OK. You've made it through the last nine months. You've painted the nursery. You sat through the baby showers. You've even catered to your wife's every whim, quirky request and craving (or you should have).
The day is finally here, and you're as ready as any new father could be.
Then your subconscious starts talking to you. Riddling your once confident demeanor with doubts.
What if I'm not a good dad?
What if there are complications?
What if my baby has to spend time in the NICU?
Relax. This is the normal pre-baby process that every new papa goes through. Having these thoughts means you are normal. It also means that maybe you need some of those thoughts quelled. Just so you know you're not alone, here are the six thoughts every new dad has.
1. Why is my wife still not herself after she delivers?
It's estimated that 70% of women go through "baby blues" after delivery, due to hormonal changes that are taking place in her body. This pervasive sadness and emotional shift could last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. There is also a chance your wife could experience postpartum depression. But don't panic; you and your wife and your new baby are going to be just fine. Support your partner like you have been. Be especially patient. And talk to a doctor. It's all part of the process and as long as you're sympathetic to the situation, you will both make it through just fine.
2. My wife has me, who do I have?
A common problem for men is their lack of a support network both during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Search for "Dad Groups" in your area for new fathers. They are great resources that schedule playdates for children and dads, sponsor family activities and even hold regular "Dads Night Out" so you can get a chance to talk to other fathers who were once in the same position you are in now.
3. My wife just had a baby - and gets all the attention
Your relationship is bound to be different after your child is born. You're both running on very little sleep. Your wife's self-esteem is probably at its all-time low because of hormones and weight gain and the baby is up every two hours. Just give it time. Things will never be the way they were...but they will be better.
4. With everything we need for baby, I swear we're going to go broke
Managing your finances is something you should talk to your wife about before the baby gets here. Visit a store that sells gently used baby items and other necessities like cribs, swings, changing tables and other nursery must-haves. Save money where you can to afford items that should be purchased new - car seats should always be purchased new to ensure they have never been in an accident and are within expiration dates.
5. Is it ever going to get easier?
Will you master the art of being the father of a newborn baby? Of course. Through practice, and a lot of trial and error, you and your wife will find out what works best for you. And just about the time you think you've got it all figured out, they won't be a newborn anymore, and you'll be the father of a toddler- - with a whole new set of obstacles to overcome. But it's OK. That's what parenting is all about. Embrace it.
6. What if I'm not a good dad?
Really? Come on! You've got this! Take a deep breath and dive right in. This is one of the most amazing parts of your life, and trust me, it goes by too quickly.
So, take as many movies and photos as your phone can hold. Spend as much time with your new baby as possible. Be there to support mom and take it day by day. The two of you are on an incredible journey with your new little one. Welcome to the brotherhood of fatherhood!