Robert Needlman MD guides us about how fathers feel during pregnancy
A man may react to his wife’s pregnancy with various feelings: protectiveness of the wife, increased joy in the marriage, pride in his virility (that’s one thing men always worry about to some degree). A certain amount of worry, “Will I be able to be a good father to this baby?” is very common, especially for men who remember their own childhoods as having been difficult.
There can also be, way underneath, a feeling of being left out, which may be expressed as crankiness toward his wife, wanting to spend more evenings with his men friends, or flirtatiousness with other women. These reactions are normal, but they are no help to his partner, who needs extra support at this stage of her life. It’s very important for fathers to talk about all of their feelings. When they do, they often find that the negative emotions (fear, jealousy) shift aside, allowing the positive ones (excitement, connection) to come forward.
Sadly, pregnancy leads some men to become emotionally or physically abusive. If you feel threatened or afraid, or if you have ever been hurt or forced to have sex, you owe it to yourself and your baby to get help. Talk to your doctor, or call 1-800-799-SAFE, the national domestic violence hotline.
(Adapted from Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, 9th edition, By Benjamin Spock MD, updated and revised by Robert Needlman MD)