The day you found out your wife was pregnant was exciting, but then new considerations arose. All of a sudden people were coming forth sharing their personal horror stories. You heard about potential mood swings, the horrors of labor and delivery, and even how most pregnant women and new mothers are not into sex anymore. The excitement quickly turned into trepidation – what have you gotten yourself into?

Men have often opposing views of pregnancy. Some see it as no big deal, a natural occurrence women are built to simply go though as their mother did before them. Other men see pregnancy as a scary condition in which they will be completely helpless while their loved and cherished woman will battle the dragon of labor and delivery and curse the day they had met him.

It is important to check in with yourself, to find out how you truly feel about this situation. Up to this point you may have focused on your partner's health, worries about money, and the need for a larger house, a new car or what new expenses you will have once the baby has arrived. Then one day you woke up and realized that you are also concerned about what type of father you will be. Understanding your feelings about fatherhood allows you to decide how you will develop your family role, from "man/husband, to dad". You may remember your father and how he was when you were young. What did you learn from what your father did and what you intend to do differently, or the same? No matter what relationship you have with your dad, this is a great time to talk to him about fatherhood, if you can. Often, we know we will do things completely opposite of what our parents did, but seldom we really think about how and what we are going to do instead. Some times, simply being the opposite of something doesn’t work; we need to put some thoughts into raising, disciplining, and educating our children.

Talk to other men who have being going through incipient fatherhood. Find out what their experiences are. One word of caution: people love to share scary stories about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Take such warnings with a grain of salt. Simply because someone’s wife had a forty-eight hour labor does not mean your partner will have the same experience. Do not get attached to the negative stories, but consciously choose to pay attention to the fun, heart-warming stories all dads have.

Truth be told, men have no idea (nor women for that matter) what will happen during their partner’s labor and delivery. Believe it or not you are not helpless; in fact you can be of tremendous help. It is important to discuss what kind of birth she wants. If you are going for a ‘natural’ birth with little or no medical intervention you can be key to a successful outcome. Start by going to childbirth classes with her, watch videos and learn what to expect before, during and after labor and delivery. Study the different positions she can use during labor, the different types of breathing and relaxation exercise. If you have bought her a self-hypnosis tape, listen to it and learn how to help her relax each and every muscle in her body. Remember a labor coach main job is help her breathe deeply (do it with her do not tell her to breathe,) assume different positions, and make low guttural sounds (like the sound AHHH) while dancing the labor dance. Begin thinking about your role during labor, how you feel about it and how you are going to prepare yourself for it. But if you cannot see yourself in that role, be honest and talk about having someone help, like a doula or a female friend. It is more courageous to admit you cannot really do what she is asking you to do, rather then pretend you can and force yourself to do what you don’t feel comfortable doing. This will go a long way in your relationship. There is an adage that says, “Ask for what you want and need and celebrate the nos.” In essence it is her right to ask for what she wants and needs, as it is your right to say no. The celebration comes from the clarity and honesty of your communication. You can help her find the right people to be with the two of you, during labor, another woman who can help in a way you can't or don't feel up to. Most importantly talk to your partner and together decide how you are going to approach this wonderful and miraculous occurrence.

Author's Bio: 

Giuditta Tornetta is a birth and post-partum doula, a lactation educator, a hypnotherapist and author of: Painless Childbirth: An Empowering Journey Through Pregnancy and Birth. She has a private practice in Marina del Rey, California. She can be reached through her website at or by calling 310-435-6054