Expecting Anxiety

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m 34 and my wife is just a few weeks away from giving birth to our first baby. I’m excited about becoming a dad, but my anxiety levels over the past week have been through the roof and sometimes I feel like I’m having a heart attack. On top of my shortness of breath and dizziness, I’m also breaking out in hives. I’ve seen my doctor about this, but he has yet to solve my problem. My wife has been very supportive, but I hate feeling so helpless when she’s the one who has to give birth. What can I do to be normal again?

A: Good news: as unpleasant and frightening as your symptoms are, what you’re going through is actually perfectly normal. There’s no question that your wife’s physical experience of pregnancy is a lot more intense than yours. But psychologically, the two of you are going through pretty much the same thing. I sometimes think that the above-the-neck part of the pregnancy might even be more profound for men than it is for women. Women have far stronger social networks than men do and they’ve got mothers, sisters, aunts, and female friends to talk with about their fears, worries, and concerns. Men tend not to want to admit to anyone else (sometimes even ourselves, and especially not our spouse) that we’re scared half to death of the way our life is going to be turned upside down and inside out.

Those fears—and the accompanying anxiety—make perfect sense. If you’re like most first-time expectant dads, you have no idea how your life is going to change. Sure, everyone you know has probably told you that “life’s never going to be the same.” True, but have you ever wondered what that means? One of my favorite quotes came from a woman who was asked to describe the way everyone told her that parenthood was going to be like and the way it actually turned out to be. “It’s like the difference between watching a tornado on TV,” she said, “and having one tear the roof off your house.” She’s right, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare 100% for your little tornado.
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Lessons Learned After Adopting a Child from Ethiopia

Claude Knobler, author of More Love (Less Panic).
Topic:
Lessons learned about life and parenting after adopting a child from Ethiopia.
Issues: The difference between influence and control; why worrying doesn’t help; how less than perfect may be perfect enough; learning perspective from a piñata and mushy food.

Love is Not Enough + More Love (Less Panic)

Jenny Lexhed, author of Love is Not Enough.
Topic:
A mother’s memoir of autism, madness, and hope.
Issues: Coping with a child’s autism diagnosis; trying to find the best treatment among competing theories and approaches; the importance of taking breaks, getting enough sleep, and self-care.

Claude Knobler, author of More Love (Less Panic).
Topic:
Lessons learned about life and parenting after adopting a child from Ethiopia.
Issues: The difference between influence and control; why worrying doesn’t help; how less than perfect may be perfect enough; learning perspective from a piñata and mushy food.

Loving the Teen You’ve Got + Job Hunting for Teens + When to Worry + Eating Disorders

[amazon asin=B0064XB8CG&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Tom Sturges, author of Grow the Tree You Got.
Topic: 100 ideas for raising amazing adolescents and teenagers.
Issues: Learning to let go; the importance of making mistakes; punishing with kindness; what rivers can teach us about adolescents; seven ways to keep the peace.


[amazon asin=145057842X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Abby Kohut, author of Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets.
Topic: Success tips for teen job seekers and their parents.
Issues: Why you’re on a Never Ending Interview whether you know it or not; How to be resilient in the face of rejection; The importance of LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook to your job search; How and why you should interview your next boss; How to use retro technology as part of your new strategy.


[amazon asin=0814473636&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Lisa Boesky, author of When to Worry.
Topic: How to tell if your teen needs help and what to do about it.
Issues: How to spot the warning signs of serious problems like depression, cutting, bipolar disorder, and drug abuse; specific dos and don’ts for decreasing teen struggles and suffering in the family; how and where to get professional help.


[amazon asin=B003P9XDOS&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 4: Marcia Herrin, author of The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders.
Topic: Supporting self-esteem, healthy eating, and positive body image.
Issues: THow to broach the subject with your child; why blame doesn’t work; how to tell bad eating habits from dangerous behavior; the Maudsley Method: what it is and how parents can use it to treat their children.