Why Do Your In-Laws Hate You?

“My in-laws hate me.” You probably have great reasons for this lament, but the truth is, very few men have in-laws who actually despise them. More likely, you’re dealing with some deep core differences with your wife or significant other’s parents. Here are a few common reasons your in-laws may balk at your presence.

You are the “Other” Man in her Life

Remember, your partner is also their daughter. Your in-laws raised her for eighteen to twenty-one years. In many ways, marrying you is the biggest and farthest-reaching decision she has made, often largely without their input. Many in-laws have a visceral negative reaction to this, even if they’re good at hiding it. Your in-laws may fear you are “stealing” their daughter, especially if the two of you have moved far from them. They may also fear your influence, or accuse you of changing her for the worse. To avoid this, spend as much time with your in-laws as possible in a non-confrontational manner. Drop by for a visit, email frequently, or Skype. Invite the in-laws out for activities you all enjoy, and discuss each other’s positive traits.

Major Personality Differences

So, when the in-laws visit, you feel as though you have to talk constantly to fill the silence. Or you get excited about everything while they seem cold and unemotional. What seems like coldness and lack of interest is probably a personality difference. In addition, your partner may well have absorbed some of the traits that you find less than desirable in her parents. Talk to your partner, and your in-laws, about your basic personality, needs, and wants. You can even agree to take a personality inventory for fun.

Differences in Core Beliefs

Some couples marry knowing that they have vastly different beliefs in terms of religion, politics, finances, or the way to raise children. The couple may have made peace with this, but the in-laws might be a different story. This often causes hostility between the couple and one or both parent sets. Therefore, it’s essential to discuss how this subject will be approached before it comes up. For instance, let’s say you are Catholic and your partner is Protestant, or you are Jewish and your partner is Christian. If you have decided to give the kids exposure to both faiths, explain to the in-laws exactly how you’ll do so (taking Mass on Sundays and going to a Protestant service on Wednesdays, for example). If you have decided to raise the kids in only one faith, stress this is a mutual agreement and does not make one religion “better”–one faith is just particularly suited to your lifestyle.

Similar problems can crop up with other issues, but may be more difficult to handle. For example, if you want to be relaxed about discipline, but your in-laws are authoritarian, they may worry that the kids will grow up spoiled. It’s crucial not to bash your in-laws’ parenting style. Simply say, “We appreciate your input and will seek it often as we raise children, but we need space to be parents on our own.”

Sometimes, it can seem as if your in-laws despise you. The truth is, though, they rarely do. They may simply be uncomfortable around your beliefs, personality, or position in their daughter’s life. With tips like these, though, you can help assure greater family harmony.

Getting Ready for Baby’s Arrival

So, you’re about to be a dad. Or maybe, you’re about to be a dad…again. And while it’s no secret that there are countless items required in order to care for your bundle of joy, equally important is preparing for the sudden and unavoidable impact on your lifestyle, routine and relationship. As many new parents will attest, the rule book of good intentions usually goes out the window when the baby arrives. But it still doesn’t hurt to have a game plan in place.

Begin with the most basic of practicalities, the kid will need a name. And not just any name, but a good name, a name that conveys confidence and intelligence, a name to continue the family legacy, a name that hopefully won’t inspire too many rhyming playground taunts. Start early, buy books, consult lists of popular names, and be open to your partner’s suggestions. It’s a long process. You may love a name for a few months until you suddenly decide it’s all wrong. That’s okay at this stage of the game, but once you’ve completed the birth certificate, it’s a done deal. Use the full nine months to mull it over, not just the two days prior to leaving the hospital. It’ll last a lifetime, you owe the kid the consideration of giving it some serious thought.

Consider your child’s safety. Once you’ve purchased a car seat, find a car seat check in your area, often provided by local fire or police departments at no cost. Make use of a certified safety technician’s expertise to teach you how to properly strap the little tyke in. It’s well worth it.

