For some people, having children has always been part of the plan. While for others, it happens when you least expect it. But whether you've planned to become a parent or not, the final days of pregnancy and of course, birth, can seem extremely daunting.
For first time parents, the thought of being discharged from hospital and taking the baby home for the first time – away from the helping hands of doctors and midwives – can suddenly feel terrifying.
For one new dad, this feeling of being totally alone when the baby came home became all to real when his son came home from the hospital. He just didn’t know what to expect in the baby’s first 24 hours.
Taking to Reddit, the new father was refreshingly honest about being ‘terrified’ of being left in charge of his new baby at night while his wife caught some much needed sleep.
Opening up about his fears, he wrote, ‘Our son came back from the hospital today and it’s been an amazing experience learning the basics. Changed my first diaper today!
‘But night time sets in and my wife is exhausted from a weekend of recovery. I’ve decided to keep a close eye on things tonight and wake her up when it’s time to feed. We’re still having trouble with breast feeding and I’m in constant worry checking if he’s breathing or not. I can’t sleep. Is the first night always so stressful?’
Other Reddit users were quick to step in and congratulate the new dad, while offering him advice and support. Many commented that it’s natural to feel anxious when you get home with the baby – particularly at night.
One wrote, ‘Sleepless nights are very common in the beginning but after a few days you’ll start getting some rest. By rest I mean 2-4 hours of sleep a night for the next few weeks. You’ll learn to take short daily naps when allowed and sleep deprivation will become the norm. This will eventually pass and you’ll get back to your normal nighttime routine.’
Another commented, ‘Congrats dad! First night is stressful, but try to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Set an alarm if you need, but try to get some sleep! The most helpful thing you can do is bring him to and from your wife for feedings, and then change his diaper You certainly don’t need to keep an eye on him all night, and you’ll be more help tomorrow if you get some rest.’
In fact, over 400 parents responded to the nervous dad’s confession, offering support and advice. Some admitted that it doesn’t always get easier until your children get older, and others said that even when you do have older kids then your worries change.
A recent study revealed that many new dads felt excluded from their partner’s pregnancy during lockdown due to ongoing restrictions.
As a result of this, men have been encouraged to open up about their experiences of fatherhood, especially during these unprecedented times.