Why I’m Glad I Learned How to Be a Good Daddy Before Baby Arrived

Photo: Image Thirst Photography / The Bump
Photo: Image Thirst Photography / The Bump

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, she had a stack of books on her bedside table all about what to expect, when to expect it, how to prep for motherhood, and other books to help inform her of the details and phases of pregnancy and what she may or may not be experiencing at that particular time in her trimester.

I, on the other hand, had nothing on my bedside table until one day, a parenting book appeared that my wife had purchased for me. At first, I so was opposed to reading this book or any book for that matter. Maybe I was scared of reality; maybe I thought it was going to be too complicated, or maybe I thought if I read the book I would have to do more work to prepare for my new family. Five months into my wife’s pregnancy, I dusted off the books and started reading and reviewing.

At five months pregnant, my wife was different: she was bigger, she had weird cravings, certain smells made her sick, and I heard my baby’s heart beat. There was no way around it: A baby was growing inside her and I had to figure out what my role was about to be. What was I going to do?

It was time to educate myself. I wish I had a GPS that would simply say, “turn left in 200 feet”, but there was absolutely no one telling me what to do next. No one sharing tips on how to support my wife, how to listen to her, understand why she needed 12 pillows on the bed, why she was craving such weird foods and just why she always had to pee!

I read the books — but my advice is to take it one step further and actually start prepping yourself for baby’s arrival. Enroll in parenting classes. Start going to meetings. Take a Daddy Boot Camp class. Go to Pregnancy Conventions. Plan the Ultimate Prenatal Date Night. Ask for advice from Dad Panels. Plan a Dadchelor Party.  Do not enter the world of pregnancy and first-time fatherhood without reading the directions in advance and understanding where exactly the road is going to be taking you.

Having a baby will be the hardest, and most rewarding challenge your life choices will bring you.  When your wife becomes pregnant, embrace the moment, and be ready for your life to change forever.

How did you prep for life as a first-time father?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Top 10 New Dad Fears (and Why You Shouldn’t Worry)

Secret Thoughts of Newbie Dads

Top 10 Things Every Dad Should Know