthcare providers or other mommies. Dads may need to reach out to family and friends to seek advice. Although everyone’s experience can be slightly different, it sometimes helps to hear other dads’ experiences. Be sure to talk to your partner about how your lives will change after your baby is born. Express your feelings and let your partner know you will get through it all “for better or for worse.”
Be sure to stay involved once your baby is born. Your involvement helps you manage your stress better and gives mom and baby the support they need as well. If you find your stress is becoming overwhelming, seek professional help. Your baby’s doctor may be able to refer you to a qualified person who can help.
Becoming a new dad is a wonderful experience you want to be mentally and physically present for. Knowing your stressors and planning ahead can be essential in managing your stress and enjoying your new family.
This blog was written by John Tucker, Service Line Administrator, Peggy V. Helmerich Women's Health Center.