Fatherhood Starts Before It Begins — Really

Dear Mr. Dad: My first baby is due in a few months, but I’m going to miss the birth. I’ve been out of work for more than a year and just landed a great job. The problem is that I need to go to across the country for a six-week training that starts on my baby’s due date. The company is very family friendly, but this session is mandatory. We burned through our savings while I was unemployed, and I’m afraid that if I pass up this job, it could take months or longer to get another one. Of course, I’m sad to miss my baby’s birth, but I’m especially worried about my wife. She’s very supportive, but I know this is going to be hard on her. I’m feeling really guilty. Is there anything I can do?

A: In the grand scheme of things, six weeks away from your wife and family isn’t all that long. But that’s no way to start your fatherhood experience. No question, it’s going to be hard on everyone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to be involved despite the distance and time away.

For the baby, record yourself reading some bedtime stories. It doesn’t really matter what it is—the goal here is to help your child recognize your voice—but try to find something simple, with easy rhymes and rhythm. Skip the Shakespeare for now, and go with “The Cat in the Hat” or “Goodnight Moon” or a favorite book from when you were a child. Ask your wife to play the recordings for the rest of the pregnancy and then every day after the baby comes. When you finally meet your baby in person and start reciting the books you read, you won’t be as much of a stranger.

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Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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