This I know is true… Only a pregnant woman truly knows the gentle touch of an unborn baby kicking from the inside. No matter how much research you do, women are the experts on pregnancy and childbirth. The reality is, there are things our partners (and in this particularly case) – first time dads – wished women knew (and believed).
I'm not talking about what we as men think they are thinking or what we secretly wished they would know from our point-of-view, no mam. I am referring to things that can't be found on the internet or forecasted by statistics and “leading journals” anticipating the thought patterns of men.
No one knows the mind of dads-to-be than actual dads-to-be. Only when I tossed aside my preconceived ideas, research predictions and speculations from sitting at coffee tables with women and approached first time dads, only then could I hear what they had to say for themselves.
This is what men say they wished you knew deep down. It's not exactly as romanticized as what women think it is… and yet it's nothing like textbooks and tabloids portray it. Words of first time dads speaking under the promise of utter confidentiality – away from flashing lights and pregnancy mood swings and temper tantrums – this is what they wished you knew.
7 Not All Dads Want to be Present at the Delivery
“It doesn't mean that I am less involved in the birth or disinterested. The very fact that everybody will be staring at my wife and male doctors have been prodding her and examining her privates from day one, while I know it's necessary, it sometimes gets too be much."
“Now that this will be the final stretch, I sort of want to keep a little bit of her to myself, even if it's only in my mind. I can’t describe how privileged I am that she's having my baby, but I still want to have a glamorized vision of my wife’s assets,” said a newlywed dad-to-be.
His argument was that he wanted to think of her and smile, not think of her lady parts and freak out over them stretching, tearing and wondering how on earth to enjoy themselves as husband and wife after the baby is born.
Your Man Values Your Body
According to this dad-to-be, and several in his shoes, it wasn't out of indifference, but rather a desire to maintain some sacred space with their partners that they didn't want to be pressurized into “seeing the wonder of birth” (as women tend to describe it).
There was a call to keep the flames kindled, by not traumatizing their thoughts with leaking feces, tearing, bleeding, stretching and the baby exiting the vagina which would now be watched and touched by others.
“I love my wife, which is why I want to be there with her holding her hand and encouraging her to breathe. I want to hold her and feel the pain on her behalf. I love her and chose her over all the women I have loved before. "
Men Are Visual Beings
“I’m a man. The fact that she’s multiplying into two is a miracle. I don’t need to see her vagina blowing up to believe that,” said a man in the most macho tone as though to emphasize that men respond differently to sight.
His wished his wife knew that he was there to stay and desperately longed to hold on to a sensual image of her. He already felt that everything was changing – not even her privates were completely private – and once baby arrived, things were bound to change even more. Attention would be shared and everything would not be as it was before.
While he was excited about that, he also hoped that one thing that would not change would be what took place in the bedroom. Now that she would be “somewhat back to normal”, hopefully they could be able to kick-off where they left off. The steamy romance and bedroom energy would hopefully return and at the least, that would be the one constant through it all.
6 He's Also Scared
First time dads summarized it in a way that it was nerve wrecking, daunting and stressful, but all in all, the smile just won’t go away. While they dare not say it in so many words, they made sure that it was noted that they were downright scared.
“I worry about everything that she is worried about, and worry about my girlfriend and unborn child. I'm scared that the baby will change everything. I'm scared that all the funds will now need to be channeled to my girlfriend’s medical bills and that the wedding I sort of wanted in the future will creep into the distant future,” said a pregnant woman’s boyfriend.
He continued on stating that he feared that even though he was planning on being there, she could still opt to use her maiden surname for the baby and not his. He feared that if anything happened between them, he wouldn't have as many rights as a married father and that another man could marry her and take his daughter away.
Men Have Different Fears During Pregnancy
“I wish she knew that in deciding to be there for her and this unplanned pregnancy, I automatically gave up or rather postponed the fairy tale wedding I wanted to give her. I love her more than the fairy tale because I opted to wake up, be a man and stick it out. It scares me that another man might offer her the entire package and one day swoop my girls away from me,” explained the young teenager.
