Becoming a Dad Article
Initial Words of Wisdom
The challenges that experienced fathers say are most important, and some of their best advice is as follows:
The basic challenge you face is not changing diapers or comforting a crying baby, but working with your wife to form a new family. The pressures and demands that new babies bring often place a serious drag on your relationship just when you need to be working together.
It is essential that you take the long view and form a team approach that benefits the baby, strengthens your relationship and provides long term stability for your family.
The tremendous changes experienced by new moms can be very tough and confusing, and they in turn can be tough on new dads.
If this is happening to you, keep in mind you have lots of company. In fact, part of the basic job description for new fathers is to serve as mom's punching bag.
As men, we are built tough, and if we understand what's happening, we can take the hits. It will pass, and we get a baby out of the deal.
Fatherhood is about growing up and accepting responsibility. For most men, this takes time, so cut yourself some slack, but keep moving forward. We all have an instinctual desire in our hearts to do right by our children, but things get in the way.
Those who do the job learn that the rewards are well worth the sacrifices; those who don't will never know what they are missing. There is no one right way to be a dad. Every baby, mom and dad is unique, and there are different approaches to each issue.
Lots of choices need to be made and you - along with mom - are the one to decide what works for your new family. You also need to learn to trust your instincts; most of what you need to know comes naturally.
Men bring their own unique strengths to parenting, and you should be confident that you are fully capable of caring for your baby. Men have been told that we are inherently incompetent in caring for babies. This becomes a self fulfilling prophecy if we believe it ourselves.
Develop your understanding and capabilities as a father, and make the most of the practicality, creativity and stamina men bring to parenting. We learn best from men who are doing the job. Talk to your brothers, friends and other dads around you.
You can blow off steam, gain perspective, and get some new ideas. If you connect and share experiences with other fathers, you will be surrounded by men who will help you do your best. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be in a position to take care of your new family.
Keep in mind that your good health and mental well being are essential to all of you. While fatherhood is forever, it occurs one day at a time, and some days will be better than others. You are going to make mistakes, and each new day presents an opportunity to take another shot.
It is a tough transition, and we must be patient with our babies, our mates, and ourselves.
I was a bachelor for 12 years before I got married. So being a husband for the first time was quite a shock. Then, before I even had time to enjoy being married and adjust to my new role as a husband, my wife got pregnant.
All of the sudden, I'm a father. It happened so fast.
- Veteran Dad
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