Tips for Expectant Fathers, From An Expectant Father How To Work The Delivery Room Door Like A Bouncer At “Club Push”
Amid the ultrasound scans, bizarre food cravings and baby shower gifts is often a confused and overwhelmed expectant dad. What better way to prepare men for impending fatherhood than by giving them a step-by-step guide with advice, tips and stories ranging from the positive pregnancy test to the delivery room?
Dad’s Pregnant Too! is packed with more than 100 tips for soon-to-be-dads and here are a few:
Tip #15 THE IN-AWE EXPECTANT FATHER: Words Can’t Describe It (But I’ll Try)
THE TIP: It’s a feeling like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.
THE STORY: Seeing the baby come out of my wife was surreal and mind-numbing. The image was too much for me to comprehend—it was sensory overload. It wasn’t until a few hours after the birth, when everyone had been taken care of, that I had a chance to hold my daughter. My wife was sleeping, and we were alone. That’s when the switch was flipped. It was a feeling I had never experienced before. I was awestruck by the pregnancy, by the birth, and by the delivery. But the love a father feels for his child blew me away. It’s a feeling that never goes away. —Me, daughter 22 months, 21 weeks pregnant
We had a C-section, and I got to spend time with Jack before Emily did; it’s not how I wished it. He opened his eyes and he looked at me, and I said, “Hi Jack.” And he looked at me like he knew that was his name. It was the most magical moment. —Jeff (son 9 months)
I thought of including a blank page for this tip because there are no words to describe the feeling of going through the expectant father experience. But a book with blank pages isn’t a good book. So, here’s my best attempt.
Being an expectant father will leave you in awe. It will excite, exhaust, intimidate, embarrass, intrigue, surprise, scare, shock, and delight you all at once. The adventure will stir untapped emotions. It will leave you feeling something you’ve never felt or experienced before.
It’s as if there’s something programmed into our DNA that’s activated during this process. And when the switch is flipped and it happens, the world will change forever. It’s an emotional state so powerful and all-consuming that there are no words for it.
Don’t worry about not feeling it right away. It will happen, but when it happens will vary. It could be immediately after the birth, or an hour, a day, a week, or a few months later—but it will happen. It’s not something you need to force. No matter the heaviness or happiness of the moments leading up to the birth, it will all be worth it. The adrenaline rush of fatherhood is better than any drug—once the initial surge
It’s like a Darwinian switch flipped in my brain. I went from reluctant father to head-over-heels committed dad in a heartbeat. —Eric (daughter 15 months)
I was in awe when I saw the ultrasound of our baby and the heartbeat—that is when I knew it was for real. —Kevin (18 weeks pregnant) subsides, the feeling lingers forever. It’s what bonds us to the baby.
From conception to coming home, the whole journey is exhilarating, exhausting, and awe-inspiring. It’s something you’ll probably want to do again and again. And while you might in fact do it again and again, savor the first time—the first is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy the adventure ahead.
THE BOTTOM LINE: You won’t believe what you see, hear, and feel.
Tip #54 THE PUSH/PREGNANCY PRESENT: A Little Something to Ease Her Pain
THE TIP: It doesn’t have to be diamonds…
THE STORY: The day I turned 20 weeks pregnant I got home after a long day and found a package and card on the table with “mommy” written on it. It was a card from my hubby and baby celebrating the fact that we are halfway through the pregnancy. The present was a wooden Willow Tree figurine called “Cherish,” which is a pregnant mommy holding her tummy. Then, yesterday, out of nowhere, Daddy and baby sent me a cookie bouquet (my favorite!)—six beautiful cookies celebrating that “It’s a girl!” One of the cookies had Elizabeth’s nickname on it, Ellie. I pretty much have the most amazing husband ever! —Valerie, daughter 1 month
A Push Present is a gift given to your partner following the birth. The idea of buying a new mom a special gift once she pushes the baby out isn’t just made up by her. It has roots. In Europe, it’s customary for women to get a gift following the birth of a child. In England, men are expected to adorn women with a beautiful ring. In India, mothers get gold and jewels for the birth. In the United States, jewelers and women who want jewelry are turning this into a new giftgiving tradition. Some guys aren’t into the idea of a push present. It’s not that these guys are cheap (although some might be). They say there is no greater gift than the gift of having a healthy new child, and a material thing like jewelry almost minimizes the magnitude of the event. The baby is the ultimate “push present.” So, if you share this sentiment, there’s nothing wrong with calling the gift something else. How about just calling it her first Mother’s Day present and picking it out after the baby is born? Call it a gift from the baby and make the baby pay you back when she’s old enough to work.
Whatever you subscribe to, I have a hard time finding anything wrong with getting someone you love a gift that’s associated with such a special event. That said, if you have a philosophical issue with the push present, explain this to your partner—just in case all her friends give her gifts, there won’t be room for any misinterpretation.
If only my man had known how painful it is to push a baby out of your vagina! He may have given me a push present! —Carin (mother of one)
I got a “pushing present”/thirtieth birthday gift. I helped pick it out—a beautiful diamond necklace —Heidi (mother of one, pregnant with #2) The best gift a man can get his wife? SLEEP!!! —Misti (daughter 2 years)
PUSH PRESENTS UNDER $100:
• Baby charm necklaces or bracelets
• Personalized sterling silver birth necklace
• Engraved picture frame with a picture of her and her pregnant belly
• Necklace, bracelet, or earrings with the baby’s birthstone
ENAMEL ENGRAVED BABY SHOE CHARMS: These range from the low hundreds to thousand of dollars. Do an online search for “enamel baby shoes” and you’ll get a good sense of what I’m talking about. If you happen to buy online, make sure to read the return policy. She might love the idea, but not the gift.
ENGRAVED GIFTS: If you’re buying something expensive but are not quite sure if she’ll love it, wait until she sees it, and then engrave it. When you give it to her, tell her you wanted to wait for the birth so you could engrave the date. Once you engrave it there is typically no returning it.
A way to economize is to combine the push present with some other gift-giving occasion. It gives a “big gift” much more meaning. You can make it a surprise, or plan it as a couple’s project during the last trimester. Keep in mind that shopping for jewelry allows you to say and do things you can’t usually say or do. She might be too happy and distracted to be pissed off with you. When it comes to how much to spend—you can spend less than $100 or more than $1,000. Take baby bootie charms for example (charms are little pendants attached to a necklace or bracelet—think Monopoly pieces).
Some charms cost under a hundred dollars; other charms may cost you in the thousands. One of the coolest things I’ve seen are little silver coin-like disks that have the baby’s name engraved on them. The charms attach to a necklace/ bracelet, and you can add more charms as you have more kids. If you’re on a tight budget, go to a bead store with her and make something together. You can also find birthstones that are extremely reasonable. If you’re not sure what to get, call a maternity store and ask for advice from the manager or owner. (They might even sell something that will work.)
By: Harlan Cohen: Harlan is a bestselling author, syndicated advice columnist, speaker and singer/songwriter. He is an expectant father and new dad.