During pregnancy (and some might say even throughout childhood) the focus is usually centered on Mom and baby. What kind of birth does she want to have? What’s going to happen with her job? How far along is she in her pregnancy? How is she going to handle it? Most people completely ignore Dad-to-be. You certainly won’t catch anybody rubbing his feet, or bringing him gifts. No way! He is the red-headed stepchild of the whole process. But it should not be that way. After all there would be no baby, unless Mom and Dad got busy. Also, who else would go out into a blizzard to satisfy those strange pregnancy cravings women get at all hours of the day and night? Who else sits there through countless doctor’s visits straining to hear a heartbeat or hopping to see that “third leg” in those grainy sonogram shots alongside mom.
Dads-to-be go through major life changes when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth too. Believe it or not, they deal with weight gain, new emotions, family frustrations, and many other things all while dealing with a crazy pregnant woman from day to day. Mom-to-be is obviously the one doing most of the work in this instance but it’s time we paid some attention to the fellas because while there are sperm donors (and God bless them), Dads-to-be shouldn’t be treated at such. Dads-to-be need to matter more, they have feelings, and they need support, too. It doesn’t matter whether he is a husband becoming a dad, a guy in a serious relationship fathering a child, or if he is the total accidental “baby-daddy,” here are 15 things all men secretly struggle with when she’s pregnant.
Babies can’t shoot hoops or hang out at the local pub with the fellas. So when she gets pregnant, he has to shuffle up his friend circle a bit. For the husbands, the friends were probably expecting this to happen at some point after he bit the bullet and said “I do,” but when it actually does happen, it still throws the whole gang for a loop. If his friends are also married, or better yet, if some of them already have kids, then the adjustments will be easy. They will just have to be more organized about their hanging out times, and come up with more of a schedule. For the guys in serious relationships, their friends might be a bit disappointed and shocked that their buddy is throwing a baby into the mix. They might have figured he really liked this girl but find themselves stuck on the seriousness of having a baby.
This group of guys may need some time to process this big move. They might even shun their buddy or attempt to pull him away from his girl in an effort to throw a kink in the relationship. These so called “friendship wounds” will heal with time and the realization that everybody needs to grow up. For the accidental “baby-daddy” his friends will be angry; they may be angry with him for being so careless, or even angry with her for "setting him up." This will be the toughest group to adjust to their friend's entrance into fatherhood. They just don’t get it because they never would have expected it. So, everybody involved needs to “man-up” and support their buddy if they are truly his boyz.
There is nothing like a baby that can make it rain. Labor and delivery are among the most expensive health care costs in the United States. Estimates for an uncomplicated vaginal birth start at around 30,000 dollars and can climb all the way up and beyond 50,000 dollars for a C-section, if the woman does not have insurance. While insurance can put a major dent in these costs, a surprise pregnancy can still wreak havoc on a man’s bank account. Before babies even make their grand entrance into the world, before they utter their first cries, or get their first tiny little diapers, they can cost big bucks.
The countless doctors’ visits, the rising cost of food for a hungry pregnant woman, and the baby gear you simply must have all adds up quickly for Dads-to-be. In addition, let's not forget that the cost of raising a child born after 2015 is estimated at 233,610 dollars and that’s only until age 17 - so that number doesn’t even include college! All Dads-to-be, can get majorly psyched out by the amazing cost of pregnancy and parenthood, but it’s definitely not something you will catch them talking about much.
What? Did you think only Mommies-to-be packed on the pounds when expecting? This is a totally false assumption. What would you look like if you lived with a person that ate ridiculous stuff all day and night? Would you be able to pass up a midnight snack of cheese pizza with extra cheese, a side a cinnamon rolls, and a touch of ice cream, if the person you sleep with every night was eating it in bed next to you at 1:30 in the morning? Maybe a person could resist the temptations of crazy cravings for a week or two, but for nine (technically ten) months? For 40 weeks? I think not.
Men are already known for eating not so healthy choices anyway, so when she gives him the green flag to go for the gold and top it with chocolate sauce; you can expect the skinny jeans to take the hit. No matter what relationship he is in with her, if he is around her at all, you can expect the numbers on the scale to show it.
Laugh if you want, but men get pregnancy symptoms, too. There is even a clinical term for it, couvade syndrome: when the father-to-be experiences pregnancy symptoms such as weight gain, nausea, insomnia, and mood swings. And interestingly enough, it’s pretty common. About 9 out of 10 men admit to experiencing at least one pregnancy-like symptom when their partner was expecting. There is even one reported serious case, where Dad-to-be claimed to have abdominal pains when his wife went into labor!
Wouldn't you have liked to have been a fly on the wall in that delivery room! For the husband or man in a serious relationship, he needs to be able to talk about how he is feeling without getting yelled at or laughed out of the house. For the accidental “baby-daddy,” this is a tough one. It’s embarrassing and he doesn’t know her well enough to share this kind of intimate stuff. Isn’t it funny how people can still make a baby, even if they don’t know diddly squat about one another?!?
