Men who are going to be dads are expected to be happy. But some men find that they have trouble handling their reactions and emotions during pregnancy.
Strong reactions to pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a time of stress, pressure, frustration and confusion for some men. You could be juggling preparations for baby’s arrival, money and work demands – and more.
You might feel unprepared for caring for a newborn and worry about ‘losing’ time for yourself and your partner. There’s also the prospect of sharing your partner’s attention and affection with a baby.
Pregnancy can also trigger stronger reactions for some men. These include anger, aggression, violence, depression and anxiety.
You could be experiencing strong emotions like this for the first time. Or things that normally don’t upset you now do – for example, pressure at work.
Things you can do
If you feel like you’re not coping, or you’re getting frustrated, upset or angry with your partner or other people, take these steps:
1. Leave the situation so that you can keep yourself and everyone else safe. This isn’t running away – it’s taking responsibility and calming down.
2. Before you go back, do your best to get rid of negative feelings and thoughts. Tell yourself, ‘Getting angry isn’t going to solve this problem’ or ‘I can work this out’ – anything that will help you calm down.
3. Before you go back, feel calm in your body. Signs you’re calming down include your heart rate slowing down (from beating fast) and your muscles and jaw relaxing (from feeling tense or clenched).
Raising Children Network. (2013). Getting upset or angry in pregnancy. Raising Children [Online]. Available: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/pregnancy_upset_dads.html/context/1348
[March 05, 2013]