Talk to your partner. Set expectations, share concerns and worries, and develop a basic guide on how to divide the household duties. Let’s face it, the newborn is going to get the lion’s share of the attention, but groceries will still need purchasing, your other children will still need parenting, and the clothes will still need washing. There’s a lot to keep track of, but guidelines for how and when it’s all going to be accomplished can make it less daunting. Also, consider establishing a “tap-out” clause with your partner to allow for a guilt-free reprieve when one of you is feeling overwhelmed or has been with the little screamer and his powerful lungs for long enough. Knowing there is a time-out available to go for a walk, take a long shower, or just lay down and breathe can make the more difficult moments of parenting easier to face and strengthen the bond with your partner as a teammate.

Speak to the grandparents, aunts, uncles and close friends who will wish to share in this joyous experience. Enlist helpers for times when you and your partner just can’t accomplish it all. Explain that you will need their love and support but also their occasional distance. Set ground rules for visiting occurrences and duration. It’s essential for the baby to establish a routine, and equally important for both baby and mom to sleep when they’re able. If you approach the subject tactfully prior to the birth, hopefully you won’t have to reiterate it later when you’re sleep deprived and probably not as even-tempered as you would hope. They’ll understand and they’ll be grateful to you for being honest with them.

Stock up on books, speak to other parents and learn how to best prepare your other kids and pets for baby’s arrival. Nevertheless, prepare yourself for life to be flipped upside down. Once you adjust to the initial shock, you’ll find that you can’t imagine what life was like before the baby inspired chaos, and you wouldn’t want to.

Carrots Boost Sperm Performance By 8%

Photo by Fovea Centralis

Photo by Fovea Centralis

The most popular fertility icons are all reminiscent of the female shape, honoring the power of women in the reproductive cycle. However, women power only one half of that cycle.

Turns out there’s an appropriately shaped fertility icon for men, too: Carrots.

A study released this past fall by Harvard University School of Public Health shows that carrots are good for a lot more than improving your eye sight. For some men, carrots may be able to improve the quantity and quality of sperm by up to eight percent. That’s a great reason to eat your veggies!

Carrots weren’t isolated in the study. Eating other yellow and orange colored vegetables and fruits may have the same affect. Examples include sweet potato, melon, pumpkin, pepper and apricot. However, eating carrots was found to have the greatest impact.

The study, which appears in the journal Fertility and Sterility, involved 200 men of college age. Changes were made to their diet to find out what effect it might have on their sperm count and quality. Those who ate more carrots were found to have the biggest gains.

In particular, the study found that carotenoid could improve the movement of sperm, whil lycopene could improve the shape of sperm. Carrots are packed with carotenoids, which gives them their orange color. The body also converts carotenoids into Vitamin A, which was also found to improve the health of sperm. Vitamin A is also a powerful antioxidant, which fights free radicals in the body, supporting the overall reproductive system.

Other Healthy Foods for Improving Sperm Quality

Carrots may have emerged as the superstars in the study, but they weren’t the only sperm-friendly foods discovered.

Tomatoes were found to be especially beneficial because of their lycopene content, which helped to ensure a healthy shape, or morphology, for sperm. Normal sperm should have a smooth, oval-shaped head and a long, thin tail. Any abnormalities in that shape may impair the sperm’s ability to reach the egg or to attach to it.

The study found that eating tomatoes could improve the number of healthy shaped sperm by eight percent to 10 percent.

Carrots were highlighted because of their carotenoid content and their influence on Vitamin A production, but these nutrients are also found in other foods. Men who aren’t big fans of carrots may be happy to learn that they can get their carotenoids from spinach and lettuce, which contain lutein. They can also get plenty of Vitamin A from sources like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Comprehensive Approach to Infertility

Infertility is a growing problem, and many doctors and health specialists believe that diet and environmental factors play a role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that eight percent of men age 45 and under who are sexually experienced have been to see a fertility doctor. Other studies have shown that average sperm counts are steadily decreasing, as well.

The Harvard study reveals important information about how men can treat their fertility issues by using a comprehensive approach that addresses lifestyle issues. By eating a diet that is high in healthy fruits and vegetables and low in high-fat diets (which have been shown to lower sperm counts), men may be able to improve the quality and quantity of their sperm and to conceive naturally.

