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Ask a Therapist: Is Anxiety About Becoming a Parent Normal?

Anxiety, Parenting, Ask a Therapist
4 min read

Dear Therapist: Is it normal to be anxious about the arrival of a new baby? My son is due in 6 weeks and I’m worried that I won’t be a good father. Is this a sign that I'm not cut out for it?

Frame Therapist Rosalinda Guerra weighs in...

Congratulations! You’re having a baby! It is completely normal to feel anxious about being a first-time father. There are many things that add to that anxiety such as, how to feed the baby, how to change the diapers, how to bathe the baby, or even how to hold the baby. As a new father, you may feel anxious about what's ahead for you and your family. You may worry about how you're going to handle the responsibility of caring for another human being. You may wonder if you'll be able to give your child everything they need. All these worries and anxieties are normal for first-time fathers. Your concerns about not being a good father actually make you a good father already.

So again, it is normal to feel anxious about becoming a dad. Some men find that their worries increase before the birth of their baby. But there are steps that you can take to help reduce these feelings. 

  1. Talk about your concerns with your partner or other family members. They may be able to reassure you or offer advice on how to deal with specific issues. It will also help you feel like you are not alone. Also, spend time with your partner and talk about what type of parenting style works best for both of you before the baby arrives.
  2. Ask friends and family if they've had similar worries when they became parents. If so, ask them what helped them through this difficult time. Write down or record as many tips and tricks from them, and once the baby comes you find what works for you and the baby.
  3. Exercise regularly and eat healthily. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happier while eating healthy food helps boost energy levels so that you have more energy to spend with your family. It is very important to take care of yourself. 
  4. Know that there are plenty of resources available to new fathers today — from books and websites to support groups and workshops — that can help answer your questions, ease your concerns and guide you through this exciting new phase of life.
  5. Talk with other new dads to learn from their experiences so that you can share in their joys and successes as well as their challenges and failures. And remember that being a dad is supposed to be fun!

Remember that this too shall pass. Remembering that this stage will eventually end makes it easier to bear right now — because when it does end, you'll be glad you got through it!

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About the Author: Rosalinda Guerra is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor from Texas. She is the owner and therapist at Evolve and Thrive Counseling, PLLC. Rosalinda specializes in working with adults who struggle with anxiety and depression. To learn more, view additional content she has created, or to get in touch, visit her Frame profile here

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