By Raising Children Network
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Pregnancy test stick credit iStockphoto.com/Cibele Vieira
 

Whether a pregnancy is planned or comes as a surprise, hearing that you’re expecting a baby – and you’re going to be a father – is likely to be a huge moment.

Men in early pregnancy: mixed emotions

When you hear the news that your partner is pregnant, you might have all sorts of different – and even mixed – emotions.

Joy and excitement
You might not be able to stop grinning or smiling. If you haven’t told others the news, people around you might be wondering what’s making you so happy.

When we found out we were pregnant, we were just completely over the moon because we’d both put it off. I never thought that I would be having children. And so it was a really intense ’Wow! My life is now changing!’ sort of moment.
– Brian, father of two

Surprised, unsure or something else?
The pregnancy might have come as a surprise if you weren’t trying to have a baby or your partner got pregnant more quickly than you expected.

If you’re feeling numb and in shock, the pregnancy might take a while to feel real. It can feel like your partner is ahead of you on the pregnancy road.

I was a bit numbed. It was all a big shock. We thought, ‘Yeah she’s off the pill and it’ll take a while for her cycle to settle down’ … and then she was pregnant within about a week. I hadn’t really got my head into that space.
– Scott, father of two

The test came back that she was pregnant and I couldn’t believe it. My mindset was somewhere else, to be honest – I had already thought about holidays overseas without kids.
– Callum, father of two

When it’s complicated
Sometimes a baby is conceived but the relationship has broken down, or there’s no relationship at all. This is one of the more complicated ways to become a parent, but it’s still very possible to be an involved, loving and responsible father.

If you’re not feeling good or sure about the pregnancy, you might like to read more about not being into pregnancy.

If you conceived with the help of fertility treatments or IVF, it might feel like you’ve run a marathon and instead of crossing the finish line, you’re setting off on another one. You can read more about parenting after IVF.

Sharing the news about pregnancy

If you’ve just learned about the pregnancy, you might feel like shouting it from the rooftops. But many expectant mums and dads wait to ‘go public’ with the news until around 12 weeks. This is when the risk of miscarriage is much less, and you’ve had first trimester tests that check whether your baby is OK. Others share the news sooner.

It’s a good idea to have a chat and agree with your partner about who you’ll tell – and when. You’re both likely to have strong feelings about sharing the news, so having a ‘plan’ could avoid hurt feelings, disagreements and the chance that excited family and friends spread the news for you!

You might decide to tell family before you tell people at work. Be prepared for mixed reactions from people you work with, or people asking for more details than you want to share. For example, your employer might be happy for you, but also thinking about leave arrangements and how you plan to balance your work commitments with family commitments. Or workmates might ask you whether you’re still going for ‘that promotion’.   

Early pregnancy: a time for learning and adjusting

Pregnancy is your chance to get used to the idea of becoming a dad and to think about what it means for you.

Perhaps the pregnancy means you need to have new and different conversations with your parents or parents-in-law – for example, about their involvement with the baby – or maybe you’ve had to negotiate with your partner or your employer how you can balance work with supporting your partner. 

Flexibility and patience are key parenting skills. In getting through new – and sometimes difficult – moments in pregnancy, you’re likely to come out stronger and better able to handle challenges after the birth.

Things you can do

  • Take time to get clear about your feelings. You could talk about what’s going through your mind with your partner, a friend or a family member. If you know another expectant dad, you could bring up your thoughts about the pregnancy the next time you catch up. You could also check out our online forum for expectant dads.
  • Decide with your partner if and when you want to share the news with others.
  • Think about what becoming a dad means for you.
 
 
 
  • Last updated or reviewed 09-08-2016
  • Acknowledgements

    This content has been developed in collaboration with Tim O’Leary, antenatal educator and therapist; Dr Richard Fletcher, Convenor, Fatherhood Research Network; and Dr Rebecca Giallo, Senior Research Fellow, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

    The names of men quoted in this article have been changed for privacy reasons.