Future fathers will experience all sorts of things among. Being stressed and overwhelmed is just the beginning. What's currently going on while Dad anxiously awaits the baby's arrival may be intense, the baby mama doesn't want to hear it right now. She's growing a baby and she's overwhelmed and terrified. She needs you to be her rock, her calm in the storm.
If you feel the urge to vent about how tired you are because she tosses and turns all night due to her growing bump and leg cramps, find a friendly ear that isn't her. Please. Trust us. She doesn't feel bad for you. You can always go into another room to escape. She can't get rid of any part of her pregnancy until "go time."
Yep. That's right. The blessed day when your precious new child enters the world. Speaking of that...we want to help you out a little. When that day comes, you may be feeling a bit incapable of forming a coherent thought. You may dry heave. You may pass out. It will be the best freaking day of your life, future dads. We can't wait. We are thrilled for you. Because we know how special this day will be, and that you can't even fathom it's glory quite yet, we'd like to give you just a few pieces of advice to help this event be as enjoyable as possible for you, your girl and anyone else who has the pleasure of assisting in your baby's delivery.
Moms, nurses and experts have weighed in on the topic, and their advice just might save you from a squabble or an evil eye: things you don't want to be dealing with on the day your baby is born. Read on for 7 things you most definitely should not do, and 7 things you most certainly should do during your girl's labor, and your baby's delivery.
15 Don't Rely On Mom For Status Updates
If you have questions about anything, it might be a good idea to direct them towards those assisting with your baby's delivery: not the person currently delivering said baby.
You may be curious about how much longer your partner is going to be crying and sweating and moaning and such. Resist the urge to ask her. It's for your own safety. Promise. One thing you can be sure of? Labor never lasts forever, and your baby will arrive eventually. Every woman is different. Some labors can last for days, so buckle up, Daddy dearest.
It's certainly alright to ask your partner certain things. Just remember to keep your questions for your sweetheart along the lines of: "What can I get you?" and "How did I get so lucky to have you as the mother of my child?" Wondering if you're going to be able to catch the end of that playoff game? The answer is no. More ice chips, please!
14 Don't Complain
Exhausted? Hungry? Got a headache? Do. Not. Mention. It. We feel for you, Papa, we really do. We totally sympathize with your plight, but we would like to strongly urge you to keep any complaints that attempt to bubble up and out into the delivery room in the form of words to yourself.
Why? Well, this is the one day your girl is most likely just a bit more tired, hungry and uncomfortable than you are. Even if she's just gotten an epidural and is laughing and enjoying a foot rub, she's in the midst of one of the most important moments of both of your lives. Tomorrow, complain until the cows come home. Right now, she needs you to be a tower of stability.
You are her super hero today. Throw on a Superman t-shirt if it will help you feel better, because that's who you are. Relish in the fact that this is your chance to be her knight in shining armor. She will look back on your valor and bravery with fondness for the rest of her life.
13 Don't Act Bored
Your baby's delivery may get tedious. It's not always fun to be trapped in the same location hour after hour, waiting and waiting followed by some more waiting. Even so, now is not the time to roll your eyes and yawn in an exaggerated manner. Instead, remind yourself that this will end at some point.
Cure boredom by dedicating yourself to doing whatever is needed to help your bae. Ask her how you can fulfill her heart's desires. If she wants to watch The Bachelor while holding your hand, DO IT! If she wants to scroll through pictures of baby outfits on Pinterest while you stroke her hair, say "Yippee!"
You may be going absolutely bonkers. You may be yearning for the chance to step out into the hallway and throw down a few gulps of your favorite beverage. Just remember that the madness will end someday. If you're feeling less-than-entertained, we strongly advise you to keep it to yourself.
12 Don't Overreact
Did you just see something you wish you could unsee? Are you freaking out just a little? That is completely and totally normal, but screaming, shrieking, covering your eyes or running around the room in a crazed panic will only make things worse.
Now more than ever before, your lady will do much better if she can remain as calm as possible. If you start to panic, she may feel her rock of support is crumbling and lose her sh** even more than she already is, figuratively and literally.
Need to lose it? You have our permission to step into the hall for a brief moment to bite your knuckles or jump up and down while shaking your hands wildly. You may also wish to scream into a pillow for a few seconds. After you have released some of your inner-freaked-outedness, step back into the room with a serene smile. You've got this.
