There’s an old adage that says women become mothers the moment they find out they’re pregnant, and their non-pregnant partners (if they have one) become parents when they meet their baby for the first time.
But it’s 2018 and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Creating the world we want for our kids starts when they’re still in utero. That means giving your mate an active role in your pregnancy. It’s a win-win-win for you, them and, ultimately, baby. Here’s how to get the support you need, empower your partner and strengthen your bond.
Of course it’s impossible for your partner to know exactly what you’re going through, but if you want their support, you’ve got to clue them in. What’s often forgotten: While you’re the one going through the intense physical and psychological transformation, there may be a lot weighing on your partner, too. So, plan a “daily check-in.”
You’re probably already journaling, logging body changes, recording those weird pregnancy dreams or making baby-related checklists — why not share those things? Encourage your partner to open up about their feelings during the check-in, too. What worries and fears do you each have? What are you both most excited about?
Give it up.
From glasses of wine to those hard-earned abs, bladder control and comfortable sleep, a pregnant mama gives up A LOT. And it can feel a little lonely. What if your mate gave up something, too? Going in on something together — no wine, perhaps? — will create some necessary accountability. Plus, it’s great practice for the next 18 years of putting others’ needs first.
No matter how well you communicate, sometimes it’s just better to hear it from a third party. Birth stories like the one’s in this book aren’t just for pregnant women; they can demystify the childbirth experience for your partner (not to mention they’re fun to read aloud). "The Caveman’s Pregnancy Companion" is a humorous and surprisingly useful by-the-trimester guide specifically for dads, but a different book from this list might suit them better. Another awesome activity that readies the three of you for family life: Reading aloud to your unborn baby.
ALL the doctor appointments
One thing about pregnancy? There’s a never-ending list of often exciting but sometimes scary and anxiety-inducing doctor appointments to attend. For your partner, the magic might settle into monotony after the first few, but if they stick it out full-term (work and life permitting), they’ll have a much better understanding of the process and how they can support you through it.
I was nervous about EVERYTHING in my own pregnancy, but because my husband came to my doctor appointments with me, I trusted him when he reassured me that a cramp that felt like this or a headache like that was normal. He was even able to remind me what the doctor said to do when those things happened. More importantly we were able to share the milestones — like first hearing our baby’s heartbeat.
One of the best ways your partner can support you is by giving you a little extra TLC. Foot and back rubs are a great place to start (and can work wonders for aches and pains), but, if you’re up for it, sex is even better. Your time for intimacy will be limited after baby arrives, so capitalize on it while you can! You’ll feel more connected to each other, and it may even give you a boost of confidence you need to feel beautiful in your rapidly changing pregnant body.