Tips for Dad: The First Trimester
PC: Double the Batch
Don’t Let Excitement Turn into Fear
My wife and I had thought very long and hard about having a baby she texted me one day to ask, "So...what if I told you I thought it was time to get pregnant?" She stopped taking birth control and we waited in anticipation to find out if we were expecting. The first month after getting off the birth control, to our surprise she didn’t have a period. In excitement we rushed to the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test. We thought, “oh the cheap kind should do the trick since it's almost guaranteed you are pregnant if you missed a period.” To our dismay, we got back home and the test showed up negative! Feeling like we wasted our money on cheap tests that aren’t accurate, we rushed back to the pharmacy to buy the most expensive tests we could find. We thought, “this should tell us the answer we want to know, after all they are four times more expensive than the previous one.” Once again we were left with disappointment. Fast forward, my wife basically skipped every other period for about 6 months until the dumb tests finally gave us the answer we wanted - that double pink line.
Almost immediately after getting the answer that we so desperately wanted, the fear of becoming first time parents began to creep in. We walked the baby aisles at the store not knowing the difference between the many varieties of bottles, blankets, baby food, strollers and all the other baby products. It was completely overwhelming to not know the differences, but as the primary provider of the family I did notice one commonality - the cost. I was amazed to look at all this baby stuff that I knew absolutely nothing about, and realized that in a few short months I was going to be responsible for purchasing all of it. I am embarrassed to say that it was so overwhelming for me that I had a meltdown for a few days. Which was totally ridiculous - we had only been able to see a little heart beat in the ultrasound, and I was already gaining a few gray hairs and losing some sleep from the experience!
When to Inform Family and Friends
Deciding when to announce the exciting news is different from couple to couple. Some believe that they should tell everyone the second that they know, and others want to wait right up until they can no longer hide the baby bump. In order to decide you both need to discuss openly and honestly about what you are comfortable with. However, Dad's, in the end let your wife take charge of when to announce to family and friends. Because lets be honest - she is doing the bulk of the work here.
My wife and I were terrified of the thought that our pregnancy could possibly end in a mis-carriage. To prepare for that possibility, we tried to announce our pregnancy only to really good friends that we could trust to keep our little secret. After several more weeks we decided to stop keeping it a secret from everyone else - even though it was earlier than what we were initially planning. We spilled the beans to the rest of the world around 10 weeks. Why did we break our secret earlier than we thought? We figured that if we miscarried, we wanted people to know and be there for support. We have a lot of really good and supportive friends and family that would help build our spirits if we did have a mis-carriage - but luckily, our little girl decided to stick around!
Whether or Not to Go to The Doc's
Your probably thinking, "I never went to my wife's doctors visits before so why start now?" Simply answered, just go! Most pregnancy checkup visits are really routine, and not much is discussed so you may be tempted to just not go to them. However, I found that by going to the appointments it made the idea of becoming a Dad more of a reality and helped get me excited about it. I found it very challenging to get the time off work or skip school, but now that I have gone through the process of having a baby I realize that these appointments are what helped prepare me for the commitments and sacrifice that would happen after our baby arrived.
So often I need to take off work or school to help out my wife or take care of my daughter, and there is nothing wrong with doing that. This is what paid time off at work is for and even if you don't have time off this is all part of the wonderful sacrifices that being a husband and father allow you to make. Several weeks ago, we noticed my daughter had a big sore on her foot that kept getting worse. We took her to the doctors right before the office closed for the night and they couldn't find anything. They told us to keep an eye on it, and if it continued to get worse than we may have to get some additional tests. The next day the doctors office called and said they were really worried there might be glass in her foot and that we needed to do some tests immediately to find out so that we can get it removed if needed. Unfortunately this required taking half the day off of work in order to get the tests done. After spending hours getting test results everything turned out negative and her foot just got better after taking an antibiotic. Point is, I wasted half the day of work for absolutely no new results. Do I regret it? Absolutely not! These kind of sacrifices help build the love that my family has with each other.
Out of all the advice I have given, this is probably the most important advice. Advice is free so take it for what it is worth. Every couple and family are different and the best decisions may vary. Enjoy this exciting opportunity to become a Dad, it is a life long journey that you will never regret. Being a Dad is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but it has also been the most rewarding and I wouldn't change it for anything.
Written by Scott Chandler