9 months to become … father!

The nine months of pregnancy serve the future dad to prepare for the changes of role and priorities, and for the transformations of personal, couple and family balance that the birth of a baby brings.

During pregnancy, the man also lives a storm of new and intense sensations. Man’s emotions about birth are often not recognized or valued, first and foremost by the same man, who tends to deny them and is not accustomed to expressing them. And then, for society, which often places the sphere of feelings outside the area of ​​male interests. Welcoming one’s emotions and sharing them with the partner is an important step for a better understanding of the couple.
The experience of men and women during pregnancy is very different from each other. During those nine months, the future mother has a visceral and exclusive relationship with the baby that is growing inside her. The bond is greater and more immediate concerning that of the future father who, therefore, and especially in the first period of pregnancy, may seem more “cold” than his partner.
Talking about it is the only way to prevent misunderstandings or disappointments, and to meet the needs and expectations of the partner.

This also applies to the level of sexuality. The man may feel a little inhibited by the maternity of his partner and his excitement could be misunderstood by her, who is afraid of not liking her. Or, on the contrary, the intense attraction he feels towards the pregnant couple may not be reciprocated as he wishes. Dialogue and debate are the only keys to understanding.

Also, it must be said that each man can also experience doubts and fears in the face of an event as important as the birth of a child. Some wonder what life will be like “after”, how their relationship with their partner will change, or who thinks again about the son he was and wonders about the type of father he will become. Participating in a childbirth preparation course is a good opportunity to meet other future parents, discover that certain questions are normal and, thus, feel more aware of their feelings.

Get informed and participate

To be next to the pregnant woman and live fully the experience that is the arrival of a child, the man must be informed about the dynamics of pregnancy, possible physical discomfort (nausea, tiredness, back pain, etc.) and of the particular emotional state of your partner. Everything the future mom knows, the future dad also has to know: how the start of labor is recognized, how to manage the breakage of the waters, how to handle possible emergencies, etc. For this, it may also be helpful to participate in the childbirth preparation course.

 

Another valid suggestion for all prospective parents is to participate as much as possible in the important moments of pregnancy (for example, ultrasound controls). The future father must be aware of the fact that wherever he leaves a space, there will be someone else (the mother-in-law, a relative, a friend) who occupies it. In this way, however, a door opens to a series of external interferences that are not easy to stop afterward. It is better to become accustomed, since pregnancy, to train in the role of father and to live as a couple everything that concerns the child they have in common.

Being in the delivery room: yes or no?

Once the first months of pregnancy have passed, childbirth becomes one of the main thoughts for future parents. On the other hand, the experience of childbirth represents a fundamental stage in the life of the couple; but is it necessary that they live it together?

 

Historically, man has always been excluded from the event. In recent decades, the situation has changed and men and women can share the emotions of childbirth. However, care must be taken: the presence of the father in the delivery room must be the result of an election and not an imposition. The man should not feel compelled to be next to the woman just because that is how it is done today; and vice versa: the woman should not feel obliged to have her partner next to her if she feels more comfortable with someone else nearby.

 

What if the wishes of future parents do not correspond? What if the woman wants her partner to be with her in the delivery room and he prefers to wait outside? In this case, the first important mediation will take place in a couple of parents: the important thing is that each election is the result of open and calm dialogue and that the dialogue between the couple never diminishes or disappears.

Maternity leave and paternity leave

Also in Spain, men who become parents can enjoy special permit of work for the birth of your child. The man has the right to a paternity leave consisting of 2 days (the day of delivery and the day immediately after) and, for a few years, he has the right to 13 more days, which can be taken after the original 2 days or later, within the following 16 weeks (the same as the mother’s maternity leave). Also, if both parents work, it can be either that is taken these 16 weeks, although not both. If the couple decided that it was the father who took the 16 weeks off due to the arrival of the baby, the mother could also enjoy 4 weeks of mandatory leave immediately after birth.

In other countries, there is also mandatory paternity leave. This is the case in Sweden, where the father is entitled to 30 days of paid leave; or from France, which guarantees 11.