It is a Surprise and a Shock!
What makes you a man is not the ability to make a child, it’s the courage to raise one. – Barak Obama
There is so much young men need to learn about being a dad. For the most part, these guys desire to be a good dad. One of the best ways to do that, if at all possible, is to maintain a good relationship with the baby’s mother.
- If married be a good and faithful husband. This booklet is helpful for all dad’s, but the author is writing from his own experiences of being a first-time dad, married to the mother of their child.
- If living together, be their for the mother of your child.
- If separated try to maintain a civil relationship.
When a man finds out he is going to be a dad there are varied emotions. He might feel thankful, anxious, protective, happy, and probably unprepared. Surprised and shocked are two words that describe most men. These feeling are deeply personal, but are common to most men that will soon be a dad. You may think you were living a normal life but then she got pregnant with your child. One day it is just you and your girl, and the next day everything has changed, instant fatherhood is upon you.
The day the child is born reality hits you hard, responsibility increases, you are the biological dad of your child and nothing can ever change that. It may seem like a dream but reality comes around and suddenly you are on a huge learning curve.
The Pregnancy and Some Good News About Sex
“I will not forget the day you told me you were pregnant. It was the day I realized that I had become a dad.” Bill Fix
There is a funny story that I am a little embarrassed to admit. One of my first fears had to do with sex. Could we safely have sex during the pregnancy? I didn’t know. Sex education did not answer every conceivable question. I had concerns that it was going to be a very long, nine month period. My wife helped me out with this because she asked the Doctor. I was relieved when I learned that yes, we could have sex during the pregnancy. That is, unless there were unforeseen complications or significant risks in the pregnancy. I was happy to receive this excellent news.
If the relationship is good there is usually happiness about the pregnancy. Caring for a pregnant partner is a little tricky, How can you be protective without being overprotective? Concern for her care are safety is a good thing. You do not want her to lift too much, have a sudden fall, or overwork her body. You will want to make sure your partner and baby are protected during these next nine months. You may find yourself overly concerned, but that is much better than not caring.
Your partner probably knows what to do and what not to do. Your constant hounding about being careful could be smothering. She will probably take good care of herself. Your job is to be there to support her when she needs your help. It may seem like a wild, crazy, and confusing time, but when you look back, you will remember it as a good experience.
Why Hadn’t I Learned About This From Watching Dad?
“I spent time enjoying my dad. I should have been taking notes.” Bill Fix
I was unnecessarily nervous about becoming a dad and the husband of a pregnant wife. I didn’t know much about any of this. I hadn’t paid much attention to my dad’s fathering or how he acted when my mother was pregnant with her fifth child, but I do remember it was a big deal and he made it a bigger deal. The birth of your child should be a big deal.
I laugh, when I remember how my dad went a little overboard when my only sister was born. They had four boys and then Joan was born. Before dad went to the hospital to visit my mom and sister, he showered, shaved, sang, and was very happy. Dad had purchased, pink slacks, pink shirt, pink tie, pink hat, and pink socks. He knew how to make this a special event. He had purchased some pink cigars made out of bubble gum and we four boys received one. I was young but understood this was a big deal. Husbands and Dads should always make the birth a big deal.
“I loved spending time with my hand on your baby bump and feeling a new life moving around inside.” Bill Fix
The Baby Began To Move Way Before Birth
Feeling the child move was exciting. The American Pregnancy Association says that some women can feel their babies move within the womb at 13 to 16 weeks of gestation, while the normal range for noticing the first fetal movement is 13 to 25 weeks. The baby will become more and more active, I often joked with my wife about our unborn baby girl swimming laps in the womb. Sharing this joy with your wife is an awesome reminder that there is life in there.
Who Is This Woman I Married?
“I felt like I was married to a woman with a merry-go-round personality. From day to day you acted differently.”
At first, my wife looked cute with her baby bump, but as the time of birth approached, her tummy stretched, and her walk became a waddle. She seemed to crave certain foods, like doughnuts and pizza. I made numerous runs to the bakery to satisfy her cravings. So much was happening in her body chemically that her moods were unpredictable. I often joke that when you think you have your partner all figured out, she changes. I thought it had to do with her pregnancy. Forty-nine years later, I am not sure about that.
When the Birth-Day Arrived
” It’s a good day for a good day.” Unknown
When the birthdate arrived, things seemed typical, but we were cautious because we knew the time was near. My wife got up that morning and began cleaning the house. She started having contractions, and then her water broke, and her contractions became more frequent. I took her to the hospital, and for the next thirteen hours, I rubbed her back and encouraged her.
I found out later that a woman is in active labor when the cervix dilated 5 or 6 centimeters and normal dilation is .5 to7 centimeters per hour. When she reaches 10 centimeters, about the size of a giant glazed doughnut, she is ready to give birth.
