When Your Partner Worries
As women, we tend to have a relatively easy time getting used to the idea of motherhood. From the time we’re little girls, in fact, we dream about it. We carry around baby dolls with toy bottles, and we pretend that we’re the mommy. Motherhood, for many women, becomes something of a dream, a lifelong goal that’s finally realized when they discover they are pregnant.
Not so with men. The fact of the matter is that most men don’t really think as much about fatherhood until it’s staring them in the face. In some cases, it’s a good idea that it takes nine months for your baby to grow and be ready to be born, because it will take him that long to come to terms with his fears and his worries.
Still, if a man can identify and face those worries about fatherhood, he will find that he is not only better equipped to help you through the labor and delivery process, but that he’ll be a better father in the long run.
So, what do men worry about?
Security is the big one. Many men worry that they just won’t be able to provide for their family. The fact that many couples go from a two-income family with two people down to a one-income family with three people when their first child is born doesn’t help this fear. This is a very real worry for some men. He worries that he might fail. He worries about what will happen to all of you if he loses his job, or if something happens to him. He’s facing fears and worry about keeping you safe and happy, and it frightens him.
Some men worry about how they’ll do during labor and delivery. They’ve watched a hundred different sitcom episodes about a baby being born, so they might believe that they’re going to be queasy, that they’re going to faint, or that they’re just going to be out of their own wits. The good news is that this is an irrational fear. Very few men feint during childbirth. In one study of 600 couples, there was only a single incidence of feinting. As it turned out, the hospital was having issues with their air handling system and the birthing rooms were so hot and stuffy that some of the nurses had to leave periodically to keep from fainting.
There are plenty of other worries that men have about fatherhood. Talk to your partner to see if he’s willing to open up about these things, and you might be surprised to find that he’s both excited and scared. Then you can work through those feelings together.