25 July 2009
During this very early phase many of these fatherhood qualities seem a bit vague or generalized yet each of them is important to you, your baby and the woman you are with (whether you live together or not she will always be the mother of your child).
To understand how these words are shown as thoughts and actions I’ll explain each.
KINDNESS TO YOURSELF
Throughout this blog you are being introduced to the phases you go through, the ones your baby goes through and those being experienced by the woman in your life. This means that each of these qualities need to be reflected outward as well as to yourself.
I’ll explain each emotion as it applies to you first. This does not mean you come first or second or last, it just means that you need to get hold of these qualities within you, understand them and be able to choose how you exhibit them. You also need to know there is a place you are always honored during these unique period of becoming as pregnancy grows a baby and you grow through ‘becoming’ into ‘being’ a father.
Kindness is a quality that speaks for itself really. During this very early phase of becoming it is one of the primary emotions you must exercise within yourself. As soon as you know you are pregnant many thoughts and feelings will arise whether you planned this pregnancy or not and whether you love the woman you are with or not and whether you live together or not.
Life continues whether you like it or not. You still have to go about your daily business, bring in the bucks, eat, sleep, clean up, drive from here to there. And Life continues with any problems you might have in your relationship, financially, with family or friends, the weather, your animals, your health etc. Life also continues with all the good qualities of friendship, the news that you’ll be a father, relaxing and enjoying.
Yet the first news of pregnancy and the subsequent rapid changes that a woman experiences which are not always pleasant (morning sickness in particular!) can have a huge unsettling influence on your life. If this pregnancy is planned and wanted you might be confused that your emotions or those of your wife or partner are not always just full of delight. If this pregnancy was unexpected then you might be surprised at how intense some negative emotions can be.
Kindness is a quality you can then direct to yourself. Be kind that your mind dredges up negative thoughts. The human Mind is full of thoughts. Some of these thoughts surprise us with how intense they are. This intensity of thought and emotion is necessary for fatherhood. Being a father encompasses the heightened role of protector of a defenseless human child. By growing heightened emotions and thoughts are part of that protective mechanism. This doesn’t mean these heightened emotions always lead to heightened or extreme responses but this growth in your Mind is teaching you to distinguish between threat and no threat.
So you need to learn to be kind to yourself and learn to watch the thoughts and emotions that go through your Mind during this early period. Kindness exists within a calm place within you. Kindness is not always an action, it is an acceptance of what is, a settling down and an internal embrace of your whole being.
If you’ve experienced kindness from others then you also know that the action was not specific to that quality but rather how that action was presented to do. If you’ve exercised kindness to others then you know that any action can stem from that intentional emotion.
So as you go through these first phase of ‘becoming’ a father it’s important that you grow your kindness to yourself. This is also a form of self-forgiveness. Do not expect that everything you think or do will show the best of who you can be. However, kindly forgive yourself so you can learn how to moderate your thoughts and actions.
KINDNESS TO YOUR BABY
It’s very difficult to be kind to your baby at this point. You can’t touch your baby and if you have discovered this pregnancy within the first 6 weeks then your baby is still a mass of cells. However, your emotions just think of this baby as a baby and you can already direct very negative and positive thoughts to it. This is where you need to be kind to your baby. Throughout your child’s life (believe it or not) you will have some very, very negative feelings and thoughts about how your baby or child does things.
Feeling negative about your child is a real no-no topic. Somehow having negative feelings about your own child seems mean spirited and harsh but it’s a reality for both men and women and must not be dismissed.
Even if this is a wanted pregnancy you can have very negative thoughts go through your head. Being kind to your child comes from your ability to tell your child (yes, talk to it in your own mind) and explain that having negative thoughts and feelings are normal. Also tell your baby that having these feelings does not mean that you will act on them.
This is important for you to understand. Your Mind can express one thing but that does not mean you have to act on it. This is the difference between being a ‘child’ who does act out negative feelings and emotions and an adult who learns how to control their actions. This does not mean you can always control your emotions or thoughts.
So during this early phase begin to talk with your baby with kindness. Practice what tone in your voice you use when you are exercising kindness. Practice what actions of care you want to show your child so they can feel your kindness. When children (or others) feel your kindness they feel safe with you.
KINDNESS TO THE WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE
Of course this is much more complex! If you are in a tight and loving relationship you probably already feel you show your wife/partner kindness and you’re probably right. Sometimes she might know that and sometimes not even recognize it.
When you exercise kindness to another person you do that whether or not another person appreciates it. As a child you would more likely expect the other person to appreciate your kind actions. As an adult you just are kind because you are an adult and kindness is important.
If you are not really tight with this woman than it’s very tempting not to exhibit kindness because it’s easier to show her that you’re not really with her by not being kind. This is how a child behaves and you are now moving out of that phase of your life. This means you must exercise kindness to this woman because she is the mother of your child.
Your child will love its mother. If you are unkind to its mother you will hurt your child.
During this early period of pregnancy this woman is going through a huge change just because she now has another being growing inside her body. Think about this a moment. When you catch a cold and feel poorly you feel that way because bacteria or viruses are growing inside your cells. Eventually you get over feeling poorly because your body either overcomes those ‘germs’ or the germs settle down within you.
A baby is not a ‘germ’ however, its own growth changes all the hormones in the woman’s own body which already can cause her to feel weird, terrible or unsettled. The baby also throws off a great deal of metabolic waste products which her body then has to deal with as well. During this early phase this woman might feel crappy. Morning sickness is persistent and lasts for weeks and weeks and weeks.
During this early period she might also have to go to work and she certainly has to continue to live her life. Perhaps there are already children in the family and she still has to mother them. Perhaps this is her first child and she is just amazed at how poorly she feels. Having morning sickness is not connected to whether this is a wanted pregnancy or not. It happens to some women.
So kindness to the woman in your life is paramount. During other phases of pregnancy when she is feeling great then kindness isn’t always the first emotion and action she needs from you. During this early period she needs you to understand that she is going through absolutely phenomenal changes. When you are kind to her she will remember this. Women have memories as long as an elephant!
So discover this quality of kindness in yourself, toward yourself, toward your growing and changing baby and toward this woman who is growing your baby inside her body. Be kind.
This blog will help you develop skills while your baby is growing inside its mom’s belly. You also need skills to be an effective help during The Birth. Here’s the best resource The Pink Kit Package (The Tool kit for fathers-to-be) is what you need to learn starting at 24 weeks … or later if you are reading this later in pregnancy. Become a wonderful birth coach/support and Wow your doctor or midwife, your parents, friends and partner. Step up now.