Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Advice to Expecting Fathers

It occurs to me that I have several friends who are expecting the birth of their first child. Nobody has asked for it, but -- like it or lump it -- here is some advice.
  • Find ways to get involved with the pregnancy.

Go along to the midwife/OB appointments. Help the mother keep track of whether she's gettting the right nutrition. Read and discuss the same books and web sites. Treat birthing class as an opportunity to learn and help out, not as an obligation. Take some tasks on yourself (researching strollers, setting up the nursery, etc.) Show kindness to the expecting mother.

Some of these examples are self-evident, but they speak to the larger point of being involved. If the pregnancy is easy, you'll have more standing and credibility when things get hard -- like practically every day of parenting. Or if the pregnancy is hard, you'll have more standing and credibility when times are easy and everyone can coast.

To gain influence on how your child is raised, you need to be involved -- the earlier, the better. The mother has a lot of this authority thrust upon her, almost by default. To gain the right to have a say, you have to earn it.

Plus, it's just plain nice.

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