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Preparing for baby’s arrival: Tips for new dads

The lead up to the arrival of a new baby can be an exciting time for expecting dads. But it can also bring challenges as you adjust to the new future.

Adjusting to the idea of becoming a dad can be complicated, confusing and even overwhelming.

Joy and anticipation of what is to come can be mixed with anxiety about the unknown. Even men who have felt able to cope with most things are suddenly facing a future filled with uncertainties they have not had to deal with before.

TYPES OF CHANGES

We know that some expecting dads experience complex feelings of loss and grief. They are leaving one life behind, and moving into another. Everyone processes this change differently.

Issues in an expecting dad's family can also have an impact. In fact, their whole idea of family can take on a new meaning. We know that families can be complicated, which can impact how both parents view the impending arrival of the baby.

Other issues can also affect how men deal with impending fatherhood. Pregnancy might mean a family moving to one income, which might bring additional stress both before the arrival of the little one and afterwards.

At the same time, your partner will be going through a whole range of emotions herself which can affect how she feels about herself and also how she relates to you. Changes to a woman’s career, body shape and even clothes sizes can have a real impact on how she sees herself and her identity. 

“My life’s never going to be the same and it’s really stressing me out .”

BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE FEELING

Having mixed emotions and experiencing complex changes is normal. However, it can also be confusing and scary. As expecting dads, being prepared for these changes and being open to talking about feelings and facing them head on can help you navigate your transition to parenthood.

Sometimes even being prepared to understand and embrace these changes is not enough. You might still develop antenatal anxiety or depression. If you feel that the changes that happen during pregnancy and the lead up to the birth are causing particularly difficult emotional and mental challenges, then it’s time to seek support.

PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline provides a safe and confidential space for anyone struggling with the challenges of becoming a new parent – including dads. PANDA’s highly trained and caring counsellors will help you work through your challenges by talking openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

It’s important for couples to discuss their roles both inside and outside the home. For example, if a father wants to be closely involved with his children, he might be unhappy working a 50-hour week. Similarly, it’s not healthy for a mother to be at home full-time if her work is important to her and she’s unhappy without it.

PREPARING FOR THE BIRTH

For many men, the prospect of the actual birthing process can be quite daunting. It’s the most natural thing in the world but still very different from the kinds of things most of us deal with everyday!

There are, however, ways to prepare for it. Most hospitals offer antenatal classes (otherwise known as childbirth education or birth and parenting classes). Some charge a fee for this service. These can fill up quickly, so get in early!

Or you could do something similar but in a less formal setting! Beer n Bubs is a one-night session at pubs all over Australia where as an expecting dad you can learn how to support your partner through the birth of your baby.

Helpful Information

Getting help: support for expecting and new dads
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Reach out early

Mental health checklist

How are you going?

Everyone’s experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting is unique and brings different rewards and challenges. Our mental health checklist can help you to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be reason to seek help.

Checklist for

Expecting Mums
Expecting Dads and Non-birth Parents
New Mums
New Dads and Non-birth Parents
Partners and Carers
PANDA National Helpline

Find someone to talk to, Monday to Saturday.

1300 726 306

Call 000 for police and ambulance if you or someone else are in immediate danger

Talk with friends or family

Consider talking about how you are feeling with someone you trust. This might be a friend or family member. Once you starting talking you might be surprised at how many others have had similar experiences and the support they can provide you.

Talk with your doctor

Talking with your doctor can be an important step to getting the help you need. They should be able to give you non-judgemental support, assessment, diagnosis, and ongoing care and treatment. They can also refer you to specialists such as a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Get help now

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are feeling disorientated it’s important to get help immediately. PANDA is not a crisis service, if you need immediate support call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7).

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Everyone’s experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting is unique and brings different rewards and challenges. Our mental health checklist can help you to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be a reason to seek help.