May 18, 2023
Pregnant women experience a variety of emotions and life changes. Pregnancy, especially unplanned pregnancy, may leave a woman feeling shocked, panicked, overwhelmed, scared and alone.
Although these feelings are intense, the father of the baby, specifically first time dads or dads of an unplanned pregnancy, have their own feelings and concerns to deal with too.
By being intentional about involving the father, you don’t have to feel guilty or anxious about having these emotions; you can share them.
Yale child psychologist, Dr. Kyle Pruett eloquently stated, “Men are the single greatest untapped resource in the lives of American children.”
Pruett, a pioneer in the field of fatherhood research, encourages the early involvement of fathers because his studies show that infants are prewired for attachment to both women and men.
The truth is fathers play a vital role in every aspect of planning for a child, childhood development, emotional and physical well-being of men. This mutually dependent, healthy relationship should complement, not compete with that of the mother and child. With this understanding, fathers-to-be should be inspired to become involved, committed and responsible fathers.
The reality is that many men don’t know how to be a father because they didn’t have a good father and they are afraid to repeat the cycle.
This is where a partnership in communication is vital but challenging at the same time. If the woman makes every decision, the father will often be silent and less involved.
The first thing she can do is plan her ultrasound appointment with the father so he is invited into the process. At the appointment, the registered nurse will greet the woman, introduce herself and assess the patient alone. After the assessment, the nurse will explain the pregnancy results, ultrasound procedure and the patient will invite the father to the ultrasound room.
During the ultrasound, the nurse will describe the images displayed on the monitor, answer any questions they may have and provide the couple with a photograph of their baby.
When there is a partnership between the woman and the father of her baby, there is a recognition that together, they can do this. Both partners need the support of one another to make positive decisions.
We had a patient who came into TCMC to confirm a pregnancy. She was a mother of five children and her fiancé had two children. She had an abortion one year prior. She had raised her five children as a single mom and was still raising two teenagers. She said she could barely make it financially now so there was no way she could have another child. She wanted to take the abortion pill as soon as possible. The patient said that her fiancé still supported having the baby and did not want the abortion. When the registered nurse sonographer educated her on the ultrasound in determining the viability of the pregnancy, she agreed but was reluctant to have the father of the baby present because she didn’t want them to get attached. The patient understood the importance of having the ultrasound after education was reinforced. In addition, the registered nurse educated her on how vital it is to have the father present as a support system and that the decision wasn’t the entire burden for her to carry; it was equally his. She spoke with her fiancé and he eagerly agreed to come in for the ultrasound.
During the ultrasound, they were both very engaged, asking questions. The registered nurse sonographer educated, reassured and guided them through every step and what to expect. In addition, she discussed in detail the images displayed on the screen.
When the client advocate asked the father if he had ever been present for an ultrasound for his other children, he exclaimed, “yes, but it was nothing like this. This is so specific, so detailed, wow, this is amazing.”
After the ultrasound, the patient who initially seemed sad with a flat affect at the beginning of her visit was smiling, happy, relaxed, and making good eye contact. At that point, she said she could not have an abortion; the baby was healthy and she decided then to keep her unborn baby.
The first appointment was successful because the patient and her fiancé realized they didn’t have to navigate the decision separately; they could partner with one another. They both benefited and the future child will reap the benefits as well.
At True Choice, we provide a fatherhood program, a great resource for men seeking to improve their parenting and relationship skills. Our mentors offer wisdom, reassurance and encouragement in a confidential setting. This program is available to any man and will help equip them with the practical skills they need. To find out more about our program, contact True Choice Medical Clinics at(858)-397-1970.
True Choice is here to help you succeed as a parent.