Two lines appear on the pregnancy test, your partner missed their period, a doctor’s check-up confirms a pregnancy. Each of these scenarios might evoke a range of emotions— from surprise and excitement to fear and uncertainty. There is no “right” way to feel when you learn about impending fatherhood.
Even moms-to-be experience learning about their pregnancy in different ways. Whether you’ve been trying to get pregnant or the pregnancy is a surprise, receiving confirmation that there’s a baby on the way can be overwhelming.
Even when a couple has been planning and trying for a baby, many dads-to-be are unsure or ignorant of the best ways to be a supportive partner from day 1 and how to embrace fatherhood before the baby arrives. After initially struggling to wrap his head around his impending fatherhood and being ignorant about how best to support his wife, Adrian Kulp embraced his journey to becoming a dad.
In We’re pregnant! The first-time dad’s pregnancy handbook, Kulp offers an essential guide for new dads, providing a starting point for participation in the experience of pregnancy with empathy and confidence.
About the author
Now a father of 4, Kulp has authored 6 books and is a regular contributor to a number of parenting platforms.
Besides Amazon bestseller We’re pregnant! The first-time dad’s pregnancy handbook, he has written other titles for dads, such as:
- We’re parents! The new dad book for baby’s first year: Everything you need to know to survive and thrive together (First-time dads)
- We’re Parenting a Toddler! The First-Time Parents’ Guide to Surviving the Toddler Years (First-Time Dads)
- If you’re already a dad or serious about honing your dad joke skills, you may also enjoy World’s Greatest Dad Jokes: Clean & Corny Knee-Slappers for the Family.
As founder of lifestyle and parenting blog Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-home Dad (which has also been published as a memoir), he offers a glimpse of fatherhood that is both humorous and insightful.
Navigating the book
This We’re pregnant! The first-time dad’s pregnancy handbook can be read in one go although it’s so full of helpful information that this may be a little overwhelming.
The book divides the pregnancy into trimesters, with each chapter covering a month of pregnancy—from the 1st week in chapter 1 right through to week 54, the end of the 1st 3 post-partum months. Each week begins with a glance at milestones specific to it and, based on Kulp’s personal experiences, includes information on fetal development, what mom may be experiencing, and what you should aim to accomplish in that week.
The book talks about weekly goals for the new dad and emphasizes the importance of being proactive and stepping up to the role of partner and father. A neat checklist concludes each trimester so that you can easily stay on track.
With an understanding of how difficult it can be to know where to begin, the book uses 13 categories of goals and support that are conveniently marked with different icons. These categories are:
- Dad RD (Registered Dietician): This is all about assisting with prenatal nutrition and healthy eating.
- Daddy Doula: Sets goals around pre- and post-natal care for both mom and baby.
- Home CEO goals: Focuses on chores and being proactive around the house.
- Conversation starters: Aims to help you start discussions around things that could potentially cause problems in the future.
- Budget-savvy goals: Helps you establish the budget that suits you best.
- Stress reducer tips: Works great for helping your partner (and you) deal with anxiety and stress.
- Bonding time: Focuses on maintaining intimacy in your relationship.
- Fun projects: Deals with goals to help you plan to share your pregnancy with others.
- Pregnancy Empathy 101: Helps you build empathy for your partner. Even though you can’t experience pregnancy, you can develop empathy for the journey.
- Postpartum Empathy 101: Outlines goals that ensure you understand what moms need during this challenging period of post-pregnancy adjustment.
- Plan ahead goals: Aims to help you prepare and make sure you are one step ahead.
- Daddy Daycare: Focuses on baby duty goals once the baby arrives.
- Brownie Points: The thoughtful things you can do to show that you’re thinking about your partner’s well-being.
Main lessons from the book
Part 1: The 1st trimester
It answers many of the questions that arise right after that 1st missed period or positive pregnancy test. You are warned ahead of time that you will soon become used to a whole new (and perhaps initially awkward) pregnancy vocabulary.
Kulp emphasizes that thinking about your lifestyle and changes you may need to make are the most important considerations in the 1st trimester.
An important takeaway from this section is that although you might not want to share news of the pregnancy until the 1st trimester passes, you should make sure to tell the people in your support system to have them prepared in the event of a miscarriage.
Part 2: The 2nd trimester
While this trimester may be the “easiest” for mom, with morning sickness subsiding and late-pregnancy discomfort still some way off, there are many opportunities for dads to get involved in preparation for later on and keep mom relaxed and comfortable.
This section of the book covers topics such as prenatal diagnostic testing and the choice of learning your baby’s gender. It’s at this stage of the pregnancy that you can start thinking about what the baby will need and preparing a baby registry gift list.
The takeaway from this section is that the 2nd trimester is a time for preparation and excitement. The baby is growing and developing rapidly, and even though it’s early, you should think about packing a hospital bag. If you and your partner are considering a doula, now is the time to retain the services of one.
Part 3: The 3rd trimester
Kulp addresses important topics in the pregnancy homestretch, such as antenatal or childbirth classes and choosing a pediatrician. This section of the book is full of practical tips on preparing for the birth (such as writing a birth plan together) and the period immediately after.
It also touches on subjects such as cesarean section, the impatience you might feel as you enter the final weeks, and ways to make mom more comfortable as her body prepares for labor and birth. This last chapter in this part of the book also reminds dads that babies sometimes take a week or so longer than expected to arrive and ways in which to manage emotions and plan for a possible induction if this happens.
Part 4: The “4th trimester”
While the word “trimester” indicates 3 stages of pregnancy, this handbook doesn’t forget the final stage of the journey—the postpartum period. The 4th trimester starts when the baby is born and continues for the 1st 3 months after birth, while mom is recovering and everyone is adapting to the new family member.
This part of the book encompasses goals that will help the family unit bond. Childcare, household chores and home-making, and ensuring that mom is able to rest and recover are all important aspects of this 4th part of pregnancy.
Postpartum mood disorders can affect both parents, and the author makes sure that this potential problem is destigmatized and clearly addressed. Routines, baby feeding, and mom’s return to work are all covered. By the time you’ve finished reading these last few chapters, you will feel confident that you’re getting the hang of being a dad and are an expert at being a supportive partner.
The last few pages are dedicated to a short glossary of the important terms in the book and a comprehensive list of resources for all things “dad” and “dad-to-be.”
As the book concludes, Kulp writes:
I’m a firm believer that men can feel like fathers long before they ever lay eyes on their babies.
His book enables this process to occur, empowering and informing dads-to-be so that they can be invested and involved in their partner’s pregnancy right from the beginning.
What makes this one of the best books for expecting dads?
We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook is written in an entertaining way that most dads-to-be will find relatable. Descriptions and comparisons are not complex or scientific but clear, easy to understand, and always presented with a touch of humor. The book provides great advice for dads (men) by a dad in a way that is not prescriptive but considers pregnancy in a holistic way from the standpoint of an expecting father.
Who should buy this book?
If you are a dad-to-be or thinking about trying for a baby, this book will be a great addition to your reading list. If you have any fears or concerns or want to be an involved dad right from the start, this book is for you. If you’re not buying it for yourself, consider buying it for a friend who is on the journey to fatherhood. He’ll thank you for it—and so will his pregnant partner!
We're pregnant! The first-time dad's pregnancy handbook
- Pregnant women go through numerous challenges at different stages of pregnancy.
- Men should always play an active role during this journey.
- Participating in the experience requires empathy and confidence.