I had a fantasy pregnancy announcement to my partner, in which I would organize a complicated set of clues and he'd slowly realize we were going to be parents. He would jump up and down with excitement, kiss me, and emphatically explain, "This is the best day of my life!" Turns out, real life is rarely like the illusions we form in our mind. Elation aside, there are some less-than-joyful things dads have said the moment they found out they were going to be fathers. While these reactions aren't necessarily what most would consider to be "ideal," they do reveal the normal worries all us soon-to-be parents experience when we realize our entire life is about to change.
Although my partner and I had been trying to get pregnant for months, the month I realized I was pregnant was the same month my partner and I both had been laid off. In other words, the timing of my pregnancy wasn't great and the announcement itself was stressful. However, after the initial shock wore off my partner and I both calmed down and remembered how much we really wanted a baby, despite our employment status and prospects at the time, and we got busy making a plan.
Just like anything related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood in general, there is no "right way" to respond to the news that your life is going to change with the introduction of another tiny human being. So if anything, the following dads revealing their responses to the news they're going to be fathers is proof reactionary emotions can run the gamut.
"I said, 'Oh sh*t' like ten times. Then she cried and I realized I was being insensitive so I was like, 'Rewind. Let's try again.' Then I did a little dance and cheered. In other words, I screwed it up."
"I said 'Thank you' to my wife and I held her for a long time. I have never been that emotional before. It was beautiful."
"I cried. Not ashamed to admit it, either. We had been trying to conceive for a long time. I was ecstatic!"
"I kept repeating, 'Are you sure?' It upset her because she thought it meant I wasn't happy, but I just wanted to be sure before I got my hopes up."
"I screamed, 'YES!" for about ten minutes. Then I called everyone I knew, I was so excited."
"We were in a dark place in our relationship. We actually split up before the birth. However, despite what we were going through, I know I made a huge mistake with my reaction and it was unforgivable. I asked her 'Is it mine?' I still feel guilty about it years later."
"I think I was in shock. I didn't say anything for a few minutes and then I kept repeating, 'I am going to be a dad.' It took a long time for it to sink in."
"I can't remember exactly what I said, because it's all jumbled up but it was a mix of, 'You're so beautiful, I am so happy, and this is wonderful.' I was on a high for days."
"It was a few months after a random hookup and the girl texts me saying she was pregnant. I wrote back, 'WTF? Who are you?' I thought it was a joke. She met up with me at a coffee shop later in the week and then it all got real."
"I think I said, 'Are you happy?' My wife was up for a big promotion at work and I realized this could affect her career negatively. It wasn't an immediate happy reaction, because it was complicated."
"I didn't say anything for a really long time. Instead, I just held her. We were really young and it wasn't planned. We talked it through and I waited until she said she wanted to keep the baby before I allowed myself to think about being a dad."
"I got down on one knee and proposed. We had been talking about getting married for a while and this seemed to be a perfect time to double down on the happiness. We were both giggling and smiling for the rest of the day."