Excitement and wonder will ensue the moment he holds his precious little newborn. But, if it doesn’t, don’t blame him. Often, more than we know, fathers don’t instantly fall in love with their new babies as quick as mothers do. One dad recently screamed for help over this same situation. Claiming, “I Don’t Think I Love My Baby Boy.” This can happen to both a mother and a father. It may even start during the pregnancy beginning with a sense of being left out.
According to Maggie Blott, M.B.B.S, editor-in-chief of Pregnancy Day By Day (DK; 2018), before birth, mothers may have a hard time imagining the relationship to come with a newborn. “Fortunately, bonding is a chemical process in your brain when you give birth,” says the book. “However, when your baby is born, your priorities will become abundantly clear, as will your affection — although bonding may not always be instant … You may feel love at first sight, when you first hold your baby after the birth, but for many women bonding takes place over the next few days or weeks.” Which, makes sense for dads to feel the same.
When It Begins
I recall sitting back in a quiet room — glad to grab a moment! — smiling at my growing belly and watching our baby kick with fierceness. It made me so happy to feel him, even the very uncomfortable kicks. Boy, did he have some power behind those kicks and punches! Several times, I’d call my husband to come feel them, too. My loving dad-to-be (again) obligingly would come to my call and sits there waiting for the next kick with that “look” about his face.
You know that look. It’s the look that most soon-to-be-dads have when they don’t feel what you feel day in and day out. It’s the look of boredom, of being left out, of not knowing really what to look or feel for. I know this for a fact because of what my husband had said to me: “You know I’m not going to get excited like you are until I can actually hold him in my arms myself.”
As heart-wrenching as that might sound to your emotional self at the moment, take heart. He’s got a good point. Your partner in all of this doesn’t get to experience the joys and wonders of carrying a tiny little package around and protecting it. You’ve started a relationship with your baby from the moment you learned you were pregnant — and it grows from there. However, being on the outside, your partner may feel left out. Not that you don’t share in all the news of what Baby did during the day or what-not, but that the feeling of holding and protecting something is lost on him at the moment.
My husband’s statement did hit me a bit — even though I knew he felt this way during the pregnancies of our other two children. But, I stole a moment to regain my thoughts and I took a look at it in a different way. I remember how he looked when I walked down the aisle to the alter on our wedding day nearly 13 years ago. Man, oh, man was it Niagara Falls with him! He gave THAT look when he held our other two children on the day they were born. That’s when it really hit him. That’s the moment I should look forward to.
Of course, I’ll still nag him to feel the baby every now and then and point out how much he’s grown. So, when your partner doesn’t get all excited and gushy over every little kick or every little ultrasound photo, just remember, the time will come when joy will fill his eyes.
How to Help Him
Just remember to include him on any new things happenings/news as your pregnancy progresses so that he really doesn’t feel left out. All those things you tell your friends and family, he should know before them. And, don’t beat yourself up over the fact that he’s not as giddy as you are. His moment will come.