Growing a new human is a delicate, challenging time, full of upheavals. It’s fair to say that you are doing most of the work during a pregnancy, along with the laboring part of the actual labor and it’s important to celebrate the awesome job you’re doing growing a human being.
His lack of a squatter over his bladder doesn’t mean your partner is not involved in the whole process though. The role of support crew is a quiet one that may not involve total strangers trying to rub his belly in the grocery store, but is still vital. This post celebrates the other half of the equation. The heavy bags full of baby stuff carrier. The pregnancy craving go-getter. The guy dealing with your morning sick hormones. The person whose life is changing as he becomes dad, and who might be a tiny bit forgotten in the rush to affirm the new mom.
So how can you help him?
1. Encourage and reassure him.
While your worries may center on both physical and practical things, his worries are more practical. He may be arranging your finances, medical insurance, house or jobs in his head, trying to make sure he can take care of you and the upcoming offspring. Even the interior of the car becomes a source of stress for him-how is he going to fit the car seat in there? These thoughts may hit him hardest before the first baby, but the next few can cause him some sleepless nights of re-arranging too. Encourage your partner with all of the ways he is doing a great job preparing to grow your family. Reassure him that he’s making the right choices.
2. Show affection. Hold hands and give hugs.
You are focused on the tiny person taking shape underneath your heart, and that’s a good thing. At the same time, you may as well start learning how to juggle giving consideration to the baby and to the father since you’ll be doing that balancing act for years. Your partner could want some affection from you too, something as simple as a hug when you’re home from work. Let yourself be guided by what you know about him as you decide how much or how little attention he wants, but do try to remember that he would like some.
3. Help him make changes to his lifestyle.
You aren’t allowed to have fun stuff like caffeine or sushi so you may as well make it a family affair. It’s healthier for him to skip the fatty, greasy foods that give you five-alarm heartburn anyway. He’s the dad now. He has to stay healthy so he can raise his blood pressure over your little bundle’s teenaged shenanigans later.
4. Don’t expect him to be the same.
Remember those moments when you start to wonder anxiously what kind of mother you’ll be? The ones when you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing? I’m willing to bet your partner has them too. Becoming a father is a huge, life-changing thing. It’s natural for him to act a little differently as the weight of this responsibility becomes more and more real.
5. Understand the difference between your pregnancy experiences.
A lot of men find the process bewildering. They can’t feel your organs getting shoved out of the way and no hormones are holding them hostage. Add to that the fact that a lot of men deal with bewilderment by backing away until they understand what’s going on, and the situation can be misunderstood so easily. It may feel (especially through a nauseated, sleep-deprived haze) like he’s deserting you just when you need him the most, when really he just doesn’t know what he should be doing.
6. Get him a Super Sperm present.
You get a Push Present, so it seems fair that he should get some little token too. Your job birthing that baby is going to be a hard one and is worth a gift, but it could be nice to remember your partner’s contribution with some tangible object too. It could start a new trend, and seeing #supersperm trending on Twitter would be a lot of fun.
7. Let him know how much his support means to you.
Don’t forget to let him know you appreciate the way he lets you steal every pillow to create your nest at night, the time he takes off work to make it to your appointments, the rubbing of your poor swollen feet. The pregnancy is hardest on you, no question, but your other half is dealing with some stress too. It’s not just you against the world as you prepare to have this baby; it’s both of you working as a team. Letting him know how happy you are that he’s standing there with you might be the one thing he really needs to hear.