As far as dads-to-be are concerned, parenthood tends to sneak up on you. While you and he might share some of the same "oh shit, we're going to be parents" moments, he doesn't have the benefit (ha, "benefit") of going through all the physical changes you do - you know, the ones where a human being is literally growing inside you. So some of these can wind up being a real emotional gut-punch for him.
1. When he feels the baby kick for the first time. This is when it really sets in that there's another human growing inside his partner. Sure, he knew there was a fetus, but knowing that doesn't prepare him for actually feeling it kick his hand. It's like the noisy neighbor in your apartment building that you've never met. You know they live there. Maybe you've even heard about them through other people. Then one day, months after moving in, you finally run into them and you're kind of taken aback. But, like, if your neighbor had half of your DNA.
2. At the first ultrasound. Similar to how feeling the baby kick might be a reminder that this is all very real, the ultrasound is another moment where he gets one of those first concrete moments with his future child. Granted, it's all grey and the kid basically look like some found-footage alien, but it's something.
3. When you find out the sex. It's one thing to be having "a baby." It's another to be having "a son" or "a daughter." Those statements feel more real, and the first time he actually says it out loud, he could find himself tearing up.
4. When he's making plans for six months from now and realizes he needs to account for the baby. It's jarring when he buys tickets for a concert only to realize he's also going to need to find a babysitter for that night. And as the due date gets closer, he'll be spending more and more time amending his plans to say, "...oh wait. We'll have a baby then. Can they come?"
5. When he's putting the nursery together. Whether you moved so you could gain a room for the baby or turned a spare room into a nursery, seeing the space come together starts to make it all feel really real. He might walk by it one night, only to pause and stand in the doorway and realize this is going to be the room his kid grows up in.
6. When he puts the baby clothes away. It might not hit him with the first outfit you buy, or even with all the clothes you get from the baby shower. But somewhere in there, it'll sink in for him that you're not just stockpiling clothes for a tiny person. These are going to be the outfits his kid actually wears.
7. Any time you have a health scare. Hopefully, you get to enjoy a very uneventful pregnancy. But if you've ever had an emergency room visit or taken an unscheduled and harrowing trip to your ob/gyn, it can scare him enough into realizing just how real this is.
8. When you argue about baby names. It's likely that way before your pregnancy, you tossed around hypothetical baby names. Maybe you even had a handful picked out in advance. It's the kind of thing couples do before they're even ready to have a child. But he might realize that it was one thing to agree to a few baby names for a hypothetical child, and another to name an actual kid those things. To be fair, he might not have even been paying attention when there were no stakes involved. But now that it's his actual child, he's realizing just how important all these decisions are. He might find himself suddenly having strong opinions about the color of the nursery, what clothes his kid wears, and any number of other things he normally wouldn't bother with.
9. When he installs the car seat. This is late in the game, when he's probably had a ton of time to process the pregnancy. But popping in the car seat (especially if his car is his prized possession) is a defining moment. It's a moment that says, "you're going to spend less time in this going 90 down the freeway and more time fishing Cheerios out of the cracks in the seats."
10. When you go into labor. If he hasn't really come to terms with it yet, he will now. Just hope he doesn't go into shock while processing it all, since he's supposed to be your ride to the hospital.
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