Preparing for Fatherhood
So you found out recently that you’re going to be a dad, and your first thought was probably, “I’m not ready.”
It’s what most of us thought in that moment, but don’t worry. There’s really no such thing as “being ready,” because becoming a dad is an overwhelming experience. It’s an emotional high like nothing you’ve ever felt before, accompanied by lots of big, scary, life-altering thoughts about having your own child walking around in this big world, watching you, following you through life and eventually carrying on your family line, your legacy. What will she become? What strengths and weaknesses will he have?
Yes, these are big and scary thoughts, but you’re up to the task—or at least you can grow into it. Remember, billions of men have gone through this, and they felt inadequate and unprepared, and yet most of them figured out a way to make it work even without the resources to help dads that are available in today’s world. You’ll figure it out too, and the fact that you’ve come here is a great sign.
There’s a lot to learn and think through during these months leading up to the big event—a lot of tips and advice to work through. So settle in and take your time.
First, know that being a dad is one of the most important roles you’ll ever have. Fathers make contributions to the lives of their children that are unique and irreplaceable. Even if some people or some areas of our society don’t value the role of fatherhood, know that you’re changing the world, one life at a time. Research shows that children thrive when they have involved fathers; many of the ills in our land can be addressed on some level by getting fathers more actively engaged with their kids.
Second, even if you don’t come from a family where fathers were present and involved, you can be an overcomer. You can become the dad you never had. It’s often these men who are the most committed and inspiring examples of positive, responsible fatherhood. Maybe that’s you.
And third, being a great dad isn’t always easy, but it’s relatively simple. There are challenges and tough decisions along the way, but what your child needs from you is pretty basic. It all starts with being there: spending time with your child, being a consistent, positive presence in his or her life.
Here are some featured articles, and there are more archived below as well.
Get Ready to Be a Dad with a Fathers Assembly by Stefan Lanfer
Growing as You Prepare for Fatherhood by Wintergreen
A Poem for Harrison, My Unborn Son by Patrick Goodness
Recent Preparing for Fatherhood Articles
Dads, the focus is on moms this week—and their impact on you and your fathering. If you’re married, share this...
Some recent research studies have found biological changes in new fathers — even at the hormonal and brain cell level.
Your child's birth is the gateway through which you, your child and its mother must journey in order to become a family or add to your family. The quality of the birth experience influences the quality of your relationship with your family. It can create bonds of trust and support, or it can reinforce feelings of isolation from mother and child.
When my wife was pregnant, I was nervous. I knew I was on the brink of the most monumental transition in my life, and the men around me were not helping.
Hollywood celebrity Matthew McConaughey recently made the following comment about his 14-month-old son, Levi: "He’s getting bigger, more fun, smarter and craftier by the day." Toddlers are great at keeping their dads very busy, and their growing craftiness can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a cause for concern because they can disappear very quickly, sometimes into very unsafe environments. Have you had that experience?
If you're expecting a child, here's a word of caution about what happens all-too-frequently for a dad-to-be: Shortly after his newborn's birth, he holds his baby feeling totally amazed, quite overwhelmed and thinking to himself, Gee, you're so small; I'm afraid I might hurt you. Coupled with this, men commonly feel uncertain about their skills to care for a young one. This lack of knowing how to be a father can have huge unintended negative consequences that ripple through the family.
I don’t remember exactly when it was that my wife told me she was pregnant, but I know I’ll never forget it. It lacked all the basic elements for a good commercial: No international flavored coffees. No emotional background music. No surprise greeting card that ended with Hallmark tears of joy. Just an earful of sobering news.
In recent years, some high-profile men have become fathers in their fifties and sixties: Paul McCartney, David Letterman, and the list goes on. They are part of a growing trend of men having children later in life.
Luke e-mailed us asking for resources that will help him decide if he should have children. Bill Beahm, formerly on our staff, responded to him, and we want to share what Bill wrote.
Maybe some of you are asking that same question. Or, if you already have kids, maybe this will be a good reminder for you.