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What Dads Expect When They're Expecting

What Dads Expect When Mom is Expecting

Myth No. 1: Pregnancy Is Just a Chick Thing continued...

Other worries, like how the household income will be affected by a new baby, are often more intense for men than women. Such was the case for Brott, who was adamant about reducing his work schedule when his first child, Tirzah, now 9, was born so that he could spend more time at home.

"My wife was working part-time already, and it became a real source of stress imagining how we were going to survive on two part-time incomes," Brott says. "But I didn't want to be the typical father who spends more time at work than at home. I just wasn't going to do that." When his employer balked at his request to continue his work as a labor relations negotiator three days a week, Brott quit and began a free-lance writing career.

What's even harder is that men often lack a support system (sometimes even keeping their wives in the dark) or role models in whom to confide about these concerns. Their isolation can be all the more strained when men are creating very different lives than the ones they grew up in or are part of as adults.

"It's embarrassing for guys to talk about how much they love their kids or the struggle they're having at work when they don't want to be there as much as they used to," Brott explains. "It's like asking for directions. It's saying 'I need help here,' or 'I have something I'm not able to handle 100% on my own.' "

Venus and Mars Can Share the Same Air

Mosio looks back on the months before his daughter, Lillian, now 5, was born as an intimate time that brought him and his wife closer. "We snuggled a lot and talked to the baby and caressed each other. It was a really close, romantic time for us. I enjoyed the changes her body went through, watching her belly grow and feeling the baby kick."

Not that he wasn't knocked off balance by the newness and tumult of it all -- Louden's sudden mood swings and fears they both shared about the structure a baby would bring to their previously carefree lives. The key was that they talked about everything, a lot.

"Jennifer would read books and explain things to me," Mosio says. "She'd say, 'This is what happens to my hormones, ad maybe this is why I'm acting a little crazy,' " he says. "Men are sort of know-it-alls, but once you let that go, it opens the door to understanding how the woman is feeling." That, he says, helped them stay connected.

Experts emphasize that women need to let their partners in on what's happening to them, particularly since men often feel frustrated and powerless to help their mate through any discomfort or pain of the pregnancy, labor or delivery. "If the woman's not very communicative, then she's never giving a lead, and he never hooks into anything," explains Issokson.

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