What you scared of?

Come on guys, admit it… You found out you going to be a dad and since you have had all sorts of thoughts and fears going round in your brain! Don’t worry, it’s totally normal and what’s more, I doubt you have any that are unique to you.

Fear release, is a very important part of we do at DaddyNatal. No, blokes don’t all have to tell me their deepest darkest fears, but I do explain the common ones and where they stem from. We do then discuss some they may be having if they feel like sharing, and of course, all done in true male style complete with humour! And this is the essence of why it is crucial that DaddyNatal is entirely men only – let’s be honest, do you really think men will feel comfortable to discuss their personal fears in front of their partners or other women? Of course not!

Why is it so important we deal with fear?

The why is simple, and something I discuss in my piece on “Men at Birth” but in a nutshell, fears that are not released can be picked up during labour by the laboring woman. This can lead to prolonged or even stalled labour through the production of adrenalin. Worse is, if some fears are not dealt with, they can linger post birth causing friction, resentment and delayed bonding with their newborn child.

So what are common male fears?

Guys, listen up, these are some common ones, but in no way all of them. If yours isn’t on here feel free to email me and I will talk to you about it.

First for the bomb shell, research has shown up to 6 out of 10 expectant fathers at some point in the pregnancy will suffer doubts and fears regarding the paternity of the unborn baby. Definitely on each course I teach, at least a couple of blokes, have been, or are dealing with this. It is so common, yet of course, often not spoken about. This is an important fear to deal with because it can affect the expectant fathers’ behavior during pregnancy, attitude at birth and relationship with the baby.

Ok guys, if you are dealing with this fear, I want you to now listen to the likely reason for having it, accept it and get rid of the thought! The reason for it in 99.9% of cases has absolutely nothing to do with the fidelity of your partner. It stems from perfectly normal fears and anxiety you are having and manifests as this thought. It can be because you have doubts about your own ability to have achieved the miracle of creating a new life. Maybe you are in denial because you’re not ready to be a dad. Maybe you have had concerns about you own fertility. The list goes on but the pattern is clear, it is solely linked to our self-doubt and not our partner.

Fortunately most men have this thought and instantly or within few days are able to move on. For some though it sticks, they obsess and it is extremely destructive. This is why you need to acknowledge it is about you, not your partner, deal with it and move on.

What else? Well we men also worry about how we will support our family. Or worry about handling a baby and not knowing what to do. Again, both purely natural. I am convinced that if we all waited until we were in right financial position to have children, man would be in danger of extinction! There is never a right time, whatever your situation you will find a way to support your family. If you are worried about knowing what to do, well take control and prepare yourself, attend classes like DaddyNatal, talk to friends, research and maybe spend some time with friends or family that have children. One thing though, you will learn what to do and if you put a little effort in you will do just fine.

Men also have the worry of their relationship changing with their partner. Nope, sorry not going to tell you ‘don’t worry it won’t hardly change’, and anyone that does is talking ****. Yes, it is going to change and probably, quite dramatically. If this is your first baby, then you are no longer a couple, you are now a family. In the early days and weeks, there is the possibility of feeling like spare part, unless you have put some work in preparing for what you can do. Read my blog on “When Does a Man become a Dad” for some tips.

Some of us are petrified at the thought of the birth and some will even feel sick at the thought. Again, this is not as unusual as you may think, and through preparation and understanding this fear can be eliminated. For some though, the fear might remain no matter how much effort they put into preparation. If this is the case, then you have to question if you should be there or at the very least, be the main birth partner. You do have a choice, you could see if there is a close family member or friend you both would feel comfortable with who would support you at the birth, or see if you can find and afford a doula you both like.

These are just some of the more common ones, there are plenty more. What is important is you acknowledge your fear, there is no place for macho behavior here. Failure to acknowledge you have a fear and deal with it can have a big impact on YOUR family. I will help anyone that contacts me so please do if you wish to discuss a personal fear. Talk to your midwife, she is happy to work with both of you and is not just there for your partner. Maybe you have maternity helpline which is also there to help and support expectant partners. Do something!! Don’t let fear spoil the best day of your lives.

 

15 thoughts on “What you scared of?

  1. I talked about this with the current group. Women were doing something separate. I gave the men prompt cards with words on. One bloke picked up the ‘I’m not sure it’s mine’ rest of group fell silent. Someone else said ‘thank god I’m not the only one’ A couple of men then said they were worried about not being a good dad , another couldnt imagine seeing his wife in pain and not take it away. (looked at what partners can do to help)

    So then I gave the couples time together talking about feelings of birth and being parents. Very powerful. Thank you for inspiring me to approach this subject.

    • Candie,really glad you approached subject, benefits of getting it in open are huge. Using prompt cards was excellent way of getting them to choose what they were going to share.

      It never ceases to amaze me the the paternity doubts. One word of caution letting couples discuss that particular fear can be problematic. It is crucial that the woman understands that it is not a refection on her or even a true doubt about paternity.

      Fear release for men, though is just as important as for women so brilliant you did it. Also credit to you, as you obviously have great rapport with the men, for them to open up to you and discuss them.

      Your couples are very fortunate to have you

      Dean

  2. I am a Young Fathers worker in Cambridge and I also tackle this subject with prompt cards. I have a list of 10 statements that identifies some of the common thoughts a man has during the antenatal phase and ask them to list them in order of what has most reasonance for them. The question of paternity is always very high.
    I have also found that splitting the couple for this part of our antenatal session brings a much better result than keeping them in the same room and discussing this.

    • Hi Jason, glad to see someone else recognising this very important phase for fathers.

      Do you run just couples antenatal classes? Where did you do your training? Please drop me an email and maybe we can catch up

      Dean

    • For those using prompts cards, one thought. I use pictures, the reason for this, is it allows the dad to interpet the picture to be the fear he has, it doesn’t limit the fear to the words on the card.

      Imagine picture of dad looking unsure holding baby, what is the fear? It could be is the baby his? He could be scared of handling baby? he could just be wondering if he can financially support family.

      I picture paints a thousand words is a very true statement in this case so worth thinking about

  3. Hey x great piece, I do art work with couples and women on their own to explore fears, when we do couples sessions they all create a separate piece and although we don’t always share artwork because its often abstract they have expressed a fear without having to verbalise it x

  4. Great post Dean, very matter of fact and that’s what men need sometimes. My biggest fear was the birth and how I would be able to cope if something went wrong. I spent quite a long time dwelling on this and decided to confront it head on by finding out more. The more I researched and spoke with other parents or expectant parents I realised that a lot of my preconceptions either didn’t exist in reality or were concerns shared with many others. That’s why I think your service is invaluable to expectant Dad’s as knowledge and understanding is key to giving you the best possible start as a Dad and Birth Partner.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Jamie informed choice is key to everything 🙂 well done on seeking out the information.

      Always opens dads eyes when we talk about fears, I probably hit 90% of the dads fears when I talk about the common ones and you can see the visibly relax when they realise its not just them.

  5. Hey I just recently gave birth to a baby girl and am going thru a similar situation and was hoping for some advice.
    Shawnette, thanks in advance.

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