Inside His Head: Husband not excited about baby

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Dear dads,

I’m pregnant with my first baby and my husband really doesn’t seem excited. I’m having a hard time with his reaction. We discussed having kids when we were dating, so that’s not it. He says he’s happy, but I don’t really believe it. Any advice on how to handle this situation?

johnthumbnail.jpgMAVERICK: More than likely he’s happy and excited, just not the same way you are.

In general, men don’t think much about being parents until they are, or are about to become one. It’s not something we talk about with our pals over beers or daydream about while we fish. Women have a big head-start on us in that regard.

So, even if he wanted to be a dad and all, he has a lot of catching up to do regarding the whole parenthood gig so don’t judge him for not reacting the same way you are to the news and the different stages of the pregnancy.

peasout_pink_bodysuit__77426_std.jpgAlso, for those of us cavemen types out there, the responsibility of being a dad might just now be sinking in. He’s seeing the next 20 years, and then some, filled with doctor bills, braces, bikes, clothing, and college that he’s gonna have to figure out a way to pay for. He could be trying to get his head around a serious reality check.

So, don’t read subdued as uninterested and don’t register him as not excited if he’s not giggling about baby showers or happily zooming out on trips to the store to by onesies.

You’ll likely see his enthusiasm pick up once the baby is here, then again when the baby becomes more mobile and then even more when the baby can talk and play games with him and stuff.

Parenthood is a team effort. It helps if we bring different skills and emotional strengths, and reactions to the process.

So remember, he’s a dad to be, not a mom to be, don’t expect his reactions or emotions to always mirror yours. Who wants to be married to a clone?

greg1thumbnail.jpgGRAY: My first recommendation is hormones. How are you dealing with things? A little emotional perhaps? Remember, your body’s getting hit with a ton of stuff right now. When my wife got pregnant she couldn’t stand chocolate anymore – yeah, chocolate – so something as relatively minor as your husband not being excited ought to rank pretty far down on the totem pole.

My second recommendation is taking another look at when you “discussed having kids.” When he said “Sure, I’d like to have kids” you probably could have substituted “kids” for “a house,” sandwich.gifor “a grilled cheese sandwich,” or “socks.” In the real world, you don’t really understand what having kids is about until you’re in the thick of things.

So go take another look at your less-than-excited husband. Is he just less than excited or does he have that glazed, bewildered expression usually reserved for lottery winners? Getting hit with news about becoming a father can clobber your mind. And it doesn’t mean he’s not excited, he just has to figure out how on Earth he got to this point in his life.

My final recommendation is to believe him when he tells you he’s happy. Asking him again and again will probably just make him think you’re hormonal (see first recommendation). If that doesn’t cut it for
you, then engage him in talks about what he plans to do when the baby arrives. Sometimes you can tell how excited a guy is by listening to him talk about what he sees his future as being now that he’s a dad to be.

To read more Inside His Head, click here. Or you can send a question to our anonymous panel of husbands to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. 

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