While there’s no doubt that everyone is concerned about how a mother feels during labor (because she’s doing most of the physical work here), let’s not forget that dads are just as emotionally invested in this as their partners. Sure, he might not have carried that baby in his womb for nine months. Sure, that “area” is not going to change for him the same way it’s going to change for her. And yes, he doesn’t have to worry if the baby will latch on for breastfeeding. But he is worried about plenty of other stuff, some of which he’s even nervous to tell you.
Some of the things that dads are mostly worried about are whether or not they will be able to bond with their baby. Others wonder if they will be good enough parents. And then there are some who already think about the financial impacts of raising a family and if they will be able to manage it all. With that being said, dads stress out just as much as moms, and if not more. Here are 20 things that all dads think during labor, but are just hesitant to say it out loud.
20 "Am I Really Ready For This?"
As much as you try to prepare for fatherhood, the truth of the matter is, you might never find yourself completely prepared. That’s because, as a parent, you will find that life will throw you one curve ball after another.
“My wife had a really hard time during childbirth,” says new dad Paul on Facebook. “She was the one in excruciating pain, but I was the one sweating bullets. I wanted to go run and hide, but I knew I couldn’t. I knew that I needed to man up and be a father to my son from the first moment he was born.”
19 "Is She Ready For This?"
Ladies, don’t think that the fellas are only thinking about themselves while you are pushing another life out before their very own eyes. Some of them worry about how much things are going to change for you, too.
“I worried because I knew already that she was thinking about how she wanted to go back to work,” says new dad Richie on Facebook. “But at the same time, we were about to bring home a newborn baby. The entire work and home balance kind of concerned me because I know that she wanted to do both but just wasn’t sure how.”
18 "Will I Be A Good Enough Dad?"
The first and foremost thing that a lot of new dads think to themselves is: will I be a good enough dad? Do I have what it takes to be a superman of a father? And will the baby take after me at all? These are all good, legitimate questions and ones that fathers ask themselves, even while their partners are in labor. After all, there can be plenty of things racing through your mind, but for some people, they worry about their own self confidence and self-worth. They want to do the best job for a position that they’ve never held before.
17 "Will I Be A Good Enough Partner?"
Not only do new dads worry about how they are going to perform as fathers, but they also worry about how their relationship is going to change with their partners or their spouses.
One dad, named Andrew, put it this way, “I knew that the moment our first born took her first breath in this world, things would change between my wife and I. It wasn’t just the two of us anymore. As a family of three, everything would change and that she would expect me to change in certain ways, too. At that point, I just wasn’t sure how.”
16 "Should I Take Photos?"
No dad wants to be that insensitive dad who is on his phone texting, Instagramming, or Snapchatting while his wife is screaming who-knows-what in the middle of the labor and delivery room. What’s worse, he doesn’t want to be caught posting anything of what’s going down on his social media accounts, too. But should he take photos!
“Unfortunately, I didn’t,” says dad Thomas on Facebook, “And it’s something that my wife gives me a hard time about but it’s also something that we didn’t talk about beforehand. Plus, I was such a nervous wreck, I totally forgot about that ‘first shot’ dads are supposed to take.”
15 "Should I Squeeze Her Hand?"
Again, this is something that partners need to talk about before that first contraction. You and your partner should have a game plan down and talk about the expectations you have for each other before she goes into labor.
Dad Craig says, “I squeezed her hand and apparently I squeezed it so hard that it caused her even more pain. But I was so nervous myself that I didn’t know what was going on around me. I was trying to be supportive. But she told me later that she could have done without that kind of support. That was my bad.”
14 "Can I Sit Down?"
You’ve been by her side for hours now. With each push she takes, you feel it. You are sweating puddles as much as she is. And you are just as nervous, too. But would it be a bad thing if you could just sit down and relax for a second? That’s what a lot of dads ask themselves while their wife is in labor.
“The answer to that question is ‘no,’” says father of three Adam. “You never sit down, no matter how weak you are in the knees or how much you just want to take a break from it all. Your job is to suffer just as much as she is.”
13 "How Do I Ease The Discomfort?"
A lot of fathers ask this same question, but unfortunately just don’t know the answer to it. How in the world do you help ease the pain for your partner? Well, there’s no simple answer, unfortunately. The pain eventually goes away, but that’s well after the baby is born.
“After our son was born, we were just so stunned over what had happened and the presence of this little tiny human being that we made together that it just blew our minds away,” says one dad named Ruben on Facebook. “My wife even told me that she instantly forgot about the pain afterwards.”
12 "Will I Bond?"
Nobody ever wants to admit this, but it’s something they quietly say to themselves. Will I be a good father? Is there something I am supposed to learn beforehand? Or, better yet, how will I bond with the baby?
A dad named Jack said on Facebook, “I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’ve never even held a real baby in my life. But the moment I held my daughter, everything changed. It’s like I knew what I was doing, even though I had no freaking idea what I was doing. It was a strange feeling, but one that made sense, too.”
11 "How Do I Hold The Baby?
Now, this is something that you are technically supposed to learn in all of your pre-term baby classes with your partner. But for a lot of first-time fathers, they are scared that they might not know how to do it properly.
