Just as this is an exciting and nerve wracking time for you, it is equally so for dad. Unfortunately, we tend to overlook dad’s role and dad’s feelings. We just assume he will figure it out and do what is expected of him when the contractions start, the baby comes and things need to be taken care of. Then, let’s be honest, we are exasperated when dad doesn’t do what we expect him to do. Ladies, just as you need to be prepared for having a baby, so does dad. So let’s help him out.
The first thing that expectant fathers need to know is where the hospital is. Don’t laugh or overlook this key piece of info. You also don’t want to assume that he knows where it is and where he is suppose to go. Where we used to live a lady in labor goes to the ER and is then sent to labor and delivery. Where we live now, and the hospital we will be going to, they have a separate labor unit, which you go directly in to. So dad needs to know how to get there from work, and he needs to know where he needs to go.
Dad also needs to know what is expected of him during labor and delivery. Will he be in the room? Are you putting him in control of keeping people in and out of the delivery room? I think most dads want to be in the delivery room, but not all dad’s are prepared to see their partners go through the actual labor and delivery. So be upfront about what you are expecting, and listen to what he wants, what his concerns are.
Do you have other kids? Who is going to take care of them? Let’s be realistic, dad can only be in one place at a time. You can not expect him to be at the hospital with you, be at work and be at home to tend to the children. So try to arrange help for dad. This could be asking a couple family members or friends if they would mind making dinner for your family while you are in the hospital. You might ask one of them if they can sit the kids so that dad can be at the hospital with you and baby.
Be nice, try to make sure the laundry is done and that there are meals dad can prepare to feed himself and the kids at home. Make sure that dad knows when the bus picks up and drops off the older children so that he is sure he is there or that they have access into the house. Make sure that there are breakfast items and lunch items so that lunches can be packed. Or maybe make sure that your children have money to buy lunch at school.
Make sure that you spend time alone with dad where you talk about the big day. Find out if he has any fears, worries or concerns about delivery day. While you are going to be parents you have to remember that you are a couple first. I can not stress this enough. All to often couples end up in trouble after baby comes because the relationship is being neglected. Dad has wants, needs, desires and concerns and you have expectations, wants, needs, desires and concerns and you better face it right now that you and dad are not always going to be on the same page on any of those things. Keep the lines of communication open and strong. Never forget that you are a couple and that needs nurturing just as much as baby does.
To help dad be prepared you also need to take care of the silly little things like making sure the hospital bag is ready to go. Make sure you have the “bringing home baby” bag ready. Make sure you have a car seat and that dad knows where it is. If you don’t have these things prepared before hand then you need to appreciate whatever it is that dad brings to the hospital. It doesn’t matter if it matches, or if it is was you would’ve picked.
If you take the time to talk to your partner, pay attention to what they are saying and work together to get ready for delivery day everything should run smoothly.