Among his many fears--and that of other men--was that they feared they couple would no longer be alone. What was once so beautiful and special between the two of them would now be an open debate that involved another human being, families, legal battles and religious disappointments for having a child out of wedlock.
“I'm scared that society, her friends, family and parents will convince her that I don't love her, simply because I'm not proposing to her while she's pregnant. Yes, I'm not sure if I want to be with her forever or even if we're all that stable, but I do know that I will always be there for my daughter – even if she doesn't have my surname. "
“I'm scared of being a father. I am scared of the constant feeling that maybe ‘this is it’ and wondering if there could still be someone else I could spend my life with. I hate the feeling that I feel so trapped and everyone expects us to get married right away,” summarized the young man before texting something he would not share with me to his girlfriend.
5 He's Going to Miss Doctor Appointments
“Ever since learning that my fiancé is pregnant, I can't stop working overtime. I think she thinks that I 've shut down and don’t want to be a dad. She's constantly shouting and crying that I 'm not around and that things changed ever since she announced that she was pregnant. It hurts me to hear her say that, but the reality is that we need the money,” said a matured first time dad.
He asserted that they couldn't both celebrate the arrival of their son without preparing financially. While he wants to go to all the doctor appointments, spend more time at birthing classes and attend all the specialized pregnancy groups with her, he felt that by the time the baby came, they wouldn't be financially prepared.
“I'm merely building a nest for my family. Does that really make me such a bad guy? I'm working from sunrise to sunset to make up for the months she'll be home on unpaid maternity leave. Nothing I do makes her happy."
He's Only a Mortal, Not Superman
“Do you think she'll be happy if I attended everything she wanted and then had her come home with the baby and not have anything to feed them or even have a roof over our heads?” asked the visibly frustrated man who seemed genuinely concerned about his family.
As an older dad, he wanted to make sure that he gained as much ground as he could before his son arrived. He wanted to be “the man” and provide for both mom and son as best he could. He didn't want them to lack. He didn't want her to stress about them not having enough money for the mortgage and groceries.
He knew his absence was for a season and even though she had suggested infidelity, the reality was that he was more committed to her than ever before; and desperately wished she knew that.
4 He Feels Helpless From Your Pain
Clichéd as it may sound, men are men, particularly when it comes to not being able to take the pain and discomfort away from their life partners. Many men actually wish they could do something for their partners going through a difficult time in labor and pregnancy. The thought of not being able to take the pain away is somewhat paralyzing.
“I'm a problem solver. My woman has often told me that she's telling me about her bad day for the sake of telling me and not for me to help her solve her work problems. When she tells me things, it's in my nature to want to make it better. She feels better in offloading and that in its own makes her happy. I on the other hand want to do more,” said a muscular blue eyed man.
He added that not being able to provide and protect his woman from labor pains and so many other aches that came with pregnancy made him feel helpless, and that it was a particularly emasculating period for him.
Your Hurt Becomes His Pain
“I can make squadrons obey my command, but I can't help her when she's crying and vomiting in the morning. I feel like I played a role in making her sick and now that she's pregnant, I wish I could help her bear the physical brunt required to bring new life into the world,” he said disappointedly.
He felt like it was his job to protect her as though he was partly responsible for her discomfort. He wanted to make the pain go away and in the very least, “co-parent”, be there where it counts and not just stand at a distance and observe while she did what they should have both been doing; sharing their joys and hurts.
3 Stop Stressing Over the Excess Weight
“Do you really think that I'm bothered by you gaining all that weight and that you no longer look the same as when we first met? Do you think that I'm so shallow as to overlook the fact that you're giving up your body, desires and lifestyle for the next nine months and lifetime?"
"The love handles on your waist are there, but I'm going to hold on to them so much more, especially now that you've given me a gift I could never have had without you.”
