You finally got the news from the doctor that you and your partner are expecting. While it may be exciting to become a new parent, it comes with challenges you’re probably biting your nails over now.

There are unavoidable financial sacrifices you have to make. Suddenly, the money you’ve been saving up for a new TV will go into a new crib and other baby supplies. There’s also the unavoidable sleep deprivation as the little one cries at 3 AM for reasons utterly foreign to you.

Indeed, being a parent will never be easy, especially if you’re new. But it also comes with simple bursts of happiness such as the newborn pictures you get to show the family and seeing your child walk for the first time. There’s always a way to keep your composure and ultimately your sanity as you face fatherhood. Here’s a guide on how to go through your initial steps as a first-time dad.

The 9-Month Wait

One of the most anxiety-inducing moments in a father’s life is the nine months of pregnancy that their partner goes through. One way to ease this worry is by learning as much as you can about pregnancy itself. Ask your wife’s gynaecologist if there are any prenatal classes you can take with your partner. This way, you’ll be learning the pregnancy process together.

Remember that pregnancy will have a drastic effect on your partner’s body. Apart from her physical limitations and frequent urination, she’ll have mood swings and random breakdowns. And that’s only normal. Always remember to keep your cool, even if her sudden jolts of frustration seem too outlandish. It’s in these times that she needs your understanding the most. Don’t let her down. Offer to buy their favourite food or a nice massage to help them calm down.

Your Role During Labour

It’s hard to see your partner in pain during labour. But, as always, you need to be the rock that keeps her steady. Help her walk around the halls if she feels she needs to move constantly. You can also play some soothing music on your smartphone to help calm her down. You can even step it up a bit by creating a playlist of you and your partner’s favourite songs. It’s all about keeping her mind off the discomfort she’s feeling.

When push literally comes to shove, you need to be her voice. With all the pain she’s going through as she tries to push the baby out, she won’t be able to communicate properly. You know her best, so be mindful and carefully decide when the doctor recommends getting a C-section. And when the baby does come out, and it’s time for your partner to rest, surprise them with gifts the next morning. It doesn’t have to be grand, either. A simple love letter or her favourite dish will show her the appreciation she needs and deserves.

Getting Your Finances in Order

The luxury of having a loose budget is over when you become a dad. Now, you have to plan everything you spend with your partner to have enough for a rainy day fund. Consult your spouse on a set amount of money you need to put into your savings account every payday. Never break this amount unless you’re adding more to it.

As a couple, you have to make some sacrifices, like cutting down on your daily coffee run or having expensive dinners out. Home cooking is much more affordable and provides a bond as, if not more, romantic than a night at a fancy Melbourne restaurant. Plus, staying at home means you get to spend more time with your baby.

Time Management Tips

son helping his father with building work

Absences from work will be unavoidable as a new dad, as you’ll be taking care of both your partner and your child. Make the most out of your paternity leave by fully focusing on housework and spending time with your baby. Get some playtime in and let your spouse rest as you take care of the little one. Don’t even check your work email while you’re at home. You shouldn’t forget to allow time for yourself or share some intimate moments with your partner, too.

Remember, Frustration is Normal

Don’t be afraid to open up to your spouse about your frustrations as a new dad. It’s perfectly normal to be blindsided by the sudden adjustments you have to make. Remember that it’s just as hard for her, too. Dedicate some “opening up” time for you and your spouse. It’ll help both of you to vent out and relieve stress. If you feel that it’s still getting worse, ask a mental health professional to help you deal with your emotions.

All the excitement of being a new parent can be punctuated by the challenges you have to face before, during, and after childbirth. It’s only normal to feel like you’re not ready for these changes. No one ever is. All the hard work, patience, and understanding will be rewarded once you hear your baby’s first “dada.”