I did not leave her side and continued to rub her back. My thoughts and prayers were primarily for the welfare of my wife because she seemed very uncomfortable. After a very long time of contractions and heavy labor, she finally fully dilated to ten centimeters.
My Wife Gave Birth to a Little Girl; But She Labored On
“An instant love that I cannot explain became alive, the moment I saw my children. Bill Fix
I could hear the Doctor telling my wife to push, and I could hear her groan as she gave birth to our first little girl. I heard a cry, and the Doctor placed the baby in her Mommy’s arms for a moment. The Doctor continued to deliver after our child was born. I did not understand, and my wife continued to push. For a second or so, I thought there might be another baby in there. It was the placenta, and the Doctor finally removed it, as the nurses cleaned, measured, weighed, and wrapped our baby. I was happy, relieved, and drained after this lengthy labor and birth. Then, I began calling everyone I had a number for; It was a girl, and I was so happy and proud to be a dad.
“My wife, our child, and me, made our new family. Again, when our second child was born, we realized things will never be the same.” Bill Fix
Our Home, Will Never Be The Same
When I brought my wife and little girl home, my wife was instinctively a great mom. My mom came over to help her and coach her and answer her questions. I enjoyed watching my mom and my wife take care of our little bundle of joy. I watched as my wife breast-fed our newborn. My wife had a breast pump. She was able to use the pump to get milk that we used to feed our child when she was not around or when it was inconvenient to breastfeed. I watched as all of this was happening around me, and I was happy to be a spectator taking it all in. Suddenly and without warning, my mother placed my daughter into my arms. It was my first time holding her, and I was not very sure of myself. I was cautious because I didn’t want to break anything. That very anxious feeling was soon gone, and I fell in love with holding my daughter. Things will never be the same in our household. We now had a baby girl.
“A baby makes love stronger, the days shorter, the nights longer, savings smaller, and a home happier.” Anonymous
Newborns Sleep a Lot
I held our little girl a lot after that first time. Often when I wanted to hold her she was sleeping in her little bed. I knew if I picked her up she would wake up and my wife would not be happy with me. It seemed like a routine. My wife would feed her and burp her, by patting her on the back. I always thought she was patting too hard but it seemed to work as our baby would let out a pretty healthy belch. Sometimes our daughter would spit up instead of burp-up. This always required clean up that made me want to throw-up.
Diapers were changed regularly by my wife and although I watched, I was not sure I could do it. Our newborn little girl did not sleep through the night. Many nights my wife would breastfeed, burp, and rock her back to sleep. Sometimes I would get up in the middle of the night and help my wife by rocking our little girl. I would rock her, sing to her, and talk to her. We enjoyed our newborn, but my poor wife was very tired.
We learned to take turns with the baby. I could warm a bottle of pumped breastmilk, feed and burp the baby when it was my turn. Then, the next time, my wife would breastfeed, burp, change her diaper, and rock her to sleep. We now had a workable system and we were able to sleep better.
“I was a new dad, but I had never changed a diaper before.” Bill Fix
I Changed a Diaper
My wife attended a lady’s event at our church on a Saturday afternoon, and I was home watching our daughter. She was several weeks old. I remember the smell. It was a strong smell that almost took my breath away. I knew she had a messy diaper. I tried to ignore it but the smell was so bad I could no longer try to stall until my wife made it home. Besides, I knew it was probably not healthy for my daughter to be stuck in a messy diaper.
I put her on the changing table and thought, “How hard can this be?” I unpinned her diaper, this was before disposables. I almost lost my cookies after unpinning the diaper. It smelled and looked so bad that my gagging reflex was kicking in. I managed to remove the dirty diaper, clean and powder her little bottom and place a clean diaper under her. No problem, I had this. I managed to get the diaper on and pin the corners in place. All done! Yea! I picked her up, and the diaper fell right off. I decided to go with plan B. I lined our bathtub with a blanket and placed her on the blanket in the tub. I stayed close to the tub and enjoyed watching my daughter until my wife returned home. My wife is laughing at my mishap, even to this day.
” One day I realized she was watching me and I began to act a little goofy, just for her.” Bill Fix
Focus and Sounds
One day I could swear she knew my voice and looked right at me. I moved and her eyes were following me. When she would look away I would talk to her and her eyes would return and focus on me, her daddy. I sprawled out on the floor and would place her on my belly and talk to her. She began to feel things with her little hands. She laughed for the first time. I talked to her a lot and so did my wife. Our daughter began making sounds and we would imagine she was talking to us. One day she held onto my finger. That was a thrilling day. She focused on people and things, she recognized sounds, she grabbed things, she jabbered, and she was a lot of fun. I loved to play with her on the floor. Life had changed for us.
