There’s nothing like the excitement of adding a new baby to the family. That excitement is prefaced of course by a long list of things that need to be done before the baby arrives. Is there enough room in the house for everyone? Is this something that needs to be on the to-do list? What about that, too? It’s nine long months of asking endless questions and desperately seeking answers. Lists are made alongside plans to make sure the pregnancy and the birth go as smoothly as possible.
The mother-to-be takes a very analytical approach to both concepts. She wants to make sure that everything is figured out from start to finish—no stone goes unturned. If there’s been a study on it, she’s going to find it. From pregnancy expectations to birth realities to even what to expect concerning postpartum, she makes sure she knows everything. Dad-to-be wings it.
He’s not as into the articles and the research as she is. Sure, he listens when she talks to him, but he’s not really inclined to do the footwork himself. This man works with what he knows and what he’s heard other people tell him. His concern is focusing on getting through each stage as best he can. Their approaches are definitely different—and sometimes just too funny not to laugh at.
Pain! It is the foundation to every birthing experience from those insane contractions to pushing that baby out of the birth canal. Pain is the one thing guaranteed with childbirth. Parents reports that mom spends hours researching natural childbirth versus a medicated one. She talks to her doctor about the options. She finds herself asking her friends what their experiences were with childbirth pain mediation—all the while imaging a perfect world where there is no pain during childbirth.
While mom wants what is best for her baby, she also wants to pick something that will help her get through labor effectively, too. Dad, on the other hand, is remembering where the ibuprofen is kept.
He wants to make sure he is prepared for the pain he will experience when she is screaming and has a death grip on his hand as she pushes, hoping it will take her pain away.
He wonders if his fingers will break and if he will be able to handle how much her death grip will hurt. Generally speaking, dads will not complain about this pain, out of fear of the glares they will get from the mother that just pushed a newborn out.
Babies grow up fast. One moment they are tiny little newborns depending heavily on their parents and the next they are full-fledged toddlers wreaking havoc on everything within their reach. When they do, the household quickly becomes every parent's living nightmare. She is forward-thinking—planning out every way they need to baby proof the house. Parents report things will need to be done from anchoring bookshelves to locking up the medicine cabinet.
Mom has a long list of every way to make the house safe for their baby. Every worst case scenario gets thought out, from tumbling down the stairs to getting into chemicals that they should not be in with. Some moms may even buy devices to protect their child.
Dad knows toddlers are appetites with legs—eating everything in sight and then some. He starts planning how and where to hide his daddy-only snacks—the beef jerky and the sweets. He already makes sure his wife will not eat them, but he knows he now has to hide them from the eager eyes of his growing child, as per Huffington Post. There are even lists of places to hide the good snacks, like in the boxes of healthy foods or under the mattress.
As is with anything, communication between partners is one of the foundation blocks for a great relationship. It will get them through good times and bad. Nothing is truer than when mom is in the throes of labor. She plans out the little ways that she can tell him the pain is overbearing. She makes sure she has everything that she wants to be written down so when she can't communicate, everyone knows her wishes.
In the same way, dad prepares himself to refine his communication skills when labor hits.
He reminds himself that when she is in labor, he is not funny anymore, according to Good Men Project. He has to remember to not say stupid things—to make a list of what he should and should not say. After all, there is a time and place for the latest dirty joke he has heard. It is not surprising for a dad to get yelled at during labor due to the amount of pain mom is in and the amount of pain dad is not in. While he may think he is lightening the mood, mom is more than likely getting angry at the silly remarks.
Nesting. It is that indescribable urge to get the house ready for when the baby comes, according to the American Pregnancy Association. It keeps mom up at night as she finds herself rearranging the kitchen counters at midnight. It is why she hires a professional to scrub their house top to bottom. It is why she makes her helpers move around the nursery furniture ten different times—something he is more than okay doing so she does not hurt herself.
Mom wants every inch of their home to be absolutely perfect for when their baby arrives. She may even just be bored and wanting to do something productive.
As she does so, dad tries to figure out a little home redecorating himself. What is going to happen to his man-cave? Will he ever have a man-cave again? He thinks about where he is going to go when he needs some space—a chance to kick back and watch the game with the guys. So much of the house is now going to be consumed by the baby that dad is more than likely getting overwhelmed. Dad’s best bet may be to go to a friend’s house or a local bar.
They hear about it in birthing class and she reads up in it frequently. Labor. Mom spends hours talking to other women who have gone through it, mentally preparing, and helping the dad get prepared. She comes up with a plan—when to head to the hospital, how to labor at home, and more. She leaves no stone uncovered as she determines exactly how she wants—and hopes—labor will go, as per Romper.
