New fathers who have been part of the birth process report a range of experiences, from it being the greatest event in their lives to horror at seeing their partner in extreme pain. They have strong thoughts and feelings about the birth process, which they might not tell anyone about. These thoughts and feelings can be intensified if the birth didn’t go as planned or there were difficulties for the mother or baby. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to find someone you can talk to about these feelings.
If you plan to be with your partner for the birth of your baby, it’s worth being prepared. Some new dads take a ‘hospital kit’, which might include:
- camera, spare film and batteries/charger
- a supply of energy food and drinks
- something to read, a pack of cards and music to help pass the time if it’s slow going
- clean clothes, tooth brush, toiletries, medication and glasses
- loose change for vending machines, telephone and parking
- mobile phone
- a note pad and pen
- baby capsule with anchor points securely fitted in car.
After the birth
Most new parents feel a bit ‘all over the place’ after the birth. They often feel excited about the new baby but overwhelmed and exhausted by the birth. Many are relieved the ordeal is over and they have a chance to rest. Some new dads now start thinking about the responsibility that lies ahead as a father.
This mixture of thoughts and feelings can be confusing. This is normal and you should try to get some rest when possible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility, talk to your partner, a friend or a relative who has children and knows what you’re talking about.
Bringing baby home from hospital
It’s a good idea to think about who you can ask for advice and practical support when your baby is born. Support can include shopping, meal preparation and taking care of other children. Try to have this organised so it’s ready to go when you leave hospital.
When they first have children, many men feel they’re on the outside looking in. Sometimes, men have to work hard to feel included in the processes of birth, breastfeeding and looking after babies. If you feel like this, it can help to talk to other men who might have had the same experience.