Pregnancy seems like such a “mom thing”… gosh, I wonder why. But that doesn’t mean dad can’t get involved too. Even though mama may be the only one who’s dealing with nausea, feeling the first flutters, and getting tummy rubs from strangers, there are lots of ways the father can join in on the fun.
Note: For simplicity, I say “wife,” “husband,” “father,” etc., but this works for boyfriends, partners, close friends, and so forth.
- Announce the pregnancy together. Whether you’re sending out cute photos, calling people on speakerphone or Skype, or buying a round of drinks for your friends, make it a couples event. Be excited. It’s even okay to squeal a little. And perfectly kosher to accept incoming “Your guys can swim!” high fives.
- Take a childbirth class together. Your job is so much more than “cheerleader” and it’s certainly nothing like “coaching”–have you ever given birth? Didn’t think so. You didn’t get the “coach” job. Can you imagine a football coach who has never played the game — and probably never even attended one?. Bradley Childbirth classes are especially geared toward couples. They’ll teach you how to support your wife and be her birth partner.
@Hippiejennie says, “My DH loved preparing for the chance that he’d deliver the baby w/o a midwife. LOL He read the emergency handbook!”
- Attend prenatal appointmentswhenever possible. My husband did this during my pregnancy with Anneliese, and it was so nice to get to hold his hand while we heard her heartbeat, see the ultrasounds, and even just hear my Q&A with the doctors and midwife (and always have a chance to ask questions himself, though he rarely did). And if he takes off a couple hours from work to do that, you can go out to lunch afterward and talk about things. Baby things or just things things. It makes a nice date!
@Olivesprouts says, “My awesome MW would often have him palpate & guess at the position, find HB, etc. I loved it when he talked to the baby, too!”
- Take care of your wife. If she’s throwing up, hold her hair. Or get a towel for her knees…bathroom floors are hard (oh, and keep the toilet clean!). If she has intense cravings, midnight runs to the grocery store (or 24 hour Wal*Mart) will get you a gold star. If she’s on bedrest, buy her fun magazines and good books. Music gift cards, new comfy pajamas, movie rentals, or a body pillow will also go a long way toward making her more comfortable and less bored. Picking up around the house and making sure the laundry is still going will also keep her less stressed (which means no awful cortisol stress-baths for your baby) and blood pressure will be under control.
@BigAuntieMeg says, “It’s got to be all the cleaning and nursing he had to do because of my HG… Poor thing will get it double next time!”
- Sign up for weekly update emails, or download an app. Who says mom’s the only one who gets to read these? Sign up for BabyCenter updates or emails from TheBump, or download any of the pregnancy smartphone apps. How cool will it be to sit down at dinner and be able to tell your lovely lady, “Did you know that our baby has EYELASHES now??” or, “The Peanut is as long as a pineapple now, so I made grilled pork and pineapple slices!” Just take everything with a grain of salt (every woman and every pregnancy is unique), and don’t use “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” as a guide or a bible.
@explodingkaite says, “Jeff loved the weekly fruit comparisons and thought it was fun to tell everyone what fruit I was smuggling that week. Lol.”
- Listen. There’s a lot to be said for “mama gut.” And your wife is magically very wise about what she needs in pregnancy and birth. Listen. Respect her feelings and support her in her preferences and decisions. ‘Listen’ might not seem like a super fun tip, but it will do a lot for your relationship!
@HappyBeeMommy says, “He got more involved by always being supportive of my choices, listening to my research, stating his opinion…but ultimately leaving it up to me…I knew he felt really involved that way, and I liked that he respected me and my birth.”
- Work on a project together. Take weekly photos of your wife’s growing belly, make a pregnancy video, create a work of art for the baby’s room, or anything that fits your skills and interests. Joining together on a project will be a really fun way to connect and share your excitement over the baby.
@DianaParDue says, “Having him take my weekly progress photos…. So special”
- Decorate the baby’s room or a special place in your room. Work with your wife to come up with a theme or color scheme, do some painting, maybe build a special piece of furniture, and prepare for your smallest family member to join you.
- Plan a pre-babymoon. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy; taking a short drive to a scenic spot, having a romantic picnic, and getting pedicures together (yes, men can get pedicures too) will be just as wonderful as staying in a bed and breakfast, enjoying some gourmet meals, and having couples massages. Pre-babymoons are for focusing on and connecting with each other. (I say pre-babymoon, not babymoon, because babymoon also means the time AFTER baby is born, when the family spends time together with the newest addition, all falling in love with each other all over again.)
- Get Healthy. Your wife is probably (hopefully) laying off the Dr.Peppers, quitting smoking, trying to eat more healthily, ditching the booze, and so forth. Join her. What better reason to break a bad habit or kill a vice than for your new mini-me coming soon? Set yourself up to be a great role model, and in the process, support your wife in her journey to better health too.
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