Are you an expectant father wondering what role you can play in the early stages of parenting? You're not alone! In this blog, I’ll outline 8 ways fathers can play an active role in early parenting through the lens of Dr Kaleb Valdez, a chiropractic physician, bestselling author, and passionate advocate for birth and pregnancy related chiropractic care. Dr. Valdez, through his own research and experience with thousands of patients, has come to the conclusion that fathers can be informed and active participants in the birthing process, by being educated on the process, advocating for the birth team, and making sure to be present for those formative moments. I’ll also share how Dr Kaleb Valdez, with The Fallible Man LLC Man Podcast, has helped many men reach their full potential in being good husbands, fathers, and taking care of themselves. So, keep reading to find out how you can become an empowered father today!
About Dr Kaleb Valdez
Meet Dr. Kaleb Valdez, a chiropractic physician and bestselling author, who is passionate about birth and pregnancy-related chiropractic. Dr. Valdez is an advocate for men to become active participants in the birth process and to be informed, present and conscious of what their wives are going through. He believes that men should have an opinion on birth and be allies and advocates for the birthing team. Dr. Valdez encourages expectant fathers to start having conversations with their partners early on in their relationship and to lean into hard conversations to make sure they are equally yoked. He also suggests doing research and turning fear into curiosity to better prepare for the birthing process.
Why is it important for fathers to play a role in the early stages of parenting?
It is important for fathers to play a role in the early stages of parenting for a number of reasons. Firstly, fathers can create a strong bond between their child and themselves, which can be beneficial for both parties. Fathers can provide emotional, physical and financial support during this stage, which can give their child the best foundation for a healthy and happy life. Secondly, fathers can provide an example of what a responsible and loving parent should look like. By setting a good example for their child, fathers can help to instill important values and provide guidance as their child grows and matures.
Additionally, fathers can help to create a strong and stable family unit. Early stages of parenting can be daunting, particularly for first-time fathers, and fathers can help to support their partner and share the burden of parenting and household responsibilities. Fathers can also help to create a sense of security and stability for their child and help to foster a positive environment in which their child can thrive. Ultimately, fathers play an integral role in the early stages of parenting and can help to provide a secure foundation for their child to grow and develop.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Become educated on the birth and breastfeeding process.
2. Have awkward conversations and be open to learning.
3. Advocate for the birth team.
4. Advocate for connection and presence.
5. Prioritize the birthing process over other things such as sports games or going out with friends.
6. Have conversations with your partner pre-conception and pre-marriage to ensure that you are both philosophically aligned on things such as home birth, circumcision, vaccines, and education for children.
7. Show your partner that you have confidence in her ability to birth and be prepared to compensate and support her in areas where she may not feel safe or ready.
The first step for expectant fathers to take in preparing for and supporting their partner during the birthing process is to have open, honest conversations with their partner. This should happen before conception or marriage, if possible, so that both parties are on the same page when it comes to their beliefs, values, and expectations. It is important to discuss any and all potential scenarios that may arise during the birthing process and to make sure that both parties are comfortable with each other's decision-making in those situations. This could include topics such as home birth, circumcision, vaccines, and postpartum care. These conversations should be had in a supportive, understanding environment, and be focused on understanding what both parties want and need to feel safe, secure, and supported during this life-changing experience. Doing so will ensure that both partners feel confident and prepared to handle anything that may come up during the birthing process.
In addition to having honest conversations with their partner, expectant fathers can also actively prepare for the birthing process by taking childbirth education classes. These classes are designed to help fathers understand the process of labor and delivery, as well as provide them with the tools to effectively support and communicate with their partner during the birthing process. The classes typically cover topics such as pain management, breastfeeding, and postpartum care. By taking these classes, the expectant father will gain an understanding of the birthing process that will help him to provide the best possible support for his partner during this time.
Finally, an expectant father can also show his partner support by simply being present. This means being present during doctor’s visits and ultrasounds, attending childbirth education classes, and being available to listen and provide emotional support during the birthing process. During labor, the expectant father should be actively involved in providing physical, emotional, and practical support to their partner. By being present and providing this support, it will help to ensure that both the mother and father have a positive birthing experience.
2. Become educated on the birth and breastfeeding process.
Becoming educated on the birth and breastfeeding process is the second step for men to become more involved in the experience. The first step is to become an ally and advocate for the mother, and this step is no different. Men should become comfortable discussing topics related to birth and breastfeeding, and should come to the conversations informed and with opinions. They should also have these conversations early on in pregnancy and throughout delivery, and should be present postpartum.
