The end stage of pregnancy is strange for everyone involved. Momma Bear is uncomfortable (at best). And Poppa Bear is waiting on pins and needles for the new Baby Bear to arrive.
For Dads, it can feel like there is literally nothing to do at this point, as you wait for active labor or a scheduled Cesarean. [All of our kids were delivered via active labor, so that’s the perspective I can share.]
Charge Everything Every Day
Phones. Cameras. Laptops. Portables Speakers. Make sure that every device you will need on-site for delivery is at 100% charge. Also, put all of the cords in a bag you will take to the hospital/delivery center. Highly recommend a “dad bag” for such things.
Clear Device Memory
Memory cards, device memory – clear it all. Who wants to see “iPhone Memory Full” when you are taking pictures of your new bundle of joy? We have an external hard drive for all kid-related photos and videos. Makes it so easy to clear devices.
Just Choose Sleep
You’re holding on to the last vestiges of no children (or just one less than you currently do). I get it. But this is no time for binge-watching House of Cards, bud. Trust me, you will have plenty of time in the coming weeks, as babies LOVE letting you stay up all night. Keep your latest obsession for then. Plus, let’s just say Momma Bear is in active labor for a long time. You’ll wish you slept tonight instead of staying up to watch literally anything.
Bathe, Ya Filthy Animal
Once it’s go-time for delivery, you switch into Dad Mode. You’ll be at the hospital/birthing center where you are NOT the patient. They do not support you there, nor should they. Plus, after the baby comes, you won’t want to leave. So stay clean…it may be a while before you can freshen up you musk. [Note: toss some deodorant into the Daddy Bag. Please.]
Groom, Ya Filthy Animal
Chances are pretty damn high that over the next few weeks, you’ll be taking pictures you will cherish for a lifetime. Every day when you wake up past, say, 36 weeks into the pregnancy, you could end up meeting your baby for the first time. It’s an event you’d want to remember. So if you were thinking about getting a haircut, do it. If you were thinking experimenting with a new facial hair style, this may not be the time.
Stock the House
Hunting and gathering is part of our instinct. We want to provide for our families. And a new baby kicks those hard-wired instincts into high gear. However, this is the 21st century. As a modern dad, you want to bond with your baby over those precious few hours and days. The last thing you want to do is stand in line at the grocery store. Also, when the influx of friends and family come to see the baby – let them help you so you can stay home.
Support Without Overwhelming
Like I said above, this is a strange period of time in a woman’s pregnancy. Something little can mean EVERYTHING. And something that feels big can mean NOTHING. And since each pregnancy is different, even on Baby #3, like us right now, there are new experiences to be had. Your job is to support. Be calm. Ask questions. But don’t be annoying about it. Momma Bear likely has as many questions as you do. You aren’t a doctor (…unless you are, then, apologies, doc), you’re a dad-to-be. Enjoy the ride.