Being a Father Carries With It Major Responsibilities

Being a father in today’s world is a much different role than it was in decades past. Long gone are the days that found mothers delivering babies in seclusion while the fathers gathered for cigars in the waiting room. Fathers are taking on more active roles. They are becoming earnestly involved in every aspect of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and child-rearing. Fatherhood carries with it a number of responsibilities to both mother and child.

Women used to arrive at the hospital, get shuffled to a cold and unfriendly delivery room, deliver a baby, and all the while, dad was forced to wait in a crowded waiting room, wondering if everything would turn out alright. As the years have passed, and more research has been done, fathers are not just allowed, but encouraged to take on an active role in the entire process. There are many resources available to today’s fathers. From childbirth classes to books, the pregnancy and childbirth arena has begun to target dads. The internet, and its many parenting websites, feature articles for fathers; many are even written by fathers. Men are often clueless about how to deal with an emotional pregnant woman or a screaming red-faced newborn. They welcome the opportunity for some “inside” knowledge.

While mom still has to carry and deliver the baby, and in some cases take on the feedings, there are plenty of opportunities for dads to be hands-on. Labor and delivery can be intense, and moms welcome any and all encouragement. It’s reassuring to know that they have a supportive partner. Dads can bottle-feed, change diapers, read stories, sing lullabies, and take on any of the household responsibilities that encumber a new mom. Babies make an instant connection with their caregivers, and not just the ones who housed them for nine months.

Another facet of fatherhood that can be stressful is providing for the family. Whether mom will be returning to work, or staying home to care for the children, the postpartum period does require mom to take some time off. Dads can be overwhelmed at the strain on the family budget, or being the sole earner of the home, even if it is only temporary. Talking to other dads and seeking the advice of a financial expert can help prepare the family for a loss in wages.

One of the most important things to remember is that no matter how much you prepare for parenthood, there will always be questions, and there will always be doubt. No one has ever been a perfect parent. Try to remember what it was like to be a child. Foster creativity, security, a love of learning, and caring in your child. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Parenting is constantly learning. You will be faced with challenges every step of the way. Learn to be flexible, as life will not always go as planned with a little one.

Fatherhood brings a sense of pride unmatched by most anything life has to offer, but it can leave one feeling like all familiarity is lost. Life changes drastically, and many tasks will get put on the back burner in order to help out mom and baby with their needs. It is important for new fathers to learn all that they can in preparation for this uncharted territory. For anyone, men and women alike, shifting the focus from taking care of one’s own needs and wants to no longer having the time or energy to even remember that meals and showers are necessary is a rather daunting undertaking. The resources are available for the reading, watching, and listening. Approaching the challenge as a team will make it seem manageable. No matter how tired your eyes become, fatherhood is a job that anyone can do. Love is the most important ingredient, and luckily, you fall head over heels long before you even lay eyes on that tiny little face.