One way to become educated on the process is to attend Lamas classes, where the expectant parents can learn about the birth process, nutrition, and the basics of breastfeeding. It is important to have an open dialogue with the partner in order to ensure that they are both on the same page regarding the birth and breastfeeding process. Men should ask their partner how they feel about home birth, circumcision, vaccines, and other important topics. Additionally, it is helpful to research the topics and to become familiar with the process. This will help to ease fears and to ensure that the expectant parents are prepared.
Another great way to become educated on the birth and breastfeeding process is to attend birthing classes, childbirth education classes, and breastfeeding classes. During these classes, the expectant parents can learn about labor and delivery, nutrition, the basics of breastfeeding, and more. Attending classes together is a great way for the couple to bond, to become informed and to prepare for the birth and breastfeeding process.
It is also important to read books and articles on birth and breastfeeding. There are many books and articles available that discuss the different birth options, the benefits of breastfeeding, and the challenges that expectant parents may face. Reading and discussing these topics will help the couple to form their own opinions and to be more prepared for the upcoming birth and breastfeeding process.
3. Have awkward conversations and be open to learning.
In order to have awkward conversations and be open to learning in step 3, it is important to establish trust and open communication with your partner. This means discussing difficult topics, such as birth and breastfeeding, before the baby is born. Dr. Valdez suggests talking about these topics before conception and even before marriage, in order to ensure that both partners are on the same page and have the same values. Furthermore, it is also important to ask questions and do research in order to gain a better understanding of the process. This can help to alleviate some of the fear and unfamiliarity associated with the birth process. In addition, it is important to be an active participant in the birth process and not just a bystander. Dr. Valdez recommends advocating for your partner, being informed and present, and being prepared to make decisions. By having these conversations and being open to learning, both partners will be more prepared for the birth process and can work together to create the best environment for the baby.
Additionally, it is important to discuss postpartum plans. It is important to determine who will take care of the baby after birth, how long the partner will take off from work, and who will be the primary caregiver. This is a critical step in the process, as it will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the baby will have the support it needs. Furthermore, it is important to talk about expectations after the baby is born. What kind of a parenting style does each partner prefer? How will the finances be divided? How will the baby be disciplined? All of these questions should be discussed before the baby is born.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that the birth process is unpredictable and to be prepared for any and all outcomes. Dr. Valdez suggests making a birth plan and sharing it with the medical team. The plan should include the preferred birthing environment, preferences on pain management, and any other important details. This plan can help to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that the birth process is as stress-free as possible. By having these difficult conversations and preparing for all outcomes, couples can feel more confident and empowered as they approach the birth of their child.
4. Advocate for the birth team.
Advocating for the birth team is an important step for expectant fathers to take to support their partner and ensure the best possible experience. Fathers should take an active role in the birth process, educating themselves on what to expect and having conversations with their partner about topics such as home birth, epidurals, circumcision, and vaccines. Fathers should also be present and conscious during the birth process and serve as a protector and provider for the mother. It is important for fathers to reach out to other fathers who have gone through the process to gain knowledge and build a support system. Finally, fathers should be present and supportive during the postpartum period to ensure the mother is supported and has what she needs. By advocating for the birth team, fathers can ensure a positive experience for their partner and their newborn baby.
Fathers should also be aware of their own emotional needs during the birth process and make sure to take care of themselves. This can be difficult for fathers who may feel like they need to be strong for their partner, but it is important to recognize and honor their own feelings. Fathers can talk to other fathers, friends, or a mental health professional to process their emotions related to the birth experience.
Finally, fathers should understand their own capability and know when to ask for help. Whether it’s help during the labor or help with postpartum care, fathers should recognize when they are stretched too thin and be comfortable asking for help from family and friends. Being an advocate for the birth team means understanding that fathers can’t do it all and asking for help when necessary. Recognizing and acting on these needs is a key part of advocating for the birth team.
5. Advocate for connection and presence.
Advocate for connection and presence:
As a father, it is important to advocate for connection and presence right after birth. This means being present and conscious of what your wife is going through. This includes attending Lamas classes, OB visits and having awkward conversations to be informed and educated. It also means being an active participant throughout the process and not being sidelined by what Hollywood and pharmaceutical companies may say. It is important to be an ally and advocate for your partner and be ready to defend the birth team from naysayers. This may mean you have to miss a few sports games or hangouts with your friends, but it will be worth it. It is important to have a strategy and discuss it before conception, so that when the moment comes you are both on the same page. You can discuss topics such as home birth, circumcision, vaccines and education for children. This will help you to implement what you both believe rather than figuring out what the other person believes.
