How to Tell Him He’s Going to Be a Dad

Discovering you’re pregnant may come as a surprise and with varying emotions. Whether or not it’s something you have been trying for, it can be shocking! Now, allow yourself the time you need to adjust to your new reality. There is a brand new little human being in your life now and that’s pretty huge.

How to decide when it’s a good time to share the news with the baby’s father

There may never be a “perfect” time, but there may be a time that’s better than others; such as when he is relaxed, when he isn’t rushed, and when he has some time to be able to absorb the news. Don’t choose when his favorite team is playing, or after a particularly stressful day at work, and definitely not right in the middle of a family crisis.

If he has been eagerly anticipating becoming a father, perhaps you may want to do something to make the news extra special. You’re only going to break this news about this baby to Dad one time, so go ahead and have fun with it! Cakes, a special dinner, balloons, scavenger hunts, or a special card are all tried and true ways to let Dad in on the news! Gather the supplies or materials you may need, and be sure nothing comes up last minute that will distract Dad from this big news!

If you are not sure how enthusiastic or supportive the father will be, take some extra time to plan out how, when and where you will share the news. Would having some support for yourself help? It’s okay to have a close friend or family member with you when you share the news with the father. You may want to give Dad some time to mentally prepare for some big news. You can do this by letting him know there is something you want to talk to him about and then confirming when and where this discussion will happen. It may be “when you get home from work today” or “Can we meet tomorrow at the coffee shop on Main Street?” Decide what make you the most comfortable.

This is important news that requires open and honest communication

Using text or email is probably not the most appropriate way to share this news with him. Even if there are special circumstances, like he is out of the country for a long work trip or a deployment, you can use a face-to-face video chat such as FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts. That way, you can see each other which helps to cut down on miscommunication and misunderstanding. Let him see your enthusiasm and determination!

Sharing the News

When it is time to share the news, it’s okay to feel a little nervous. Maybe you feel both nervous and excited. That’s all right. This is a big deal! Take a deep breath and be honest and open. If you have planned something fun to make it a surprise, communicate your enthusiasm and excitement. Your excitement will be contagious.

If you are unsure how he may react, use direct statements that clearly communicate the reality you are facing: “I asked to talk to you because I have some important news to tell you. I am pregnant. We are going to have a baby…” and then tell him when your estimated due date is or the approximate month you believe you are due.

If it seems that the father has trouble understanding (sometimes dads get a little overwhelmed at this news!), you can follow up with, “Your son or daughter will be born in a little less than nine months.” Communicate to him that he is the father, not that he is going to be a father (because he already is), and you are going to need him to take responsibility for this baby and to support you now, not later.

Be understanding. He may need time to absorb this news, just like you did when you learned you were pregnant!

If you are concerned that the father’s reaction is going to be less than positive or that he will be unsupportive, be direct and firm. Tell him that he is the father of the baby and then lay out what you hope for from him: “I wanted to talk to you because I am pregnant, and you are this baby’s father. I want you to be involved and supportive.”

Again, give him some time to absorb the news. If he isn’t prepared to provide any kind of support, you may want to tell him (as calmly as possible), “I want you to know that I am prepared to care for our baby and I have friends and family who will help us.” At this point, he may need to absorb the news and then regroup in a day or so.

When you continue your discussion, don’t feel like you have to have everything planned for the future. It’s okay to continue the discussion and planning over the coming months. Biological dads, at the very least, have a responsibility to pay child support. If you need help applying for child support and other programs, there are social service agencies that will help you. If he is unsupportive and you may want to explore adoption options.

If there may be a threat of or history of violent or abusive behavior from the baby’s father, do not share the news with him alone. Have a counselor, social worker, or advocate with you. He or she can help you set appropriate boundaries with the father to keep both you and your baby safe.

Again, be understanding. It can seem both daunting and unreal to many dads. He will need you to communicate what your needs are, and what you need and expect from him. Men aren’t mind readers. And when it comes to pregnancy, they tend to be less intuitive about how to support you—but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to!

If the father is not supportive or refuses to be a part of your and your baby’s life, surround yourself with people who WILL support you: friends, family, co-workers, advocates, and caregivers, including organizations in the community. Embrace Grace is a wonderful organization that surrounds expectant moms with love and all kinds of support.

Encourage the father of your child to reach out for his own support, too. Fatherhood doesn’t happen in a vacuum. He will need men whom he trusts to be his support and to encourage him in his fatherhood. Soon, he might be passing out chocolate cigars when the baby is born! Embrace Grace has programs for dads too.

Don’t put pressure on yourself or him to figure everything out at once. First things first. Remember that women are capable and have been having children for thousands of years.

Lastly, never forget that you are amazing. Your body is giving life to another human being. This is an incredible time, and you deserve to feel confident in your ability to care for yourself and your baby. You can do this—and you are not alone!

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