While women are usually elated during pregnancy, dads-to-be can sometimes put a damper on things. The reason: FEAR! Many men experience unrelenting fear because life as they know it has changed in an instant – and despite most men not revealing what they are thinking, as soon as it’s official that they are about to become fathers their minds race off in a million different directions.
Initially, there’s the prospect of complications during pregnancy. Men won’t say it, but there are some who fear losing the baby as a result of miscarriage. Giving the commonality of miscarriage, said to occur in about one in five pregnancies, this fear is understandable. As a result, some men may distance themselves from their partner or the pregnancy and their thoughts surrounding this loss can make them do some weird and not-so-wonderful things.
For example: some men avoid talking about the baby or purchasing essential items before the baby is born. To women this can be frustrating or hurtful and tends to look like he’s really not interested. That’s often not the case. Basically, they want to avoid the pain associated with miscarriage – and whether they realise it or not, some dads-to-be put up protective boundaries to prevent this from happening.
On the other hand, some expectant fathers worry obsessively about their unborn baby and partner. They don’t want anything to go wrong and take every precaution to prevent complications. This is when pregnancy can effect a couple’s sex life. There are men who worry about vaginal penetration or additional pressure on their partners stomach during sex. These men are genuinely concerned about harming the baby. And despite the lack of evidence that sex could be a reason for miscarriage, there are men who don’t want to take the risk or feel uncomfortable about having sex with their pregnant spouse specifically for this reason.
This brings many to have fears about their partner and relationship. Although fatal birthing complications are as rare as hen’s teeth these days, most men don’t want to contemplate the idea that anything could happen to their partner or baby during delivery. Other thoughts surrounding their relationship include: whether it’s strong enough to survive parenthood, how will the baby change their life together and how their roles as partners and people will shift.
Ultimately, all men expecting a baby ask themselves the biggest question and that is how will they cope with being a father. All these thoughts and feelings manifest as some type of behaviour. Those confident about the challenges ahead will excel, while other men will struggle with the concept of fatherhood and this is when negatives arise – they may not be telling their partners directly how they feel, but their behaviour will be a prime indicator of what they are experiencing.
Image via essentialbaby.com.au
Kim is a writer and SHESAID's resident psychologist. A self-proclaimed tomboy who understands more about relationships and men than she ever will about glitz and glamour. Follow Kim on Google+.