Another important aspect of advocating for connection and presence is making sure that you are both well-rested. Many new parents forget to take care of themselves, but rest is essential for new parents. This can mean taking turns getting up in the middle of the night, or taking turns with feedings. This is important for both you and your partner's mental and physical health.
Finally, it is important to advocate for connection and presence by being your partner's emotional support. This means being there for them when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. It is important to be understanding and patient with each other. You can practice deep breathing and mindfulness together to help reduce stress. Additionally, make sure you take time to take walks together or just be present in each other's company. This will help you both stay connected and build a strong bond with each other as well as your baby.
6. Prioritize the birthing process over other things such as sports games or going out with friends.
Step 6 of the transcript is to prioritize the birthing process over other things such as sports games or going out with friends. This is an important step for expectant fathers to take in order to be an active participant in the birthing process. Fathers should take the time to be informed about birthing and breastfeeding and have the difficult conversations with their partners about their preferences and decisions. They should talk about topics such as home births, circumcision, vaccines, and parenting strategies. Fathers should be present for their partners during the birthing process and be an advocate for them, as well as for their newborn. This can be done by being informed and having conversations before the birth. Fathers should also be there to support their partners postpartum and take care of the responsibilities of being a father and a husband. By prioritizing the birthing process over other things, fathers can be an active and engaged participant in the birthing process and make sure that their partner feels supported and safe.
In addition to prioritizing the birthing process, there are certain steps that fathers can take to ensure that they are making their partner and newborn feel secure. Fathers should attend childbirth classes and learn about birthing and breastfeeding, as well as participate in any hospital tours that their health care provider may offer. Fathers can also talk to their partners about their preferences and decisions regarding the birthing process. Fathers should also be prepared for the physical and emotional changes that their partner may experience postpartum. Fathers should be aware of the signs of postpartum depression and how to best support their partners. Fathers should also be ready to care for their newborn and be an advocate for their partner and their newborn. By taking these steps, fathers can ensure that they are making their partner and newborn feel secure.
7. Have conversations with your partner pre-conception and pre-marriage to ensure that you are both philosophically aligned on things such as home birth, circumcision, vaccines, and education for children.
When it comes to preparing for the birth of a child, it is essential to engage in conversations with your partner pre-conception and pre-marriage to ensure that you are both philosophically aligned on topics such as home birth, circumcision, vaccines, and education for children. This is an important step to take in order for couples to be on the same page and avoid any potential conflicts or misunderstandings during the birthing process.
In order to have these conversations, it is beneficial to ask your partner what their thoughts and feelings are on these topics. Additionally, it is important to be open and honest about your own thoughts and feelings, while listening to and respecting your partner’s opinions. It is also important to be willing to compromise and to consider your partner’s perspective in order to reach an agreement. Additionally, if there is any uncertainty or confusion, it is helpful to do some research and learn more about the topics to gain a better understanding. This can provide the opportunity to have more meaningful and educated conversations.
It is also beneficial to discuss any potential religious and cultural beliefs and values that may influence birthing decisions. Having conversations that are focused and respectful can help couples to understand each other’s perspectives and come to a consensus.
In addition to having conversations with your partner, it is important to be aware of any medical advice or guidance that may be given by healthcare providers. This can help to ensure that any decisions that are made are based on accurate information and are in the best interest of the baby. It is also important to take the time to discuss any potential risks and benefits associated with certain birthing decisions. By having open and honest conversations with your partner, you can ensure that you both feel comfortable and confident in the decisions that you make when it comes to the birth of your child.
In conclusion, fathers have the power to create a strong bond between their children and themselves, as well as provide emotional, physical, and financial support. They can also provide an example of how a loving parent should look like, and can help to create a strong and stable family unit. Fathers can also be informed and active participants in the birthing process by becoming educated on the process, advocating for the birth team, and making sure to be present for those formative moments. By having these conversations pre-conception and pre-marriage and prioritizing the birthing process, fathers can be empowered to become more involved in the early stages of parenting. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and learn more. With the right knowledge and support, you can become an informed and empowered father that your child will be proud of!
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