Connecting With Your Child before Birth

While it is the woman’s body that experiences all the changes and miracles associated with bringing a new life into the world, there are many ways for dads also to feel connected to the unborn child. Read on for some great practical tips on how to feel a special bond with your little one, even before meeting face to face.

Be Kind To Mama

One of the best ways to connect with your child before birth is to show kindness and understanding to the woman growing this new life. Go with her to doctor’s appointments and childbirth classes. Show patience during any hormonal changes. Rub her tired feet and back. Allow her quiet time to rest. Find creative ways to let her know that you find her beautiful. Tell her that you love her and display this love through not only words, but also thoughtful actions such as listening and dreaming with her about this new life.

Talk to the Baby

Babies can hear, even in the womb. Be sure to frequently talk to baby. As you talk, gently massage your significant others belly. As the pregnancy progresses, you will even be able to feel the kicks and movements of the baby. Although you may initially feel silly talking to a belly, your baby will begin to recognize the sound of your voice, and it will be familiar when the baby is born. If you are musically inclined, consider singing to the baby, or even composing a song for the baby.

Get the Nursery Ready

Discussing nursery ideas with your significant other makes the unborn baby seem very real. If you are accepting hand me down baby items from generous friends or family members, they are very likely to share their fond memories of this special time in life, which makes the baby’s arrival even more anticipated. When the nursery is actually set up, the baby seems very real. There is actually a space in your home dedicated to this little person. Sometimes it is hard for men to feel especially bonded to a baby before birth, so taking physical action to get ready for baby is helpful in this bonding process.

Choose a Name

If you decide to find out the gender of the baby ahead of time, choosing a name can be very significant. There are various books and websites containing a myriad of baby name options. You may also decide to use a family name. When you begin referring to this unborn child with a real name, you can really start to imagine who this little person will be!

Above all, enjoy this very special time. Take time to savor the pregnancy, and take time to marvel at the joy of parenthood when baby arrives!

Vasectomy Reversal: What Men Need to Know

When a man changes his mind about having children following a vasectomy, he may consider having a vasectomy reversal. The reversal of the vasectomy, also referred to a vasovasostomy, is often an option for these men. However, since a vasectomy is designed to be a form of permanent birth control, this does not necessarily guarantee that the reversal will be successful. In addition to this, the vasovasostomy is a medical procedure and it is important to understand that as with any type of medical procedure, there are some risks involved.

Understanding the Procedure

The reversal is typically an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. It is almost always performed under general anesthesia or with a spinal tap. This is not only to decrease any pain that is associated with the procedure, but to ensure that the patient does not move. In most cases, the entire process is completed in under three hours, unless there is a blockage and an additional procedure may be required to restore fertility. This does not include recovery time from the anesthesia.

What to Expect After the Procedure

The man can expect to experience some pain and mild discomfort following a vasectomy reversal. It is not uncommon to experience bruising and swelling to the scrotal area as well. Stitches will typically be in place and will dissolve on their own. During the first two days, the surgeon may recommend that the patient “take it easy”, elevate the feet and apply ice packs as needed. A support garment is usually prescribed for at least the first two weeks, sometimes less. The man may return to work in as little as three days, but this will depend on the occupation due to the level of strain placed on the body.

Potential Complications

As previously mentioned, there are risks associated with any type of medical procedure. Although the risks associated with a vasectomy reversal are considered quite low, there is still the possibility. Risks can include but is not limited to problems as a result of anesthesia, infection at the site, bleeding and a build up of fluid within the scrotal area. In some cases, damage may also be done to the nerves or even the arteries within this area of the body. Due to these potential complications, not every man will be a good candidate for this procedure, such as those with certain health conditions for example.

Success Rates

The success of the vasectomy reversal can significantly vary from one man to the next, based on several different factors. However, one of the most prominent determining factors is in regards to how long ago the vasectomy was performed. According to research, the most favorable odds of fathering a child is when it has been ten years or less, the less time the better. The best chances are within three years of the vasectomy. The longer the man waits to have the reversal procedure, the slimmer his chances become.