That’s a paraphrase of what one man in his forties had to say about what he wished his girlfriend knew. He was very happy about finally being a father and having someone to call him dad. It made him love and appreciate his partner so much more and saddened him to see her so upset over gaining weight.
Men Don't See the Weight , They See the Woman
“I'm finally going to be a dad; all because she allowed herself to love and be loved by me. She took a risk on me. Gave me a chance and decided to keep our baby when she had all the reasons and rights not to go through with the pregnancy."
"She kept me. She kept our baby. She made me a better man, even after all the wrong I have done to her, she gave me one more shot at having the family I never thought I would have."
“It’s taking a toll on her [the pregnancy] and I think she thinks I am going to be attracted to other slimmer women who look the way she used to look; maybe it has something to do with me stressing that I never wanted her to gain weight or my actions in the past… but with the pregnancy, everything changed. She means so much more to me now.”
2 I Don't Like Feeling Useless and Shut Out
“I may never remember the weight, size and length of our newborn baby, but I’m excited in my own way. When I discuss with the boys, no one is interested in the time of birth and all the logistics. It's simply not the way we're wired."
"I'm just happy that it's a boy or girl and more importantly, that it's our little one. Believe it or not, I'm happy and scared that we're having a child,” said a young man in his early twenties.
He clarified that he wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. He couldn't overestimate how pumped he was that she was the mother of his child and hoped the little one had the heart and looks of his “soul mate”.
Keep Him Engaged in Your Baby's Life
When speaking about his woman, he couldn't help but smile, even though he was somehow heartbroken by all that was going on. It was undeniable that he loved her and wanted things to improve.
“I won’t ever read the 101 leaflets and remember baby names, remedies, recipes, birthing positions and all that, but it doesn't mean you should make me feel useless,” said one guy.
He didn't hide that he often overlooked some stuff that she thought was critical, but hoped that she would one day look beyond the minor things and realize that he was still there with her, with them.
Share the Parental Responsibility From the Beginning
He still loved her even though she often made him feel utterly useless and questioned his manhood. He was still there, ready to work, protect and love them.
“I wish she knew that we're not wired the same. I sometimes forget my own birthday and don’t remember everything that's deemed important, but that doesn't mean that I'll make a useless father. I wish she wouldn't shut me out because when all things are said and done, it’s my baby too,” whispered a brokenhearted dad-to-be.
1 I Wish We Could Hold Our Baby at the Same Time
“Selfish as it may sound, I wish we could both hold her at the same time. She's also mine. All of me and all of you make up all of our baby. I wish the world and our partners understood that while moms get more maternity leave, more sympathy for sleepless nights and even specialized parking for moms-to-be…"
“I also don’t get a lot of sleep from her mood swings,” said a first time dad-to-be who almost had a look of guilt for even verbalizing his deepest thoughts about what he wished his partner knew.
According to this dad-to-be, who could barely look me in the eyes while opening up to a journalist on the grounds of complete confidentiality, he expressed that since the pregnancy announcement, he worked twice as hard to provide for both of them.
Get Him Involved Early, and Keep Him Involved
“Even though my contributions as a father are not sensationalized, they're downright just as important! I wish dads-to-be, especially those of us doing this for the first time, I really wish there was a hype around us too to show our partners that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes,” continued the man with sadness in his eyes.
It was as though what he said was in vain because he would never have the guts to tell this to his partner because even though he wished she knew, he loved her too much to hurt her by letting her know what he truly felt.
Be a Family Before the Baby Comes
“I'm just as excited to meet her; I’m her father, the head of the household, her body guard and the one who loves her more than myself. I understand why moms are given first preference in holding our babies, but I do wish I could also hold her first or at least that we could both do it together…"
"We are both her parents and I am not going anywhere as long as I live!” concluded the dad.
He looked guilt-ridden and continued to ask for reassurance that his partner would not get word that this was his opinion. He figured while the world called for more fathers to get involved, in this day-and-age, pregnancy and the entire process was mostly centered on women and fathers were excluded.