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Dad Feels Like Baby Would be Better Off Without Him










QUESTION:

I am not excited at all about my wife being pregnant.

We had been going through marriage counseling and having massive issues to the point I told her I didn't think I wanted kids with her. That week she suddenly wanted sex and then we found out she was pregnant three weeks later. I no longer love my wife and feel like she got pregnant just to keep me around. So I have had no excitement or feelings about the baby. I used to hope she would miscarry, but now I get suicidal thoughts because of the situation. I am no longer religious because of what I see as a failed marriage. I feel like the baby would be better off never knowing me.

The only way I don't feel disgusted over things is when I think of it as "my" baby and not "our" baby. My wife doesn't drive or do much around the house so I see the baby as simply another burden in my life along with her. I just haven't had any joy or excitement about the news and hate being congratulated over accidentally creating a baby. People ask me how I feel about being a dad in a few months and I tell them I don't want to talk about it. I want to try and be excited and look forward to being a dad but I just can't.




ANSWER:

Your circumstances really suck. Still, you have no idea the powerful biological boost you and your baby will get and fall mutually in love in your first months together. Sonograms can trigger it sometime, but birth is when it really kicks in. It is in your and your baby’s DNA to bond and connect, so you can count on it. You will be propelled by the forces of nature.

When you say you "think of it as my baby”, you are thinking positively. “I feel like my baby would be better off not knowing me” is where you are getting off track; it sounds like you are the best hope your baby has. Here are some points and suggestions:

  • Keep in mind that inevitable neuro-chemical boost (a combination of hormonal and neuron changes). Trust this to provide you the drive to be the dad you want to be.
  • A baby will change a new mom even more, so you will have to wait and see how and to what extent your wife changes. Give her all the support you can muster as the mother of your baby, both pre-and post birth. Regardless of what happens to your marriage, you need to do this for your baby. Maybe things will work out, maybe not, but you will want to know you took your best shot. If you eventually separate, you still need to partner with mom to raise your child, so start as best you can now.
  • Do you know anyone with a baby? Take any opportunity to hold theirs, talk to dads, ask constructive questions about what they did for the car seat, gear they needed, how to handle crying, the birth, etc. (You can do exactly this if there's a Boot Camp for New Dads near you.) With your mess of concerns, focusing on your baby will get you to the best outcome.
  • When people ask about your feelings, “I got to hold a friend’s baby and they are pretty cool” will handle it. Or “I am learning about handling the crying”.
  • Get a book. Our Crash Course for Dads-To-Be covers what you need and is very concise.
  • Babies are very cool. When you get a chance, put one facing up on your lap, put your pinkies in her hands (she will grab on), quietly say hello, and look her in the eyes, watch her and make faces; she will respond with her eyes as one dad pointed out, “they talk with their eyes”.
  • Thinking about the things you and your child will do together as they grow up is a good way to get excited and looking forward to being a dad.
  • We have seen dads make fatherhood work under the most challenging circumstances and men like you who reach out for help are the ones with the best shot.

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