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.

 

Over the counter Paternity Tests!!! Are we sure???

As if there are not enough pressures placed on families and relationships, we are now going to add to this with DIY paternity kits. Today, Boots, through 375 of their larger stores, is selling these kits over the counter. At prices of about £30 for the kit and a further £120 to get the results, they are not exactly cheap, and any quick search on the internet will find them available for as little as £99 including the results in 5 days.

But that’s not my point, my point is, why? Why do we need them? Why are we so determined to make it harder for parents?

Some may argue that unless there are doubts within a relationship in the first place, people aren’t going to buy one, so what harm will they do? They may actually solve doubts by proving paternity. Really? Do we really believe that if one person in a relationship wants a paternity test done, that it is not going to harm a relationship?

I am totally against these kits, mostly because I believe they are profiteering by building on men’s fears. As the UK’s leading specialist worker with expectant fathers, I know that at least 6 out of 10 men (yes, that many!) will have, for a fleeting moment, asked themselves if they are the real father. That’s over 360,000 men a year feeling that same doubt and fear.

Why do men have this fear? Simply, it is a normal subconscious self –doubt, a lack belief that they are really capable of having done something so tremendous as create a new life. This fear has no real foundation; it is not brought about by any real doubts about their partner’s fidelity. Indeed, if you asked these men if they think their partner had an affair, they would be insulted. By no means is this a logical fear – it is purely a subconscious one brought about by a sense of inadequacy and doubt about their ability to be a father.

Most of these 360,000 men will naturally come to terms with these doubts, although this may not be until after their child is born – there is a reason that Mother Nature made babies look more like their fathers in the first weeks! Once men have met their baby and start to bond, these fears and doubts do start to recede BUT they can still present for weeks and even months after the birth in a lot of cases.

Hence the dangers of these kits. They are playing on the doubts and fears of the average expectant or new father. How many dads already under pressure of becoming a father, dealing with sleep deprivation and the feeling of exclusion in his own home, will place massive additional stress and strain on the family by buying a kit? The damage this will do in so many cases is potentially huge, and I have no doubt will lead to even more breakdowns in family life than we currently see in the first year.

DaddyNatal is the only antenatal class that addresses and deals with men’s fears, including paternity fear. We support men to face their fears, understand them, deal with them and move forwards. In this way, DaddyNatal builds stronger families. Let’s support men to be better fathers, not exploit them for trying.

If any man would like help or advice on any fears he may be having as an expectant or new dad, please email me dean@daddynatal.co.uk