Fatherhood brings with it many surprises; with new life comes new responsibility, it changes your priorities, and it brings new expectations to live up to. Not to mention that the role of the American father is changing. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 7% of U.S. fathers stay at home — that’s roughly 2 million men who care for their children at home, which is actually pretty cool.
Fatherhood comes with surprises that will add new color and meaning to your life. Becoming a parent is a huge life adjustment, and it brings with it some changes you might not be expecting. Here are some surprising things that happen when you become a dad.
1. You may be confused
According to Parents.com, confusion is something you may experience in the first few months of fatherhood. On one end of the spectrum, there’s virility, power, and pride with having created a new life; on the other, there are feelings of helplessness when you can’t satisfy or even understand your baby’s needs.
2. You’ll discover a different kind of love
It may not be the same type of love you have for your significant other, and that’s OK. It may be even more powerful. There is no comparing the all-consuming love that you’ll have for your child.
3. You may feel ambivalence
Ah, the confusion of fatherhood. It’s not a bad thing, though — in fact, it’s completely normal. One day you’ll look at your child and realize the intense passion you felt the day before has been replaced by a numb feeling. Can you do this? Do you care? Do you really want to take on the responsibilities that come with fatherhood? After considering these questions, you’ll experience guilt for not being head-over-heels in love 100% of the time. You might think this means you’re not a good father, but you are so wrong. Ambivalence is normal and is something you will experience for the rest of your life with your child.
4. You may experience depression
Postpartum depression may be specific to women, but plenty of guys also experience depression after their babies are born. Although your blues are not hormonal like they are with postpartum, your depression may be caused by the realization of having to return back to reality after the baby is born. All the excitement of the baby coming was built up, but after a few weeks, it’s back to the daily grind at work and all the trivialities that come along with daily life. Add to that sleep interruption, and more to do around the house — that’s enough to depress anyone.
5. You’ll be afraid
Again, this is completely natural and expected. The first few months of fatherhood are littered with fears that you won’t live up to your expectations, that you won’t be a good father, etc. Your fears will go away once you start to get the hang of fatherhood. The unknown is always scary.
6. Your relationship with your significant other will change
Before you and your S.O. became parents you both were able to spend a lot of time together, nurturing each other and making your relationship stronger. Once the baby comes, everything changes and your alone time becomes almost non-existent. Your newborn is the focus of everything you do. You will both barely have time to sleep let alone spend time together.
This means that both of you will have to put the effort in to carve out alone time and discuss other things besides the baby. It is very important that you don’t let your relationship suffer — make it a priority. It will only benefit your child in the long run if his or her parents have a healthy relationship.
More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet:
- How to Be a Happy Dad (And Why It’s Important)
- 4 Bad Habits Dads-to-Be Should Break
- 3 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Kids Healthy