Becoming a new dad to a wonderful bundle of joy will change your partner, sometimes for the better, and perhaps a little for the worse. Regardless, a new baby changes things forever, and you are likely to see some differences in your partner. A few of these are:
7 Am I Really Ready?!
Women seem programmed for babies, or, at least, some men feel that way. We are the ones that get pregnant, have the baby, and then feed the baby from our bodies. Your partner may realize all of this, and see your getting the nursery ready and preparing for baby's arrival. He may start to think, am I really ready for this?! Can I actually do this fatherhood thing?! This may or may not even be something he shares with you.
This sudden great responsibility that falls on a father-to-be's shoulders can be overwhelming for him. He could feel completely under qualified for this new, amazing job. All kinds of things may run through his head, I've never even held a baby! How do I change a diaper?! What do I do if they cry when I hold them?! What if I drop him?!! It can be a stressful transition into fatherhood, and it could take him some time to feel comfortable in his newly appointed role.
As the mother-to-be, keep this in the back of your head. Reassure your baby's daddy that he will be an excellent father. His instincts will kick in once he sees and holds his little one, and it is probably unlikely that he'll drop him...
6 Reliving the Past
Fatherhood will get your partner thinking about his own father and his own childhood. If he had a fantastic relationship with his dad, he may want to emulate him and be the same way with his own child. Having a positive relationship as a child with his father sets the stage towards an equal if not a better relationship with his own child. If your partner had a great leader to follow in his own father, feel lucky, not all men can say they had this type of love with their own dad.
If your guy's relationship with his own father was less than perfect or non-existent, this can prompt your man to want to be the father he never had. Stirring up old feelings of the childhood relationship your partner had with his father can be difficult. Memories and thoughts that were buried could suddenly rise to the surface. But one thing is usually certain, he will want to be the best dad he can be, and he will not want to repeat history.
No matter the type of relationship your baby's father had with his own father, you must encourage the fact that he will be a good dad, and that his baby will love him. You may find yourself stumbling on your partner digging out his old baseball glove or dusting off that chess board. He may be overeager to teach his son or daughter all the things that he loved from his childhood. Look at this as a blessing.
5 Change of Priorities
Your guy's “man cave” may be reconstructed into a nursery, and that can take some adjustment! Whether it is physical space or emotional feelings, your partner's priorities will change. While some men may jump at the chance to devote their space to their new baby, others may be a little hesitant, and that is okay. Babies are an adjustment.
Fathers-to-be need to be reassured that there is some space for them. If it cannot be an entire room that they veg out in, give them space in your bedroom, basement, or even in the tool shed! They need to be reminded that although baby brings lots of changes, not everything has to change. More than likely, being a new father will be so special to them, that they will give up that weight room or bar for their new son or daughter.
Give Him Space
You may find that your partner wants to wake up early to hit the gym or grab a drink with the guys after work. Fatherhood will bring a lot less “me time”, to both of you. Your partner may need some alone time or social time away from the baby. This does not necessarily mean his priorities are out of whack. Needing some time to himself may refresh him and make him a better, more focused dad in the long run, just as long as it's not a regular or everyday thing, and that he is still spending time with his family. Work out a schedule with him, you may find that you could greatly use some “me time” as well. Neither one of you should feel guilty about wanting some time to yourselves.
4 His Brain Gets Better!
An incredible thing happens when a man becomes a father- his brain actually changes. Some studies have shown that both the male and female brain evolves once we become parents. This belief indicates that we may not be pre-programmed for parenthood, but rather a baby causes us to have to adapt.
What do Scientists Have to Say?
Scientists believe that the prefrontal cortex, responsible for abstract thinking and analysis, is actually enhanced in fathers-to-be. It is thought that new neutrons are developed in the brain that assist with recognition, memory, and navigation. In addition, levels of oxytocin (sometimes known as the love hormone) is also higher among dads, and increases with each cuddle. What's not to love about that?!
3 Bye-bye Male Stereotype
Some men have an incredible, instinctual desire to be the alpha-male, the leader of the pack. They want to be the biggest, strongest, smartest guy. Hand them their newborn daughter and suddenly your tough guy could turn to mush. You may be (pleasantly) surprised to see your man's new reaction to fatherhood. The man's man you once knew could start shedding tears or feel weak at the knees. Perhaps your guy never even held a baby before, and now all he wants to do is hold his new bundle of love.
Fatherhood and parenthood bring a range of emotions. Fathers may even feel a little vulnerable after the birth of their baby. Suddenly, they are responsible for this tiny human being. They are likely to feel a tremendous amount of love towards their newborn, and might not even be able to identify that feeling as love! It might even hurt their heart! Your macho guy is overwhelmed with love and the need to protect their sweet little one. In fact, it is reported that male testosterone levels drop once they become fathers!
A Transformation is What You Will Witness
Be ready to see an amazing thing - your partner bonding with your baby. Whether your guy was the typical male stereotype or not, one thing is certain - he will develop a bond with your baby that is different from the bond you have with the baby. If you are the primary caregiver (and milk machine), your baby will likely want mom and only mom for a large portion of the time. But you may start to see that your baby wants to be held by his or her dad, they may even try to get away from you to get to their dad.
2 Relationship Shift
Having a baby can change your relationship with your significant other. A new father may be overwhelmed with joy, but underwhelmed at the lack of attention he may or may not receive from you. Most fathers will say they understand that new mothers focus their primary attention on the newborn baby. It was nine long months in the making, but a new baby can be a shock for new dads.
As women, we nested and prepared for our little arrival, and even if your partner was involved in this process, the new-ness of the entire baby concept may take him a little off guard. Prior to baby, he may have been your main focus and held your sole attention. Some men may feel slightly abandoned by their partner once baby is born and it may be difficult for them to share how they really feel. Take time to talk to each other, whether over breakfast or before you say goodnight. In new, exhausted parents, emotions can run a muck, make it a priority to keep up the conversation.
Your relationship can take a hit, but it may only be temporary. Remind your man that he is important to you, and to your newly formed family. That sweet bundle of joy needs his or her daddy just as much as they need their mommy. Give him some responsibility with the baby. Create bonding moments with father and child, and together as a whole family. This will bring the two of you closer together. Your relationship will shift, it is only natural once you begin to have a family. Just make sure that you set aside time for each other too. Be happy together; you just had a baby!
1 Overall Improvement
Being tired and exhausted (even for dads) goes hand in hand with having a new baby, but once you get over that initial hurdle, you're likely to find that your baby's father has a new, healthier outlook to life. Crawling after a baby and chasing a toddler gets one's heart rate up and stress levels down (well, the stress level may be up if you are chasing that toddler through the mall!).
Many fathers are thrilled at the thought of being able to play with their babies, and even more, with their kids, running around, playing sports, and just having fun. Both body and mind are improved when you are physical, so take those family walks!
He Will Change
Being a dad can make many men more nurturing, too. What father can resist their baby reaching for them or their toddler running and jumping in for a hug?! Men shift to a more nurturing role when they become fathers and this can also improve their health. They are more calm, less stressed, and have a higher satisfaction with life. A new father suddenly has his own flesh and blood that he cares for and loves, and for most men, they would not change a thing.