First-Time Father Anxiety

First-Time Father Anxiety

2 June 2022 • Words by Stefano Ceppi 3 mins

Congratulations! You made it, and now your DNA will travel ahead for one generation further. Such news is often seen from the outside as joyous, yet I know firsthand that the incoming upheaval is likely to be causing a certain degree of first-time father anxiety.

Without being overly dramatic, denying that your life will change is not the way to approach this, in my view, because pretty much every aspect of your life will indeed change. The good news is that regardless of how unprepared you may feel, I don’t think anyone is ever REALLY ready for an incoming child. And let me tell you that I genuinely did not know the meaning of unconditional love until I set my eyes on my firstborn child. And with that feeling of love, all my worries went away.

From a non-professional point of view, you, along with many other first-time fathers, may be feeling some anxiety about the following things:

Childbirth complications

We are so carefully spared the most graphic details of childbirth, and as we finally acquaint ourselves with such information, our heads may spin. But then observe the current population and how rapidly it is increasing. If childbirth were dangerous, I assume there would be fewer of us.

Jokes aside, nowadays the screening process is so advanced that doctors, nurses, and midwives can tackle many of the issues. However, should you be worried about possible complications during the pregnancy or delivery, I firmly believe that the best cure for fear is education. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff is a very successful book that I read when expecting for the first time. Make the time to go to the hospital with your other half and listen to what the professionals say about the pregnancy. And do attend those parenting classes. They help!

Financial struggles

Baby products cost money, and budgeting is a great way to stay on top of your finances. Discuss with your partner what is essential. If you think spending a lot of money on a particular product is worth it, but your partner disagrees, budgeting will help you both make more logical and less emotional decisions.

Social life

I will not lie, babies take up a lot of time and energy, and your sleep pattern is also likely to be disrupted. The good news is that your sleep will gradually return to normal within the first three or four years, starting from the first few months. As your parenting challenges evolve, you may find yourself with the energy to socialize way sooner than that; babysitters and extended family can help you and your partner carve out some time to reconnect. It is also worth noting that, if you don’t know anyone else with children, you will soon meet new people in a similar situation as yours, and there may be your next great friend!

Impostor syndrome

You may worry that you won’t be good enough, and if you do, that’s likely a sign that the contrary will be true! Today’s parents seem so focused on being good parents, but remember that when we were children, simply having quality time with our parents was always appreciated. Should you want to educate yourself on being the best parent you can be, many great books are out there. I recommend books by Steve Biddulph. And if you’re going to go a bit deeper, The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry is one I enjoyed very much.

If you’re feeling anxious, remember that’s totally allowed! Take a deep breath, buckle up, and enjoy the ride. Parenting is an experience like no other! And the anxiety from being a first-time father will pass.

Stefano Ceppi

Neurodivergent father of two, and here to share what I've learned thus far! Qualified 200h RYT, AIMS Global Level 1 Mentor.