The Roll Over and Push-ups
“We did not see our Baby turn from back to belly but we found her that way in the crib. Surprise!” Bill Fix
It was a big day. My wife had laid our daughter in bed on her back. A short time later she was crying and when we checked on her, she was on her stomach. How did that happen? She placed her on her back and when we checked on her she was on her stomach. She was rolling over. It took a while before she could roll from her stomach to her back, but one day she did it. Then we began to coach her to roll over and eventually she did. This added to our play-time with her. It was very cool to watch her roll, and she seemed to enjoy it too. Fun time with her seemed to increase every day. I loved holding her, talking to her, having her hold my finger, making her laugh, and watching her do new things. One day she pushed herself up to her knees and then belly-flopped because she was not strong enough to stay in that position long. She made a lot more sounds over time and soon she was pushing herself up to her knees and staying in that position for lengthier times.
I Said It Over and Over
” I repeated ‘dad’ over and over again. When she began making noises, I would say ‘dad, dad, dad’. Then one day she said, ‘da-da,’ and I immediately celebrated because she had said, ‘dad’. Bill Fix
Whenever I could, I tried to get my daughter to talk in her special infant language. I would say dad over and over. Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, and then she would smile, and jabber-jaw in some unrecognizable dialect with a lot of goo-goos and ga-gas. Then one day, in my presence only, she did it! She said Da-Da. I heard it distinctly, although my wife tried to downplay this very important event, saying I think you just heard what you wanted to hear. I kept working at it and she began saying Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da, repeatedly until my wife could no longer deny it. She was talking. It was not long unto she was also saying mom, mom, mom, mom, and no, no, no. Not only that but she was rocking on those knees now and reaching for all kinds of things. She began to crawl, I like to think of it as walking with training wheels. It was phenomenal to be a witness to all of these new things with my daughter. There were now two girls in my home that I would lay down my life for, my wife and my daughter. It was such a joy to be a husband of a beautiful girl and the Daddy of the most precious child.
She Loved Playing
“We are happy when we play and when we have a baby we are happy when the baby plays.” Bill Fix
She loved playing on the floor with her parents, crawling all over them. She loved to give kisses too. At first, she just opened her mouth and touched our face. Often her saliva would be left on our face and we would have to wipe it off. She loved going to her grandmother’s house and very soon they had a very tight relationship. She was learning to climb to her feet clinging to a chair or the coffee table in our living room. She would grab our fingers and sort of dance like a marionette hanging from strings. When her legs became strong enough, she would take steps as we hung onto her hands. She loved crawling on the floor but we had to be careful because she put every little piece of fuzz or whatever she found in her mouth. More than once I had to put my finger in her mouth to retrieve whatever she stuck into her mouth.
“There is that very first step and the celebration that follows.” Bill Fix
My wife and I were anxious to see our little girl taking her first steps without the training wheels. One of us would stand her up, help her get her balance while the other person would hold out our arms, and encourage her to come to us. We did this for hours every day until one day it happened. She left the grips of one of her parents and walked into the grips of the other. Soon she was walking from the coffee table to the chair, to one of us, then into the kitchen and finally wherever she desired to go. And then one day she seemed to take off walking wherever she wanted to walk, she was now walking and talking and learning something new every day. She began to sing and dance as she played.
We Made a Big Mistake
It is true that dads become the first love of their daughters and the first hero of their sons. Unknown
Our little girl could now get out of bed whenever she wanted. Each night she got out of her bed and crawled into ours. Soon she was just sleeping with us and when she turned three we knew we had created a huge problem. It is easier to allow your child to occasionally sleep in your bed than it is to get them to stop what they have been doing for months. We tried everything to persuade our daughter to sleep in her room, not ours. One day I asked her if she would like a baby brother or sister and convinced her that the only way that was going to happen was for her to sleep in her bed. I am not sure how, but it worked. Soon after she began sleeping in her room, my wife became pregnant with our second child.
Becoming a dad has changed my life forever. I am so happy for the privilege and honor of being a Dad. Bill Fix
I Was Changed
I cannot believe how my life was so wonderfully changed when I became a dad. I was so much in love with my daughter and her mother that my list of favorite things to do changed radically. We made changes in our lives to make us a better, more loving family. I decided to never drink again. I was not a drunk or a partier anyway and neither was my wife, but we wanted to set the best example for our kids. We just labeled drinking as not right for us. We became a family that worshipped together regularly in church. We decided to laugh more and get upset less. We decided to choose our movies with family in mind. We made good friends that believed much as we believed. We knew God’s hand was on our lives, as we plugged into a Bible-believing, teaching, and preaching church and became involved there. I asked God to help me clean up my language and wayward thoughts, and He helped me. This was undoubtedly the best time in my life up until now. I would not have traded these experiences for anything. I saw them as a real gift. I became a better husband, son, brother, and man as a result of becoming a Dad. These experiences richly matured me and I am forever grateful for them.