'I am going to be a dad': experiences and expectations of adolescent and young adult expectant fathers

Publisher:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal Of Clinical Nursing, 2012, 21 (1-2), pp. 180 - 188
Issue Date:
2012-01
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Aim. To explore the experiences of prospective adolescent fathers regarding their impending fatherhood. Background. Several studies indicate adolescent fatherhood is associated with multiple risk factors. Despite this, it is well documented that these young males have a potentially vital role in the lives of their child/ren and partners. Adolescent pregnancy has often been viewed with a particular emphasis on the mother and relatively little is known about the experiences and expectations of young males facing imminent fatherhood. Design. Narrative methods were used to collect qualitative data. Method. Narratives were elicited through in-depth interviews with seven adolescent expectant fathers aged 16-22 years. Results. Impending fatherhood presented these young men with mixed emotions and many challenges. The pregnancies were all unplanned and though participants were all willing to face the responsibilities associated with fatherhood, they also reported feeling ill-prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. Impending fatherhood had caused the young men to reflect on the quality of fathering they had received themselves. The young men were hoping to provide their own infant with a better quality of fathering than they had experienced. Conclusions. Nurses and midwives are ideally placed to provide support to young men facing impending fatherhood to better prepare them to meet the demands of their forthcoming role. Relevance to clinical practice. Prenatal classes should include specific sessions for prospective fathers and provide opportunities to assist young men to discuss their thoughts and concerns about impending fatherhood. It could also be useful to encourage young expectant fathers to engage in discussions with their own fathers and grandfathers. For those young men who do not have effective relationships with their own fathers, it could be useful to organise mentoring with experienced mature men who have successfully engaged in the fatherhood role.
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