Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Dads: Here’s how to be a good father to a baby who isn’t even born yet

MAN,WOMAN,PREGNANT

Shutterstock

Anna O'Neil - published on 10/06/18

A father’s duty to raise his child starts at the moment of conception, not at the moment of birth.

Once a couple announces their pregnancy, it’s not unusual for the man to become the target of a little good-natured ribbing. His wife is suddenly a mother, and he’s a father — and the obvious inequality of the burden of pregnancy is a little ridiculous. The man’s contribution to his new child’s life was fun and quick, and his wife gets stuck with the short end of the stick. At the bare minimum, the next nine months are all her problem and while she’s pregnant, the man couldn’t take care of that baby even if he wanted to, right?

Wrong. Not only can you, dad, take care of your unborn child, but it’s your duty to do so. Just because the baby isn’t born yet doesn’t mean that you don’t already have a new child, and every child needs a mother and a father. A father’s duty to raise his child starts at the moment of conception, not at the moment of birth.

But how the heck do you act like a good father to an unborn child? Well, not the way the mother does, that’s for sure. You don’t have to provide space for the child, and safety, and nutrients, and antibodies, and essential gut microbes, and milk, and the irreplaceable maternal attachment that an infant needs to thrive.

But here’s the thing: You know how sometimes you look at your pregnant wife and marvel at how strong she is, going through the radical changes that every new week seems to have for her? You’re right to marvel, because pregnancy really is that amazing, and hard. But a woman was never meant to go through pregnancy alone. Even before the baby is born, a mother’s job is a lot less difficult when both parents have an active role in the baby’s life.

While she’s taking care of your child’s developmental needs — since she’s the only one who can directly do that right now — your role is to take care of her needs. She and the baby are sharing the same resources right now because that’s how a pregnant body acts. Your choice has to be a conscious one. You have to look at your own resources — your mental and physical energy, your physical strength, your relative normalcy compared to hers — and choose to put them at the service of your family.

When you choose to take care of dinner and dishes, so she can take a nap, you are making a gift of your physical resources to your wife, but also to your child. Your little acts of love, like taking over the grocery shopping, and spending extra time with the older kids, and rubbing her back, and listening to her fears, and getting the house ready for the baby, and a million other things… these are acts of love to your wife, and just as much acts of love towards your newest child.

Your role in your wife’s pregnancy, and your role in your child’s life looks the same right now. Every act of love toward one is an act of love toward both. It’s easy to fall into thinking that you aren’t really a father till you get to meet your baby, but that’s just not true. Your fatherhood is already as indispensable as it is going to be through your child’s whole life. Your baby needs you right now. And if you’re not sure exactly what your baby needs? Well, just ask your wife.


FATHER AND DAUGHTER

Read more:
12 Inspiring quotes to celebrate fatherhood

Tags:
FatherhoodPregnancy
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
4
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
5
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
6
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
7
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.