Dads-to-be are faced with many challenges and one of the most important ones on his list is his employment. There are so many questions for him to answer: does he make enough money? Should he relocate? Is the job the best kind of job for a dad (e.g.- is it a job where people risk their lives, a nightlife job, or road warrior job)? A guy working as a firefighter or police officer may have second thoughts about the risky nature of his job and look more into life insurance when he has a child on the way.
The bartender might reconsider his up-all-night partying career. The truck driver that is rarely at home for a day or two every week might need to look into changing his schedule. For husbands, they were probably thinking of children when they decided to get married and are more than ready to make necessary changes. For serious relationship guys and even accidental “baby-daddies,” this can be a hard pill to swallow. His life, goals, and plans may not work out as he may have hoped or dreamed. While the increasing pressure from the baby’s approaching arrival and the needs and wants of Mom-to-be can make this a rocky, fast-paced, stomach-churning, decision making time.
There is one occasion especially, that brings out the mothers, and its grandchildren. If he tells his mother he is expecting a child, he can expect for her to fully butt into his life. Maybe (hopefully) he was already close to his mother, and he will gratefully accept and encourage his mother or father barging into his life. For husbands, again, everybody was expecting this sooner or later after he got married. His and her parents will be overjoyed and Dad-to-be will just have to deal with all the extra attention.
For serious relationship guys, Mom and Dad might send mixed messages , happy (because they all secretly want grandkids) but also disappointed because first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. Baby daddies need to watch out for her parents (and maybe his too)! He will probably be greeted with “how could you let this happen” on his side, and “how are you going to make this right?!” on hers. The pressure is on when the family gets involved.
Men thrive on keeping their women and families safe. For most men, it’s a top priority. They go to great lengths to try and provide as many safety precautions as possible. They install alarms and fire extinguishers, they check airbag indicators, they put chains on tires for bad weather, and on and on. For husbands and serious boyfriends, this behavior is already second nature. So, when she becomes pregnant, Dad-to-be will increasingly worry about the safety of Mom-to-be and the baby growing inside.
Many women have reported their husbands wanting them to stay at home or give up driving all together as the pregnancy nears its end. For the accidental daddy, this is a whole new ball game. The woman he barely knows is now carrying his child, he might suddenly feel protective over them both and not have a clue what to do about it. These new feelings might drive him a little nutty which brings us to our next secret struggle...
This goes far beyond a pregnancy-like symptom. When men start to think about a new life, they often start to have thoughts about death, and the fragility of life. They realise their role in the whole “creation of life” thing and it can make them uncomfortably sappy. Men might find it hard to keep it together when they find out they have a son (or daughter) on the way. They may get choked up when they first hear the heartbeat and it’s a guarantee that they're nervous ninnies when their women go into labor.
The thing about men is they fight these feelings. They often think it makes them look weak to open the flood gates of their hearts. Men secretly struggle with their feelings and emotions from the start to the end of pregnancy and far beyond. It doesn’t matter which way he became a Dad-to-be, on purpose or accidental, most if not all men, need help adjusting to the worries and anxieties of becoming a father.
There will be no more days where he wakes up and reads the paper, heads to the gym for an hour or two, goes into work all day, and then meets up with the guys for a drink before heading home for a late dinner. Life is about to change. This can shake a guy up. Feeling that his time no longer belongs only to him is a major shift in his “freedom paradigm.” Husbands already made this shift when they waited at the end of that aisle to exchange “I do’s.” Although pregnant wives and then babies will change things even further.
Serious boyfriends will probably have the toughest time adjusting to his new routine which will probably (it should, at least) include checking in on Mom-to-be, going to doctor’s appointments, running errands for Mom-to-be, putting together baby gear, and of course grabbing snacks for a crazy craving woman. Accidental baby-daddies’ schedules may or may not change. It depends how involved he'll choose to be in this process. All these issues can be extremely tricky to maneuver when it comes to people that hardly know one another.
Dads-to-be can find themselves buried under the growing pile of new responsibilities. Not only must they provide financial support, they also need to provide emotional support, and sometimes even physical support for pregnant women that are swollen, tired, cranky, scared, and uber sensitive. Becoming a Dad is one of the greatest things that can happen to a man (if he is ready), but it certainly carries a lot of weight. Many families find that a two-person income supporting two individuals changes to one income supporting three and that can be a heavy burden to bear.
Husbands and serious boyfriends are in for some major shockers once the baby arrives; they will deal with changing diapers, nonstop crying, and restless nights. But even before baby arrives their responsibilities start to double when Mom-to-be needs extra help in her day-to-day activities. Accidental baby-daddies, again, will find that their “responsibility load” will depend on their involvement in the pregnancy. Some guys chose to remain only financially responsible for their situations while others go “all in.”
