In our society, women have a key position in giving birth and upbringing of children. Men are generally required or expected to support morally and financially. But a family is only complete when both parents are involved in childcare. And when everything is simple and clear with mothers, fathers are a different story…
How can a husband help his pregnant wife? Or what tasks depend on a man when a baby is born? Not every man can answer these questions for himself. And perhaps every father to be or actual father has to solve them on his own. I suggest plunging into the inner life of a family and examine these issues together.
At first, let’s examine the scenario when a father to be is not ready for a baby. Or rather, how the relationship between him and the baby will develop in this case.
First, a man may have doubts about his abilities and various fears: «how much freedom will I lose?», «how much will I have to change my life?», «will I manage?», «how to behave with the baby?». Second, He may be unwilling to communicate with the baby, take them in his arms due to fear or, probably, squeamishness. It usually looks like detachment or indifference. It is worth mentioning the phenomenon of unconscious attitude to baby’s birth. In this case, a father to be cannot imagine what difficulties he may face, what a baby needs most and what they can do without.
Yes, a baby is unlikely to feel comfortable in such situation. Moreover newborns and children feel emotions of other people very well. And if father’s negativity is followed with side words like «why do we need him/her?», «make him/her stop screaming!», «take him/her away…», it is easy to assume that this will form a basis for cold and strained relationships between the father and the child. In future, it will affect both of them. The father may feel guilty deep inside before the baby (if the father becomes mature for fatherhood in a couple of years) and angry with himself and the child feels resentment against their father. All these feelings do not help to build warm relationships.
So while expecting a baby, fathers should pay attention to several points:
Let’s now see how relationships between a father and a child develop if the father is ready not only for birth of the child but also to take an active part in all chores even before a child’s birth. This includes visiting a doctor where the father may hear the first sounds of the baby’s heartbeat, see how the baby “lives inside the mother” through ultrasound as a bonus. Also visiting together a parenting school, shopping to buy a crib, stroller and all sorts of staff.
A lot of men who are psychologically ready for the birth of a baby even want to participate in labor. They take a holiday to help their wives with “pleasant chores” and take care of the baby and the house. After all, not everyone understands that during the first 1,5-2 years, mothers not only have to keep watch for the baby day and night but also cope with household chores. And few people know that especially after childbirth a woman needs a strong support from her husband more than ever. What can her husband do? For example, bathe the baby, walk with them, iron swaddling bands. These things take a lot of efforts and her husband’s help would be irreplaceable. Besides, the mother will be able to relax, sleep an hour or two, recover after the childbirth.
And now let’s see how men cope with babies? What helps them with that? What traits can hinder?
Men are more emotionally restrained by nature. This is a huge advantage when a mother is tired. As I have said before, babies are very sensitive to emotions of other people. Naturally, they have the strongest response to their mothers. If a mother is very much stressed, a baby will be nervous too and start crying. They can be only quieted with:
And the mother should relax, relax, relax!
And while the mother is having a rest, the father can spend time with the baby. I think both of them will really enjoy it. Besides, in future father’s self-restrain will help to settle lots of conflicts in the family and outside it. The father will be able to clearly and without unnecessary emotions explain to his child what is good and what is bad. It is especially necessary during the first serious crisis of the child when they are 3 years old and start asserting itself as an individual. They are still unaware of hidden dangers in this world and can do something silly.
I can’t help but mention several male traits – poorly developed intuition and the ability to watch and distinguish. These qualities are needed for a better understanding of a newborn. As you know, men have well developed logical reasoning. Therefore unpleasant incidents may happen with them. Like in this joke:
A man came to a doctor and complained that his newborn had lost a lot of weight over the previous 2 days and his wife had gone on holiday for a week: «I bathed him, took for a walk, massaged. And he is losing weight!» Then the doctor asked a question: «How do you feed him?» The gobsmacked man exclaimed: «Exactly!!! And I thought what I forgot to do!? Feed!!!»
Trying to use logic to understand anything, fathers can lose in dealing with young children. The following male traits can be added here:
Therefore it is more interesting for fathers to deal with children aged 2–3 years when kids can already speak and walk.
Dear fathers, don’t get upset too quickly! When a baby is older, these traits of yours will help your son or daughter to become successful people. Until then, enjoy every minute spent with your baby with tenderness and joy only you are capable of.
Child and adolescent psychologist, Moscow