11 Don't Lose Focus
As previously mentioned, up until the moment when Mom starts pushing, and even after that, labor isn't always a barrel of monkeys. Sometimes it's an arduous process, and drags on seemingly forever.
Dads, it will be very, very tempting to pull out your device, flip on the game to check the score or pick up where you left off in the afghan you are currently knitting. Resist that urge. Mom may not have the energy, or ability or even the desire to ask you to put your distractions aside, but she's secretly hoping that you will.
She needs you. You can catch that Pokémon another day. Alright, fine. If you see an extremely rare one you can capture it really quickly and get back to Mom. But really, why is your phone out in the first place? Oh. You were updating Grandma? How sweet. It's now time to go braid your girl's hair and sing her a rendition of John Legend's "All of Me." We promise, this is the best day of your life. Don't lose hope.
10 Hide Your Disgust
Along with fighting the strong desire to overreact, it's also crucial that you do your best to hide it if you are completely and totally grossed out. Avert your eyes if you need to, but don't make your girl feel more vulnerable than she already is by gagging when you look in the direction of baby's point of entry.
Some do better with gory sights than others. Child birth is a messy business. Prepare yourself. Fake it if you must. Perhaps it would be a good idea to rehearse some happy, excited faces in the mirror before your baby's arrival.
We aren't saying you aren't allowed to get a bit squeamish, just don't shout out "Oh my heavens, that's the grossest thing I've ever seen in my life!" Not helping. If you starting to feel the effects of seeing things that shock you, find a chair, look out a window, focus on the ceiling and remind yourself the good part is almost here.
9 Don't Take Things Personally
Cathleen Maiolatesi, a nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland has seen it all. She offers some kind words for new fathers to remember at the time of their children's deliveries. She says, "Women in labor can be more sharp-tongued than usual, so try not to take it personally. If you do feel hurt, ask a nurse to watch your partner while you take a break."
Yep. Sorry, Dads, but be prepared for a possibly less-than-chipper partner, even after you've fought the urge to play Angry Birds for the last five hours. The hormones are raging, the sleep is hard to come by, and before labor is over, a mom may be a bit hangry. Cut her some slack. Cut yourself some slack too.
Anything a woman says during labor should never be used against her. She's not herself. Remember you are a wonderful, amazing, super human who is right there by her side. She'll thank you later, even if she's flipping you off at the moment.
8 Be Present
This one is easier said than done, and goes hand-in-hand with avoiding distractions, not complaining and hiding your boredom. Being present means you are there, in the moment, with your woman.
You are breathing when she breaths and feeling the strong emotions of love, fear and excitement right along with her. Look into her eyes, hold her hand, stroke her hair and hold her close. Ask her what she needs, wipe her tears and make her laugh. Treat her like the mother of your precious child, remind yourself what she is doing for both of you.
As previously mentioned, this experience is hard, but it's also fleeting. It will be over before you know it, and it will be ingrained into your mind for the rest of your life. Live this moment with all of your senses. Put distractions aside. Don't think about work or school or cheeseburgers. Focus on the miracle unfolding in front of you. Trust us, you'll be glad you did.
7 Use Those Muscles
What does this mean? Without being too stereotypical, it means be the strong, rugged man that you are and put those rippling muscles of yours to good use. Even if your arms resemble string beans, they'll get the job done, and they're irresistible. Why? Cause you are a dad-to-be who is rocking this whole labor and delivery experience. There isn't anything hotter.
Rub Mom's lower back, her shoulders, her calves, her feet, her head, wherever she requests. Touch can be a powerful tool during a baby's delivery. Not only does it have a calming affect, massage is a proven natural pain reliever, and using counter-pressure can bring a woman going the natural route in the labor process a lot of relief.
You may be tired, you may want to curl up in the fetal position about now, but hang in there. Once again, your efforts will not be forgotten. You are rocking this! Keep it up.
6 Stay Positive
Maiolatesi shares another nugget of advice for fathers-to-be on the power of saying positive. According to what she has observed over the course of her career assisting in the delivery of babies, "A woman can become panicky during labor, and the best person to get her back on track with her breathing is her partner. After all, you know her better than anyone else."