Meanwhile, dad finds himself a little intimidated by the idea. The long hours walking hallways or waiting in a labor room for something to happen. He even is going to have to see some of the unimaginable things that mom will bounce right back from after labor. She may be grumpy with him since she cannot eat.
He knows they say she cannot eat anything during that time, but that is a long time for him to not eat either!
All he can think about is what snacks will help him get through those long hours until his baby arrives, according to Good Men Project. It is advised that dads pack some small snacks that they can sneak out and eat, or ones that mom would not want so she is not tempted.
The dreaded hospital bag! Mom does not want to pack too much, but she does not want to pack too little, either. She is not just packing for herself—she has to pack for the baby, too. She starts packing months in advance. It is a point of anxiety. She has to make sure that she has everything she needs and everything their baby will need, as per The Bump.
Forgetting something will make her feel inadequate. Some moms go overboard when it comes to packing up their bag, but it is better to be prepared than not. Even if she is just packing items to make her feel good, it is important. Two or three days is a long time to pack for when everything seems unpredictable.
Dad, on the other hand, does not need a suitcase. A simple backpack will work. A few shirts will do. He can wear the same jeans for a few days with no problem. Good Men Project says he just needs to remember the deodorant—cannot let his first impression on his baby be a smelly one! Most people care about what mom and baby look like, not so much about what dad is looking like after birth.
Long nights up with feedings, random crying fits during the day—babies are a complete disruption to the natural schedule that parents have going on for themselves. Their friends tell them a baby changes everything. They tell mom to sleep whenever baby sleeps because she will be exhausted, as per Parents.
She sits and imagines what she is going to with her days with the baby. She tries to figure out how she is going to implement a nap schedule, where the baby will sleep, and when she will get rest around the other things she has to do. In many cases, she will become the dreaded “mombie,” or mom zombie due to her lack of sleep.
Dad thinks about how tired he is going to be adjusting to being a dad. He knows the baby is going to need a nap schedule—but he will, too, according to NPR. Between working all day and being a new dad, he is going to be exhausted! In some cases, dads may be losing more sleep because of their work schedules and helping take care of the child. Even if mom takes care of the baby during the night, it is possible that dad will still wake up.
Hee, hee, hoo. Hee, hee, hoo. It is the pattern that gets laughed at on all the sitcoms. They go to birthing class and learn about the different kinds of breathing techniques. Mom takes it seriously. It is one of many calming techniques she spends time investigating, according to American Pregnancy Association. She wants to make sure she has all her bases covered before the throes of labor take over and she cannot focus enough to think of some.
While she does he makes sure to practice those same breathing techniques. These breathing techniques should keep oxygen running through her blood while also helping to distract her from labor pains. Breathing, in general, is a natural pain reaction, according to American Pregnancy Association.
Dad knows he is not the one going into labor or delivering a baby, but he paid attention in class. He knows there is going to be fluids everywhere and pending chaos. He is going to need to keep his breathing going—to keep himself from passing out, according to NBC News. With dad focusing on his breathing, he may be able to help keep mom on track as well. If dad faints, he will not hear the end of it from mom.
Walking labor. That is what she is hoping for. She wants to be able to move around as much as possible during labor. Mom fears she will get bored if she stays in bed waiting it out. She is also heard that walking through the contractions makes it easier—easier is definitely better, according to Today’s Parent. Walking can help guide the baby through the birth canal due to the ways that the body moves, therefore helping get the baby ready to be delivered.
Besides, they were told during their birthing center tour that it is common for women to walk the halls as they wait out labor. It only makes sense to her. Dad? Well, he is hitting the gym in preparation. He knows labor can take hours. His friend’s wife was in labor for 24 hours! That is a long time walking around.
He needs to make sure his leg muscles are ready for it. From squats to lunges, he is going to make sure he can walk a marathon no issues. This way, he can go fetch anything that mom may need, or he can escort her during her walks around the hospital floor to get labor going.
The beloved nursery. It is that first thing parents begin to think about—to dream about. How will they decorate it? She finds herself imagining the way they will arrange the furniture. Today reports about the things to think about.
Will they have a bassinet or just a crib? Simple colors or a more complex theme? Maybe they should avoid decorating all together until their baby is old enough to pick how the room is decorated.
She wonders if they should go all out and buy everything new or should they save with resale. Meanwhile, he knows she has got it under control. He only has one major concern: the colors. Dad needs to have a say in what colors get used. His favorite sports team? Sure! Those are great colors to use. The sworn enemy of his favorite sports team? Absolutely not! Can't be caught using those colors in the nursery.
