Let’s be real. As men, we aren’t typically known as the emotional ones, right? But I think most of us can agree that something extraordinary takes place in our hearts when we process the big news, “Whoa, my wife is pregnant! I’m gonna be a dad.” All of sudden, sweat seeps from our eyes.
Some of us experience extreme heights of joy, unwavering disbelief, or even gut-wrenching anxiety. Many of us are lucky enough to be plunged into all the feelings at once. I know I was. But whether the pregnancy is planned or unexpected, we eventually channel ourselves into a space of endless questions we need answers to:
- “Am I ready to be a father?”
- “We didn’t plan for kids … so?”
- “What does a guy being involved throughout the pregnancy even look like?”
- “Did we make the right decision to start a family?”
- “Should I back away from disagreements during pregnancy?”
- “What’s the right way to navigate my wife’s emotions?”
- “What’s the right way to navigate my emotions?
The list goes on, but the bottom line is that most soon-to-be dads are wanting some sort of guidance for what’s ahead. And it shows since you’ve found your way to this blog post.
Getting help as an expectant dad gets tricky. We may feel selfish or inconsiderate for even asking for help when it seems our wife is the one doing much of the work. This can cause us to not express our own need for guidance.
I should note that our pregnant wives should be celebrated and honored for their miraculous strength and beauty throughout pregnancy, but we need to be careful not to discount our leadership responsibilities (1 Corinthians 11:3) and put all the weight on the mom.
My wife is pregnant … with twins
When my wife and I were excitedly expecting twins as first-time parents, it seemed to me like expectant fathers have a tall order: be patient, caring, adaptable, understanding, involved, helpful, and lead our wives and growing families in a way that is honorable despite what the nine months throw at us.
Sounds like a lot, right? That’s because it is.
Here’s the thing, you and I need these traits now, and we will surely need them throughout fatherhood. But we aren’t perfect, and we can always grow from our mistakes. We also cannot create these characteristics within ourselves and uphold them alone. We need Christ.
This is why, once you find out your wife is pregnant, you should check your vine (John 15:4-5). You’re gonna need a strong bond with Jesus these next few months and forever. He is the source of all goodness and will provide all your needs in every season, even this one—expectant fatherhood!
Choosing to surrender my leadership to Christ as an expectant father of twins was one of the best decisions I ever made. Aiming to stay connected to Christ every day is the ultimate expectant-dad hack. Whether it’s listening to praise and worship music, talking to God while showering, studying a new verse each day, listening to a podcast, or just opening the Bible and reading a passage, we need to try to seek God with all our hearts. He promises we will find Him (Matthew 7:7).
Expectant fathers, let’s get practical
Actively engaging with Jesus gives us a heart that allows us to lean into the areas we are needed spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. God then reveals the practical ways you and I can be who we were called to be (Philippians 2:13).
If your wife is pregnant, here are some practical things you can do.
While baby is on the way:
1. Speak over your family. God gives us the power to speak blessings over our lives and our kids’ lives, so get in the habit of speaking God’s promises over your spouse’s belly, into the baby’s life. You have power as a dad!
2. An expectant dad’s engagement matters. Aim to engage in questions and conversations during the appointments, sensitively engage with your partner through the emotions of the journey you both face, and don’t be afraid to ask professionals how you can engage more.
3. Be filled with grace. There are many changes you and your partner are maneuvering, so be ready to respond with grace and patience toward them and yourself.
4. Be observant. As the pregnancy progresses, be watchful of things happening to your partner in case more medical attention is needed.
5. Initiate and support healthy decisions. Think of healthy physical, mental, and spiritual changes you both can discuss and make today for the benefit of your family.
6. Learn, learn, learn. There is so much we don’t know. So make an effort to learn more about pregnancy, the journey, and your role to better support your partner by surrounding yourself with an abundance of wise people and resources.
7. Bring positive energy. Pregnancy can be rough at times, so in every area you can, share genuine joy with your partner.
8. Be prepared. Whether it’s setting up the hospital bag or just knowing what medications your partner is allergic to, stay prepared throughout the journey.
While baby is coming:
1. Be flexible and calming. Plans can change very quickly during the birth process and being calm and adaptable helps your partner depend on you.
2. Be patient. Delivery can be highly intense, and your spouse might be a little irritated. Love is patient and love is kind, so lead in grace if it seems she becomes a little annoyed with you.
3. Be in the moment. Pregnancy goes by fast, and when the delivery is over, the memories will be something you never want to forget. Where appropriate and less distracting, take photos and videos to remember the moment.
4. Be mom’s advocate and listen to the doctors. Stay attentive to how your partner is doing, what they’ve been saying, and how they’ve been feeling in case details are needed for her care. However, if a doctor asks you to quickly step aside, be ready to submit to their requests.
When baby is here:
1. Be sensitive to your family’s needs. It’s important to know how you, mom, and the new baby are doing. Be understanding of how tired the new mom is, but also how tired you might be. Try to set an environment where you and your partner are comfortable with asking for help from one another and others. It’s a great time to evaluate how your village may be able to help you.
2. Let the bonding begin. Even though your baby is young, engaging with them during diaper changes, feeding, cuddles, and playtime is vital for the new relationship you are forming.
3. Emotional communication. Talking with your partner daily about what you both are experiencing with the baby, how you can help one another, and funny things that have occurred in the day, helps build order, understanding, trust, and emotional safety in the new dynamic you are living in. Be prepared to support and love your way through the emotional rollercoaster you both may be on.
The perfect Dad
Our Heavenly Father is the perfect Dad. I mean, what better person can we go to in preparation to be a father and bring in new life? Who in the world has better fatherly traits to learn from? We’re talking about the One who recklessly loves you and me, offers forgiveness every day, and calls us His kids He loves despite our mistakes.
You and I can’t predict the future. You may generally know what to expect if your wife is pregnant, but only He knows what’s specifically ahead for you and your wife during this pregnancy and after. Man, with your genuine desire to seek God daily and apply what you learn, you will find peace that surpasses all understanding. You will get wisdom, knowledge, and a wonderful sense of leadership in every situation throughout the pregnancy. God has so much in store for you and your beautiful family (Jeremiah 29:11). I know so!
Congratulations, Brother. Can you believe you’re gonna be someone’s dad!?! May God bless you as you strengthen your connection with Jesus to produce everything your family needs during this season.
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Ashford Sonii is a writer for FamilyLife. Ashford enjoys ministry, learning, and communicating practical life applications of God’s Word within marriage, family, and how to walk with Jesus. He and his wife Olivia currently live in North Carolina with their twin girls, Ivey and Oakley.