It is a well-known fact that pregnancy is a special time when women undergo a number of physical and emotional changes, but it is no less revolutionary for the father. Since childbearing is a process for both the parents, the help and support of a father is essential and, though it may not seem like that at the time, it is highly appreciated. But many men feel awkward or even scared of the event and the responsibility it brings with it. So, soon to be dads should find out how to help the mom get through her pregnancy and how to get ready to welcome a new member to the family.
Fatherhood carries a number of responsibilities with it and they start even before your child has been born. The period of pregnancy is critical for a mom – especially a first time mom – and the care and support of the father can go a long way into making it the special time it really is. You should not wait till the baby is born to take up the tasks of fatherhood. The situation can be quite confusing when you confront it for the first time.
How to help your pregnant wife?
After you have gotten over your first reaction to the news that your wife is pregnant, it is time to start preparing for fatherhood. Pregnancy is often a difficult time for women and you need to extend all the care and support that you possibly can. Every father knows the big responsibilities. Here is a quick recap:
- Go with her to every doctor's appointment
- Attend birth classes with her
- Read up on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.
- Help her to make an informed decision about the fashion of delivery.
- Put your finances in order to welcome the new baby.
- Be available for emergencies.
But in addition to these, there are a hundred things that you need to prepare for when your wife is pregnant. Her body and emotions are undergoing a vast change. So, how can you be helpful and supportive of your pregnant wife?
- Pregnancy makes your wife supersensitive. So, be sure to react in an appropriate way when you get the news. Whether the pregnancy is planned or unplanned, be sure to express joy and promise to be at her side throughout the event. Do not play the blame game asking why her birth control did not work etc? This can lead to serious repercussions.
- Know her medical condition. This includes three aspects:
- Read up pregnancy books to understand what she is going through and what may have to be done in emergency.
- Accompany her to all doctor's appointments to get regular feedbacks.
- Check the reports and consult your doctor in case your wife needs some special care like if she has developed pregnancy diabetes.
- Share more household responsibilities. It is normal for pregnant women to feel more stress and fatigue. Take on more of the household responsibilities to give her the much needed chance to relax.
- Lack of sleep is a major complain of most pregnant women. The aches and pains caused by pregnancy is a major reason while the baby is also more active at night, disturbing the sleep of the mother. Do not go to sleep blithely when your wife is staying up. There are a number of things that can do to help her get some sleep. Cuddle your wife and hold her in a comfortable position so that she can rest. You can also give her a backrub, but know how safe these are, especially towards the end of the term.
- Frequent urination is a symptom of pregnancy and you have to bear with this without grumbling. Also, keep your room clutter free so that you wife can safely go to the bathroom at night without tripping over anything.
- Deal with her insecurities. You too may have these, but the fact is, your wife is likely to be feeling ten times more insecure than you. It starts with her body. She may worry that she is fat and unattractive or that she will never regain her figure. Mothers also worry about the mechanics of giving birth, the health and wellbeing of the fetus and whether they will be good mothers. Even if some of these fears are very real for you, you have to be strong and patient to help and reassure her.
- Morning sickness is experienced by more than 70% pregnant women. Your love, care and support is essential. Find out what foods she can bear to eat and have them at hand, like crackers and saltines. Ginger ales or peppermint teas can be helpful. Above all, you need to be understanding.
- Keep clean. Pregnant women are very sensitive to smell and this is not the time to omit to brush or bathe a day or keep piles of dirty laundry.
- Mood swings are another common feature of pregnancy. It occurs due to hormonal changes as well as for the emotional and physical pressure. Since you are the most convenient person, it is natural that your wife will vent on you. You may even hear things that it's all your fault or that you do not understand because you are not carrying the baby. Do not take these things to heart or snap back at her. The fact is, you really do not know how it feels like to be pregnant. So, put your own irritations aside and allow her to vent.
- Talk to your baby even before she is born. Mothers already share a special bond. Such talking can help to build up your bond with your child.
- Always be available to your wife. Provide her with your contact number and be sure to always have your phone with you so that she can contact you easily in case of emergencies.
Preparing to welcome a new member
Impending parenthood implies a number of practical considerations as well. Here are some things that you need to prepare in order to welcome your new baby:
- Help your partner to set up the nursery. Paint the room and buy the furniture along with her.
- Stock up on soaps, detergents, and batteries. You are going to need them when the baby comes.
- Accept that both of you are new at this and both will make mistakes. Do not blame yourself or your partner for any hitch in caring for the child.
- Get rest during pregnancy because once the baby comes, you will have to forget getting a full night's sleep.
- Do not go overboard with the preparations. Contrary to advertisements, your baby do not need roomful of stuff. So, do not buy up the toyshop in advance.
- You need to set boundaries for both sets of in-laws. Otherwise, you are going to be overwhelmed.
Some don'ts for expectant fathers
Now that you know what you have to do as an expectant father, here is a quick list of things that you do not do:
- You do not lighten the worries of your wife about her figure with jokes or treating it lightly. It is a very serious matter to her and you need to treat it with sufficient gravity.
- You do not eat whatever you like, whenever you like it. The smell or the sight can really bother your wife. It is sad but true that you too will have to change your dietary plans somewhat and chances are high that you too will gain weight.
- You probably do not get to have sex, and this may be one of the toughest parts of pregnancy. Your wife is probably feeling too sick or tired for sex, but do not forget to cuddle and offer TLC. That is the need of the day.
- Do not quibble about chores and responsibilities. Accept that you will have to do more work. Your wife is carrying the baby; since you cannot share that task, you will have to share in others.
- Do not complain. It is a wonderful time. Enjoy it!!!