Well, guess what? Every father learns how to hold their baby like a pro in no time. One dad named Todd said on Facebook, “I said to myself that if I knew how to hold a football with no problem, I’ll eventually learn how to hold a baby, too. I mean, they almost weigh the same, right? Ok, maybe not.”
10 "What Am I Supposed To Do?"
We can bet our bottom dollar that every man, partner, and person who comes into the labor and delivery room for the very first time ends up asking this same question: what on Earth are they supposed to do first?
One dad named Scott answers the question for us. He says, “Well, I will tell you what you are supposed to do. You are supposed to get in there, tell your baby mama or wife that everything is going to be okay and then pray. Because there’s nothing stronger in this world than the power of prayer. Trust me, I did a lot of it before my baby was born.”
9 "How Will This Change Me?"
When it comes to becoming a parent for the first time, everyone has a different story and everyone has a different experience. Some say that it’s a role that changes them forever. Others say that they’ve been waiting for the moment their entire lives.
Dad Evan says on Facebook, “I grew up with four sisters. Two were older and two were younger. So when my daughter was born, I kind of new what to expect. And one of those things is to never, ever expect to have five minutes in the bathroom alone. Because you’ll never have access to it again.”
8 "Do I Need To Work More?"
A lot of new fathers might not want to admit this out loud, but they do worry about their family’s future and finances, especially after the arrival of their newest bundle of joy. After all, those babies sure don’t come cheap, from diapers, to clothes, to cribs, and everything in between.
“I knew that things would change, but I had no idea how things would change, pocket wise,” admits one dad named Juan. “I started thinking about pre-school costs, tuition, sports, activities, and even college. And this all crossed my mind before we even left the hospital. It sure is a lot.”
7 "What Will She Expect From Me?"
And now not only do you worry about being the best father that you can be, you can’t forget about your role as a husband and a partner. Yes, you have a family now, but it’s your relationship with your spouse that will be tested.
One dad named Sean said, “After she gave birth, I knew that she needed me now more than ever. She was tired, she was weak, and all she wanted was to take a nap. And she also wanted her favorite dish from the Olive Garden, so I made sure to deliver. Plus breadsticks on the side.”
6 "Does She Need Ice?"
No, no one broke the AC. And yes, that labor and delivery room does get incredibly hot. If she didn’t already scream it in your direction, there’s a strong possibility that she’s wanting a huge bucket of ice because she’s still got a whole long way to go with the pushing.
“My wife might be a little bit different than the other ones because all she wanted is ice chips to eat," one dad admitted. "I swear, she had one after another and I had to keep buckets of ice chips flowing for her. But she was giving birth to my beautiful son, so I would have brought an iceberg to her if she asked me to.”
5 "How Can I Comfort Her?"
Of course, there are a gazillion things that might be running around in your mind as your wife or partner gives birth. It’s an unsettling time for everyone, to say the least. If there is one thing that a lot of fathers worry about, if it’s whether or not they are doing or saying the right thing at the right time.
One dad named Craig said on Facebook, “The Denver Broncos were playing in the Super Bowl at the same time my wife was giving birth. Two things raced through my mind: how my son was going to be the ultimate Broncos fan with me and how I knew that I had to take my mind off the game, and think about her instead. It was hard.”
4 "Will We Make It?"
Let’s not deny that, for a lot of couples, starting a new family is a “break it or make it” deal for them. For some couples, having children brings them closer together. But for others, it complicates their relationship even more.
One dad named Vinny said, “Before my baby mama gave birth, yes, I had my doubts about her and whether we would make it. But seeing what kind of mother she was to our son showed her in a completely different light. In that living room is when I decided that I would go out and buy an engagement ring for her. She gave birth and a few days later she said yes.”
3 "How Will I Survive The Sleepless Nights?"
Here’s something that a lot of new fathers are never well prepared enough for: those sleepless nights.
One dad named Peter said on Facebook, “Sorry dads, but I would hate to be the one to break it to you, but it doesn’t get easier. Our children are in middle school with one that is about to enter high school and I’m still in that sleepless night phase. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I had a full night of rest. It must have been way before the first kid was born and man that was a long time ago.”
2 "Does She Want To Go Through This Again?"
Yes, you’ve barely home from the first go around, and you hear your partner already talking about one day giving your child a little brother or sister to play with. And yes, just a few days before she was screaming her head off saying that she will never go through this again.
“Yeah, it confused the heck out of me,” says one dad named Bjorn. “But believe it or not, I was envisioning a little family of maybe the two of us with three kids down the road. Having a baby really does change you and make you think about your future.”
1 "Where’s The Manual?"
And here’s the number one question that a lot of dads ask themselves while their partners are giving birth: where’s the flippin’ manual? Doesn’t this little thing come with instructions? Does it comes with an on and off button? Where are the batteries?
“My children are about to go to college and I still ask myself the same questions I asked when they were born,” says a dad named James. "There’s no right or wrong answer. You just have to use your intuition and believe in your kid. Everything else will work itself out. If not, hope for the best and know you’ve done all you could.”