There may be a moment when your lady totally starts to lose it. Delivering a baby is an intense experience to say the least, and being the person who she can look to for positivity can really help to ease her anxiety when the panic starts to set in.
You may be just as terrified and overwhelmed as she is, but smiling and telling her everything is going to be okay, and that you are there for her, can make all of the difference in the world. You may not feel like a fountain of positive vibes, but she needs you to be the optimist today.
5 Provide Distractions
Dads with partners who are planning to deliver Baby without medication have their work cut out for them when it comes to assisting Mom with the birthing process. For these fathers, distractions for their partner come in the form of affirmations, physical touch and encouragement.
For those with partners getting an epidural, fathers are still needed to help distract Mom from the terrifying task at hand. Sarah Kilpatrick, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She shares some great wisdom about the power of distraction.
Based on what she has observed in her many years of experience working with couples in the throes of a baby's delivery, she says,"If your partner has an epidural, there may be less need for physical support during the beginning stages of labor. Instead, you should be ready to keep her occupied with music, conversation, and card games."
4 Snap Some Pictures
Gulu Gambhir, a new father from Annandale, Virginia shares, "When my wife saw the photos of our son's birth, she discovered things she had either forgotten or been too emotional to remember."
Dads are encouraged to get snap-happy in the delivery room, as long as Mom is on board. Remember some women are more private than others. While some are completely comfortable with documentation of the birthing process from all angles, others may only want shots from the neck up.
Discuss beforehand which pictures she most wants you to capture, and while a few selfies featuring Dad are adorable, remember to get Mom more than a time or two as well. After your baby arrives, the more shots you can get of Mom and Baby sharing their first moments together, the better. Sometimes complications at the time of delivery make it impossible for Mom to see her baby right away. In these cases, she'll forever cherish any shots you can get of your little one right after he or she is born.
3 Be An Advocate For Mom
Lisa Castillo is a labor and delivery nurse at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.. She shares some advice with new fathers about what it means to be an advocate. According to Castillo, "Nobody wants a C-section, but remember that things don't always go as planned. Still, feel free to ask questions about your options -- especially if your wife is in too much pain to ask herself."
Dr. Kilpatrick shares some additional wisdom: "When Mom is in pain, Dad can often articulate her needs better and make sure her wishes are met."
Women aren't always in the right state of mind during the delivery of a baby to speak up for themselves. That's where Dad comes in. Read up on different complications that may arise. Speak to your partner beforehand about her wishes, and fight to make sure that her delivery experience is as close to what she wants as possible.
2 Prepare To Be Amazed
Mike Mochizuki is a father from Bethesda, Maryland. He will never get over the magic he experienced when his son was born. According to Mochizuki,"Being with my wife, Clare, through her labor and delivery was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was miraculous to see our son come into the world."
It's likely that many fathers would echo Mike's musings if asked about their feelings about the births of their babies. The love and joy that rushes in at the time of your baby's arrival is something that can't really be put into words.
You'll know what we mean when you feel it. Get ready to feel more love than you ever thought possible. Get ready to realize miracles happen every day: when babies enter the world. The moment you hold your baby for the first time will make anything you've had to deal with up to this point completely and totally worth it. Congratulations, Pop!
1 Be Available After The Birth
You did it! You didn't give up, and you helped your partner bring your new child into the world. You are pretty much Father of the Year, but your work isn't done quite yet. Your lady needs you now more than ever as you two navigate this new world of parenthood together.
Claire Lerner, L.C.S.W. is a child-development specialist with the nonprofit group Zero to Three in Washington, D.C.. She shares some wisdom with new fathers concerning what Mom needs after your baby's delivery: "Mom has been through a lot both physically and emotionally. It's a good time to show her how much you love her."
Don't worry about performing grand gestures. It's the simple things that your partner will appreciate the most. Aimee Ellis of Agawam, Massachusetts shares the lovely way her husband was there for her after the delivery of their baby, proving it doesn't take much to make a new mom happy. "My husband showed up with roses and a Scrabble game -- something we had played endlessly while we were dating. I was so touched that I couldn't stop crying."
Alright, Dads. The time is near. Your baby will be here before you know it. Now go love your new little family like a boss.