Dad may also have a favorite sport that he wants to be represented in the nursery, maybe through one of his old trophies. There are so many different options for a nursery. Whether it is being tailored for a girl, a boy, or if you are keeping it gender neutral, there are so many options.
Their mothers told them to get ready meals ready long before she goes into labor. Those first few weeks with the baby are an adjustment period. They’re told they’ll be so tired they won’t want to cook so they should combat that ahead of time. They should give themselves all sorts of healthy options—it’ll be good for recovery they say.
Romper says Mom thinks of freezer meals they can readily throw into the oven for quick options. She thinks of different meat options with frozen vegetables and extra starches they can keep around. His menu options include frozen chicken tenders and pizza. They’re quick and simple—not to mention the little-added grease goes great with a drink. Dad is confident in his ability to cook that, knowing he won’t be able to mess up a meal for his wife.Of course, no one is taking into account here just how important it is that mom stay well-nourished during the postpartum period either.
Nutrition is high on the list of demands when it comes to combating the development of conditions like premenstrual dysphoric disorder or postpartum depression after the baby is born.
Stress needs to be limited, and mom's strength needs to be boosted. Frozen dinners saturated with sodium just won't supply that.
Patience is a virtue. She knows it. She knows that becoming a mom requires a lot of it. The long hours of fussing and crying may get to her. The exhaustion of being up so many times at night will put her on edge. She knows she has patience now—but what will happen when she is sleep deprived and at her wit’s end? She reminds herself she will count to ten and even looks into quick meditation techniques.
Dad, on the other hand, knows he has the patience thing in the bag. After all, he has been practicing it for nine months. He knows when she is exhausted that he is going to be the first one she takes it out on—that she does not mean it, she just needs a break, according to Romper. He makes sure he is ready to calm her down when things get hectic.
The hormones that mom has had to deal with may have changed her a bit over the past few months. Labor may have involved some yelling at dad, but they know that they are in it together for the baby at the end of the day.
As if sleep deprivation is not enough to be daunting, both of them know it is highly stressful bringing baby home for the first time. The adjustment period is draining. It is not like babysitting. It is a 24/7 job! The baby will always need something. She knows she is going to have to find ways to unwind. Mom buys the bubble bath, picks up a few books, and fills up her Netflix account with shows to binge watch, according to Romper. She has a few friends on speed dial for quick conversations—anything to relieve the stress.
Dad secretly starts looking up new jokes he can tell her. Laughter is the best medicine, right? If he can just make her laugh through it all, it’ll be a smoother transition. He finds those bad dad jokes to make her half groan and laugh. He even finds a few racy jokes to raise her eyebrows! Some dads may even help draw mom a bath, take over when she is starting to crash and make jokes about himself to make her laugh. It is teamwork. Sometimes, mom may even make a joke back. Dad should make a big deal out of this since she is trying.
Mom finds herself researching holistic ways to handle every situation. She does not want to pump her baby full of medicine if she can avoid it. As she is doing her research, she finds a few fantastic ways massage can help her pregnancy woes. She finds the ones she can implement on a daily basis and even finds a massage therapist who specializes in pregnancy massages. Every session tells her she is making a smart choice—that she will be using massage to calm their baby, too. She may even use massage techniques on herself to minimize pain.
Through it all, dad keeps reminding himself that she does not like the big ovals he makes on her back, as reported by Good Men Project. The simple rotation is easy, and he often spaces out doing so. They really do nothing for her, so he has to find another way to help—maybe a good shoulder massage to help he could handle. Listening to what she needs and tailoring what he is doing based on that will greatly help him. Some touches need to be harder than others, while a hard touch in some areas can be unbearable during labor.
Babies are unpredictable. Both know that one day they will think they have it all figured out and the next day the baby will change the whole game—all the old techniques will not work. Mom knows that they are going to need all the resources they can in the arsenal to survive each day. She researches all the different ways to comfort a baby, how to entertain a baby and more. She finds the best tools and toys, according to Daily Mom. She makes sure they are prepared for anything.
Different cries will signal different things and it is up to both mom and dad to decode these to get baby what they need. He borrows his friend’s kid to practice his peek-a-boo and his silly faces.
He learns all the latest kid songs and makes sure he is equipped to make his kid laugh. He plays on his strong suit of being funny and entertaining—after all, that’s what dads are for, right?
The dad jokes will start early on. Some babies do not laugh at the typical faces, which may require extra creativity from dad. Both parents will find the method that works best for them.
References: Parents, Parents, Huffington Post, Good Men Project, American Pregnancy Association, Romper, The Bump, Parents, NPR, American Pregnancy Association, NBC News, Today’s Parent, Today, Daily Mom