All Daddies-to-be will have to answer this question: What kind of dad will I be? Some guys look up to their fathers and they hope to raise their children in the same manner with which their fathers raised them. Other guys wish they could forget the “dude that got their mom pregnant,” these men do not feel that the man they grew up calling dad, even deserved the title. While there are still others that never knew a father figure.
No matter what kind of father, Dad-to-be did (or did not) have, he probably wants to do be the best Dad for his child. This is easier said than done, but taking good care of Mom-to-be is a first step in the right direction. For a lot of men, it’s hard to shake off their playboy, tough guy, or party guy identities, but it’s something that must be done. Being a good father is an acquired trait, it’s not a passive skill, you have to work at it to succeed.
Pregnancy can mean one of two things for a couple, green for go. Go at it like rabbits, like it’s going out of style. Or Red for stop, like you want to put that where?! Get out, no-go zone, this is disgusting. For some couples, pregnancy turns up the chemistry between a man and a woman. The fact that a woman is carrying his child can be very appealing. It’s all very caveman and a bit sexy. Pregnancy can also run a man cold. He can be freaked out by the fact that there is a person inside of her now huge belly. A freaking person! What if he pokes it in the eye? This thought, as funny as it may seem, is a common misconception among guys.
Many of them believe themselves to be so well endowed that they can not only penetrate the closed cervix but can also cause injury to the fetus growing inside the safely tucked away uterus. Some men, are honestly just straight up turned off by the changes women go through when carrying a child. The leaky boobs, the stretch marked belly, all the huge swollen feet can all just be too much to handle. This is an important time for him to pay attention to his feelings and be honest about what is going through his head because pregnancy is a common time for some men to stray. Which bring us to our next point...
If he put a ring on it, before he put a baby in it, they are probably good. So, husbands are off the hook for this one. But for that growing number of people getting knocked up before getting tied down, pregnancy is that time where some serious decisions need to be made. Nobody wants to admit or even acknowledge that they are getting married just for the baby, but many people do just that. They marry because insurance will cover it better, because husband and wife has a better ring than “baby mamma and baby daddy,” and some people even tie the knot because it will be easier to explain to family and friends.
Many, many people chose to sleep in the bed they made, literally and figuratively speaking. A lot of these people end up living happily-ever-after and discovering a deep love and affection for each other and baby, but there are those certain couples who should have chosen to walk down other paths and define their relationships in other ways than holy matrimony. Guys in serious relationships in most circumstances will always be pushed towards marriage from multiple sources: parents, Mom-to-be, friends, and mentors. Accidental “baby-daddies” are going to need to figure things out. The woman carrying his baby is practically a stranger, and while for some it may be love at first sight, for most there are just lots of unanswered/unasked questions. Dads-to-be have to do some serious thinking because Lord knows Mommy-to-be has some serious questions about where this whole thing is going.
Any man can tell you dealing with a pregnant woman is treacherous. It doesn’t take much to set her off. She is needy, clingy, emotional, hungry, sore, and it’s the time in her life where she will go from being the most selfish to being the most selfless. A pregnant woman is a miracle to behold. Pregnancy is one of the greatest moments in the natural world. An intimate moment produces life, a life that starts out small and fragile, that can grow and grow, into something unrecognizable from its starting point.
Most men (the good ones at least) deal gracefully and mercifully with their pregnant counterparts. They are understanding, they are kind, and they worry constantly about baby and Mom. They learn to tread lightly around the woman that becomes a bit unstable. They may secretly struggle with wanting to run for the hills, away from the large cranky crying women demanding another bag of sour chewy lifesavers, but instead he heads to the local gas station, CVS, and then Walgreens, cruising aisles until he finds the treasured candy, because he knows better than to head home empty handed.
The baby is coming! These four words can send any man into a secret panic. She may not know it or even notice due to her increasingly intense labor pains, but he is probably totally freaking out. Men just don’t get enough credit on D-day (delivery day). Even though their nerves are shattered at the thought that all the planning, all the videos, all the classes, and all the hard to follow directions to put tiny pieces of furniture together has all led to this very moment, they very seldom show it. His baby, yep, his baby too, not just hers, is actually about to be here. Not only does he have to keep her safe and secure, feeling confident, and encouraged, he must drive without wrecking the car or getting pulled over.
He has to not pass out when things get interesting and he has to try not to sob joyfully when he meets his child for the first time. A couple of tears are fine, but the bucket loads of emotions held behind his eyes need to stay in check. Moms-to-be, definitely do the brunt of the work, there is no fighting that fact, but Dads-to-be (the good ones at least) make it all possible, they are the hard working elves behind the show. So, if Moms-to-be are lucky enough to have a Dad-to-be, caring enough to secretly struggle through her pregnancy right along beside her without so much as a peep, she should give him a big hug, and let him know she understands, because she wouldn’t even be carrying a child without his “help.”