It happened. Finally! Or maybe it was more of a whoops “How did that happen?” Either way, you and your partner are expecting a baby. Congratulations! You are about to undergo an emotional roller coaster that will result in the best and most infuriating change of your life. You are going to be a dad.
It doesn’t matter whether your child will be a boy or a girl: life as you know it is going to change. Instead of reveling in the attention given to you by your partner, her attention is going to be split in multiple directions. For a few months it may even feel as though you have blended into the furniture. But for now, you can enjoy your pregnancy together: here’s how.
1. Communicate: talk about everything. Talk about your expectations, her expectations, your feelings, her feelings. There is not such a thing as too much communication.
2. Listen: Always take the time to listen. Often your partner is going to want to vent her frustration or whirlwind emotions. She won’t necessarily want you to fix anything or fly to her rescue. Just listen. The more you listen, the more secure she will feel.
3. Ask questions: When in doubt, ask. Ask your partner what she needs, how you can help her.
4. Have big shoulders: This is your chance to show off your superhero abilities. When your partner is having an emotional meltdown, it’s not personal to you. Her body is swarming with increased levels of estrogen and progesterone. One minute she will be on top of the world; the next she will be feeling anxious and insecure. Reassure her. Let her know that you support her.
5. Go shopping: This may be one of those few times where shopping is not a dreary chore. You can put to good use your expertise and information sourcing on car seats, prams, high chairs, cribs, etc…
6. Do some research: Make some popcorn; get your partner her latest craving and snuggle in front of the internet. Look at the week-by-week pregnancy guides. Research birth plans, antenatal classes, baby products, and much more. Discuss what you would like to do. Turn it into a date.
7. Pamper her: Towards the end of the second trimester, your partner is not going to be able to paint her toenails. She will barely be able to see her feet let alone bend to reach her toes. This is your moment to shine. Make her comfortable on the bed or sofa. Give her a pedicure. Rub her feet – they will probably be swollen and sore. Rubbing her legs and feet will get the blood circulating providing a temporary relief from carrying herself and the baby all day. Paint her toenails for her. You’ll be surprised at how loved and human she will feel after a bit of pampering.
8. Exercise together: One of the best exercises for pregnant women is walking. Walk together in a park or around your neighbourhood. Other exercises you can do together include swimming, pregnancy Pilates or yoga, and pregnancy aerobics.
9. Cuddle: Your partner will be tired two thirds of the pregnancy. The first trimester will bring on fatigue or insomnia due to the exponential growth happening to your baby. The third trimester will also bring on fatigue or insomnia since your partner’s belly is swelling with each passing day that your baby grows. She will be feeling more and more uncomfortable as the due date approaches. In these moments, cuddle her or let her cuddle you. As she presses her body against yours you should be able to feel the baby move against your back. This is the closest you will get to experiencing the baby’s movements the way she does.
10. Video record and photography: Show your partner that you still find her attractive. Take photos of her throughout the pregnancy. Compliment her on her beauty. Video record the baby’s movements as a keep sake. Book a maternity photo shoot.
You are important
Throughout the pregnancy and while you adjust to life with a new born baby, know that you are important. You helped create this beautiful child. You are your partner’s anchor through this exciting, life-changing and emotional time. I am certain that you will find it worth it in the long run.