23 Weeks Pregnant
Your Relationship with Baby
The first few months of fatherhood can often be the most difficult. Your baby arrives, and along with him or her comes expectations of what being a father will be like. Many of these expectations involve holding your baby and immediately feeling a strong connection and a powerful sense of love. While that will undoubtedly happen, it may take a bit longer to connect than you originally thought. Instead of a few days, it can sometimes take a few months.
Even once your baby is born, you might feel a little empty inside. Of course you know the baby you’re holding is yours, but he or she may not yet feel like your baby. (You know that you love your baby, but you just may not quite feel it yet.) This isn’t unusual, and often fathers find themselves feeling afraid, stressed by financial pressures, and exhausted from lack of sleep. This can all lead to many new dads feeling inadequate or useless as fathers. These difficult feelings can be exacerbated if you’re working outside the home while your spouse is taking care of Baby full-time.
The sad truth is many fathers have this experience but are afraid to talk about it. A lack of discussion can foster a sense of shame and may promote a feeling that bonding confirms a “bad” father (or mother). Instead of getting upset and giving up, strive to remain involved and you’ll lay the groundwork for developing a bond with your baby. (Know that if you experience these feelings, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad father or that you don’t or can’t love your child.)
In time, you and Baby will build a distinct and unbreakable connection. One day, you will look at your little one’s face and see a certain expression or hold her, and something will flutter in your chest. Before you know it, you will feel such a strong connection you’ll have trouble remembering life when you didn’t.
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