8 Things to Do Now that You’re Going to be a Dad

i'm going to be a father
8 Things to Do Now that You’re Going to be a Dad

By Jon Helmkamp

Congratulations big guy, you’re going to be a dad! The journey to fatherhood is one riddled with emotional turmoil, new challenges, an increase in responsibilities, and unchartered waters that you have never even come close to navigating. But guess what? It’s all worth it, and is truly one of the most incredible times of your life.

Now that you’re going to be a dad, here’s what to do now:

Breathe

I know man, it’s a serious amount of emotions. Your partner just shared the big news with you, and you’re probably experiencing a pretty intense level of shock combined with a gigantic tidal wave of emotions unparalleled to anything you’ve experienced. Take a deep breath, calm down, and know that this is something that you and your partner are going to get through with flying colors.

Celebrate

Before you do anything else, and before you let your mind take off like a runaway train, take a moment to simply acknowledge how astounding this moment is. You’re going to be a father, and you and your partner now share something that will bring you closer than just about anything else can. Revel in that moment! It’s an incredible time, and celebrate with your partner. But remember, lay off the bubbly – no more alcohol for the mama to be.

When to announce the news

Now that you’ve had a second to let it all sink in, you and your partner need to discuss when and how the best time to share your news will be. For the love of all that is good, PLEASE don’t go blasting it on Facebook before you’ve checked with your partner. Keep in mind, it’s going to be different for everyone – some people like to wait until after the 12 week mark when the risk of miscarriage becomes significantly less, and others just can’t wait to shout it from a mountain top. The two of you are going to need to figure out what works for you.  Personally, my wife and I waited until our 8 week check up before announcing it publicly.

Take some time to ponder

Listen up man, life is going to be changing in a BIG way, and starting very soon. Get all those “What the hell am I doing” thoughts out of your head and learn to trust yourself – your partner is going to need strength from you. Do what you have to do to get right in your own mind about it, whether that’s taking a guys day with your best friend to talk it out or meditating on it, do whatever you have to do to  mentally and emotionally prepare for the changes that are coming your way. Because trust me, changes are coming quick.

Read up

I’m going to tell you right now, you don’t have any clue what you’re getting into. That’s just a fact, and it’s completely normal. For instance, did you know that pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat any cured meats? Yeah, me neither. But apparently they aren’t. Mood swings and food cravings (and aversions to foods and smells as well) are going to be coming at you fast, so buck up and make those midnight runs to the convenient store when the only thing that sounds good to her is ice cream and pickles. Oh, and if it all of a sudden sounds revolting to her when you get home, don’t be frustrated. It happens. Sometimes a lot. A great resource to track your baby’s growth and what your partner is going through is www.whattoexpect.com. Make sure you do your research on pregnancy symptoms and dietary restrictions – it’s a great way to show your partner that you are engaged and wanting to know what she and your baby are going through, as well as a good idea just for your own sanity. (Understanding is half the battle, right?)

Day dream

Personally, I feel like it is absolutely crucial to let your mind wander and to day dream about your little peanut. Not only is it okay to think about who your child will be or what they will look like, it’s healthy. Those day dreams will help you emotionally prepare, and will give you and your partner something great to bond over.

Validate your partner

You think you’re going through changes? Haha! You’re funny. Your partner is going through exponentially more. Weight gain, swelling, hormones, more hormones, and more than likely, some serious self-image issues. It’s quite common for her to feel incredibly unattractive. Let me give you just a little tip… patience. Patience. One more time – PATIENCE. Hormones are going to make your lovely partner not so lovely at times. Her temper will have a shorter fuse, her emotions will swing at the tip of a hat, and quite frankly, you just have to ride it out. Understand that it isn’t her fault, bite your lip, tell her you love her and get her a bowl of ice cream. Ice cream is always a good answer.

Take on responsibilities, your partner will need it

My wife is an incredible, hard-working, “A” personality woman that loves to take care of things herself, but even she isn’t capable of handling all the things she once did. One of those stellar pregnancy symptoms is a general sense of being ridiculously tired all the time; making a baby is some seriously hard work. So, dad, pick up the slack. Do the laundry, do the dishes, and take care of the grocery shopping. Help her however you can.

