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Not Excited About Having a Baby










QUESTION:

I don't know who to talk to about this. Me and my wife are expecting my first child. She has a daughter from a previous marriage who is 4 now and I love her to death. So I am not afraid of kids.

My problem is I am not excited or happy or anything about the new baby. I tell people we are having a son. They are all excited and say congratulations or some obligatory remark and act like it's the greatest thing in the world. My wife is excited, my family, her family, our friends, etc. but I just feel indifferent to it.

I feel guilty about this. Really guilty. Like there is something wrong with me. I tell people I am excited. Try to play the part but I feel so apathetic towards it all.

I can't really talk to anyone about It because I feel so badly. Is something wrong with me?




ANSWER:

I just had another dad in your circumstances at Boot Camp for New Dads. He felt nothing when holding his wife's friend's babies, and thought he would not love his own. Some rookie dads-to-be are excited, some are up-and-down with a lot on their minds, and many get concerned and even scared about issues such as yours. Keep in mind we have had about 300,000 men to come through Boot Camp as Rookies, with many returning later with their babies to show the new guys the ropes. The difference between the Rookies and Veterans is vast, with the Veterans generally amazed at how much they love their babies. Recent research on the neuro-biology of a new father's brain explains this. As the birth approaches we start running new or enriched chemicals in our brains that make us very protective and help us prepare to be fathers. We also start building a section of our brain, in terms of new neurons and synapses that connect them, just for our child. At birth, when you hold him (or her) for the first time and say hello, he will recognize your voice from hearing it while in the womb, and will likely stare intensely into your eyes and you'll stare right back. This is thought to trigger the chemical surges and rapid neuron development experienced at birth by both father and child, with symbiotically connected sections in each of your brains.

A constructive approach may be for you to give your kid his best shot at capturing your heart and soul. Two to three months after arrival is when most guys feel “bonded” and when you should ask the question do I love my baby? In the meantime, in the final month when your baby's brain and hearing are starting to rapidly develop, talk to him in the womb. Say anything you feel like saying. If you want to step it up, with mom's indulgence, sing him a song (or play one) you really like, so when he is fussy, the song will calm him down and give him a fundamental appreciation for the music you like. Along the same lines, tell him everything about your favorite team, or anything you're passionate about. To really get ahead of the curve, think about the things that you and your child will do growing up together.

When he arrives, take your time with him, let him grab your little finger in his hand, and learn from the nurses how to take care of him. Pick one thing, like his bath, that you own and handle. Go slow in getting him used to the water to make sure he learns to like it, so you can do swimming lessons at six months and go surfing when he is three. Do what the cavemen did; skin to skin contact is best at supercharging both your blood and his, but all contact counts, especially when you get out of the house alone with your baby on adventures to the hardware store. This is specifically generating mutual surges of oxytocin, the same love hormone that enabled your wife to capture your heart. Your baby is designed to do this to you as soon as he's born. So let him do his thing, and enjoy.

A lot of people say they don't like babies, but they will do anything for their own.

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