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If your partner just told you that she was pregnant, you may be experiencing a host of emotions. Maybe this came as a complete shock, and you're dealing with nervous fears and endless questions. Or maybe you've waited for this moment for a long time, and while you're excited, you're starting to wonder: "Will I be a good dad?"
Whatever the situation is, there are some things you'll want to consider as you prepare to be a father:
1. Start researching NOW!
If you grew up in a family full of kids, you might be used to seeing the needs of a little one as he cries angrily, shaking his bottle. Or maybe you haven't had any experience with babies and are afraid you'll hold yours the wrong way. (It's like a football, right?!) Thankfully there have been countless books, online articles, blogs, and more providing new dads with tips on how to support his family.
If your partner is experiencing symptoms like morning sickness, fatigue, joint pain, nerves, anxiety, or any of the other many pregnancy symptoms, sit down with her and ask her to explain what she is going through. This will grow your relationship with her and help you better support her. If possible, go to her appointments with her! She probably isn't the only one that has questions about her pregnancy... Ask the doctor about labor, delivery, and the soon-to-be birth of your child!
2. Improve your health!
Once the baby arrives, you'll not have much time to focus on yourself. Babies are all-consuming, and they'll take most of your energy! So now, while your partner is pregnant, get healthy! If you're a smoker, the best thing you can do for your own health and the health of your family is to quit now.
Ensure you're getting a healthy amount of sleep, start healthy eating habits, and find some quiet time to spend one-on-one with your partner.
3. Talk about parenting with your partner.
Everyone has different parenting styles and opinions. Do you guys agree on things like:
4. What kind of dad do you want to be?
Some men do not have a good relationship with their father. This could be because of an abusive relationship, or maybe their father was emotionally distant, or maybe he was never around when they were growing up. Whatever the case is for you, you need to decide now what kind of dad you want to be. Who are the men you look up to in life? Why are they your role models? Sometimes finding other dads and talking to them can be helpful! What advice do they have on being a good father?
Make a list of things you want your child to say about you when he/she grows up, such as:
5. Know that YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
Being a dad isn't temporary. From the moment that pregnancy test read positive, you started being a dad. This is a long-term commitment. Be present in your child's life. That's the absolute best gift you could ever give them.
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