These 9 months are awesome, exciting, terrifying, and simply one of the coolest times of your life. I know it can seem daunting, but you’ll get through it. Just take a breath, gain your composure, and take it one day at a time.

Jon Helmkamp is 23 years old, a lover of sports, the outdoors and the arts. He is expecting his first child in July with his wife, and has taken to documenting his journey to fatherhood and sharing what he learns and experiences on his blog, www.findingfatherhoodjcw.wordpress.com.

  • brandon_ROTU

    New dad advice: Sleep. Sleep a lot. Encourage mom to sleep and sleep a lot. Buy all of your baby clothes at resale shops, a onesie that baby wears for a month is easier to swallow at $2 then new for $30. Also, resale clothes have been washed a bunch so the chemicals have faded out. Finally, get an ERGO baby carrier. So much more satisfying walking around with the baby on your chest than in a stroller. Babies love it and it builds a stronger bond. Cannot recommend the ERGO enough. Don’t get a crotch dangling carrier, it’s bad for baby’s hips.

  • http://www.cladwell.com/ Cladwell

    Great post. Our world could use all of the fatherhood encouragement and training it can get!
    My #9 on the list would be to surround yourself with fathers/parents/families you respect. Have dinner with them. Work your schedules to integrate life with them. I can overstate how helpful it is to learn wisdom from parents who are 3-8 years in front of you with their kids.

    • Jon Helmkamp

      Thank you so much for the kind words! I truly appreciate it, and couldn’t agree more with this point. It is crucial to build a support system to learn from and talk to. I’m in the process of building that support for my system as well. Thank you for reading my post and for the input!

      • http://www.cladwell.com/ Cladwell

        Right on. Just checked out your blog. It looks pretty cool. Also, here’s a group of Father’s based in Cincinnati that we’re a part of. You might find it interesting. https://www.facebook.com/groups/162477467212097/

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  • Matt Reeder

    My favorite books during our first pregnancy (4 years ago) were “Pregnancy Sucks – For Men” which is very frankly but humorously written and will help you navigate the pregnancy and birth and “Hit the Ground Crawling,” which is basically a bunch of stories from actual dads that help you feel a sense of community, which was great for me since none of my friends/peers were having children yet.

  • http://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/ Jonathan Ervine

    Great article. ‘Reading up’ is really good advice. I read a lot of books about pregnancy, childbirth and babies (several of which were specifically for dads) and they really helped to give me an idea of what to expect. I’d also add that talking to friends who are dads is really worthwhile.

  • Raymond

    Jon, this is a great article. I wonder if any of the Primer writers can share a similar perspective on preparing for adopting a new born.

    • Jon Helmkamp

      Thank you very much for the kind words. Being adopted myself, I can tell you that there is no different love that I have for my father that raised me than the love any child has for it’s father. He’s the only father I have ever known, and I look up to him tremendously. My advice? Do all the same things a “regular” father would do, because I don’t see it any differently. A father is a man that raises a child, loves it, teaches it, supports it, regardless if you created that child or adopted it.

      • Raymond

        I couldn’t agree more, Jon. I’m sorry if my post was a little confusing. I meant more so how one could prepare for everything that comes with the adoption process (paperwork, waiting, etc.). Any advice on how to be a great spouse during this process and any tips from guys who have been through it.

  • Tyler

    Thank you for recognizing that not everyone your age is looking to get wasted and hookup. Some of us in our mid twenties are married, buying houses, and excited about contributing to our retirement. This article is spot on and mature. Congratulations on the baby!

  • 2zac shakur

    I put it in her bum but she’s still pregnant, is she cheating? i want to know because being a dad is huge and i’m not ready for it, safe geezer

  • evan

    rape

  • CHOCOLATE SWIRL

    I’m a massive marmite miner, like full blown fag and some maggots just told me i’m going to be a dad, shall i kill her?

  • VANILLA CRUNCH

    @CHOCOLATE SWIRL go for it mate

  • STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

    @CHOCOLATE SWIRL @VANILLA CRUNCH i would love to involve myself with what’s going on here, use a blunt object to the back of the head, preferably something from her ex-boyfriends house