When your partner shows you that pink line, plus sign or other positive pregnancy test indicator, you’re likely to be overcome with emotion. As men, it can be difficult to understand what you’re feeling and to know what to do about it. Whether you were planning on getting your partner pregnant or not, that positive pregnancy test has plenty of implications for you both.

Here are some of the physical and emotional ways a positive pregnancy test is going to change your life, both in the short term and the long haul:

  • You’re going to be a father. Barring any birth control interventions, you’re going to be a father. For some men, that means a lot of excitement. For some, it means dread and fear. For almost every man, though, it means new responsibilities. Take this time to reflect on where you are in life; if you don’t feel like you’re ready to be a dad, decide what kinds of changes you need to make in order to be ready, because it’s coming.
  • Your partner is going to have pregnancy symptoms. She’s going to have lots of them. Two thirds or more of pregnant women experience morning sickness (which doesn’t always happen in the morning and can in some cases last all day). She’s likely to experience some mood swings. This is normal and caused both by the emotional impact of that positive pregnancy test as well as her changing hormones. She’s going to have aches, pains, a frequent need to pee and probably food cravings from time to time.
  • You might have sympathy symptoms. It’s not particularly uncommon for a man to experience some of the symptoms his partner experiences. A deep psychological connection with your partner creates an empathy that sometimes manifests itself physically. If you don’t, however, it doesn’t mean you’re not sympathetic or connected.
  • Your relationship needs to be healthier than ever. Pregnancy can be a rough time for some couples. You’re both under a lot of pressure to see the pregnancy through in as happy and healthy a way as possible. You’re both also facing the reality of becoming parents. The closer you are now with your partner, the better parents you’ll be when baby comes.
  • You’re about to learn a lot more about the female reproductive system than you ever wanted to know. This isn’t the 1950s. You’re not very likely to stand out in the waiting room and hand out cigars. Chances are you’re going to be involved right in the thick of things – and you should be. Take some time to get educated about the changes pregnancy brings, the labor and delivery process, and even about how to care for a newborn. It will help the whole process go smoother.
  • You’re going to worry. Most men worry quite a bit during pregnancy. You worry about your partner’s health, the baby’s health and even what kind of dad you’re going to be. If stress takes its toll, be sure to ask for help. Talk to your doctor about your anxiety, or consider visiting a therapist to help you cope with some of the worry and stress.

A positive pregnancy test is the beginning of a whole new adventure for you. The sooner you begin to see it as such, the better that adventure will be.