My partner and I were on the same page about when to expand our family. Things went according to plan, too, and I got pregnant quickly. I was happy, to be sure, but I was also scared out of my mind. In fact, I was probably more scared than excited. I confided in my husband about how I was feeling, and discovered that he was scared, too. When I asked other dads I know, I learned that pretty much all of them had terrifying thoughts when their partners got pregnant.
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense for non-pregnant people to worry when their partners get pregnant. Anyone who has been there can tell you that pregnancy changes everything. Everything. And there's no way to predict how a pregnancy and a baby will impact your relationship. Plus, it's natural to be afraid that something might happen to your pregnant partner. After all, pregnancy complications are real and people still die in childbirth in 2018. The thought of raising a child is scary enough, without also having to worry about your partner not being there to co-parent with you.
In the end I guess I wasn't that surprised to hear that quite a few of the dads I know had some seriously terrifying thoughts when their partners got pregnant. Those thoughts included their abilities as a parent, about their child-to-be, about their partner, and about the future. So with that in mind, read on for an inside look at some dads' inner-most thoughts about pregnancy and becoming parents. You might want to grab some tissues first, though.
"Some of the terrifying thoughts were: what if there is something wrong with the baby and we have to spend a life caring for someone who cannot care for themselves? Or, what if the kid hates me? Or, what is this going to do to our relationship? You just do not know what you are getting into, you know?"
"Please don’t be twins."
"With my daughter, the most terrifying thought was, 'Do I have what it takes to be a good dad?' I’d spent almost 45 years required to take care of only myself. With my son, it was more about his health, especially with the advanced age thing (wife and I were both 45, had endured several pregnancy losses, and were constantly reminded of the risks involved.
But still, everyday, I worry about their happiness and making sure their needs can be met. Thinking about the future with our ages making sure they will be cared for through college, and worried that we won’t live long enough to see them through that."
"I don't know what I'm doing! I don't know how to be a dad! What if I drop the kid or something?"
"How am I going to support this child? What's going to happen to my life now? What if something happens to my wife during pregnancy or delivery?"
"I was worried if the baby would be OK. We have a history of chromosome issues with our embryos. I also worried about my wife's safety."
"I worried that I would be as big of a d*ck as my own father was — emotionally abusive, no affection, selfish, and narcissistic."
"I do not remember that period very well, to be honest. I spent so much time being stressed and tired. The thing I probably remember most is just thinking, 'May it not happen again.' I wasn’t as worried about how [my daughter] would be when she came out, so long as she made it out at all. We had lost twins a few months before we conceived her, and she had suspected chromosomal issues."
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.