Tomorrow, Sunday, June 17 is officially declared “Father’s Day” in the US, Canada and the UK. For 1st time fathers, this can be a very emotional time as the reality that “two have become three” hits “home” with all its share of joys and emotional upheavals for the couple.
We have no corresponding official day in Israel but Father’s Day could actually be declared from the time that the couple finds out that “they are pregnant.” For many couples this is the most special time. However, in the book “Becoming Parents: How to Strengthen Your Marriage as Your Family Grows¹, by Pamela L. Jordan, Scott M. Stanley and Howard J. Markman, the authors cite research indicating that at least half of new parent couples become less satisfied as they become parents.
For David and Sarah (names changed) the tensions mounted after the initial “joy” of hearing the news that Sarah was giving birth for the first time. David felt shut out and not very “fatherly” nor could he relate to the physical and hormonal changes occurring in Sarah. Sarah also felt the lack of support and became increasingly resentful.
Research shows that relationships in which couples share their feelings honestly and know how to listen and respond to each other are stronger and will not fall into the “danger signs” traps of David and Sarah. Marriage education workshops for 1st time and expectant parents (with several children) are emerging such as a recent IPREP (Prevention and Relationship Education Program) workshop held in one of the small settlements, as couples learned new communication skills for handling conflicts.
The main idea is that it is essential for the “couple” to work together as a team especially from the beginning of pregnancy through birth and the early months.
This blogger (Susan Barth) compiled as a FREE public service (on behalf of The Givat Sharett Chesed Committee Simcha Gemach in memory of Feigel Bat Tuvia Nisan- Beit Shemesh) for first time parents (in particular, but for any parents expecting a baby!) – The Baby Guide available in pdf format by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org – The Guide provides a wealth of information and tips for the “couple” on what to expect when you are expecting from the beginning of pregnancy through birth and the first year.
1st time Father’s Day –Israeli style should be everyday as the couple learns the skills to make the transition to parenthood a time of harmony and mutual love and respect for each other. And for couples increasing their family size, everyday is a new opportunity to enjoy parenthood and take time for your relationship together.
¹ Becoming Parents: How to Strengthen Your Marriage as Your Family Grows¹, by Pamela L. Jordan, Scott M. Stanley and Howard J. Markman,, 1999 Jossey-Bass Inc.