Pregnancy is a roller coaster ride of emotions for the mother, but it is also a minefield of potential faux paus for the father. While you may be constantly present and involved the 9 months of pregnancy really are all about the mother and besides just being there for her, there isn’t a while lot the father can do. Despite having done it four times, pregnancy never got easier for me, in fact it probably got harder because I knew what was coming, so remember these tips even if it isn’t your first baby.
We have compiled a list to guide you through the next 9 months.
Be patient. You will come home one day to your wife ecstatic about the new cute baby grow she bought and the next day you will come home to her crying inconsolably because there is not chicken in the freezer and she wanted chicken for dinner. Be patient. Most of these emotions are out of her control. I was about 6 weeks pregnant with my third child and they had to do some work in our garden to fix a wall. In the process one of my 12 new seedlings were damaged, I lost the plot completely, I think my neighbour is still be counselled for my outburst. Don’t try to understand them, hug her and let her know it will be ok.
You don’t know what she is going through. You are never going to understand what it feels like to be pregnant, the morning sickness, the aching bones, the constant heartburn, and the manic emotions. All of that has to be experienced to be understood. Avoid trying to say things like “Oh I get heartburn after I eat donuts, try some Rennies” or “Morning sickness must be like that time I had food poisoning.” Pregnancy is like none of that, it is worse. Instead hold her hair back during morning sickness, pass her another bottle of gaviscon, whatever it takes to make her feel better but try not to say you know what she is going through.
Get Involved. Go with her to search for the perfect pram, get excited about putting the DIY cot together, find some names you like to suggest to her and attend the doctor’s appointments. They are small gestures but will mean a lot to her. While she is doing most of the work on her own by getting involved and being a part of the experience shows her she isn’t alone. My husband would listen to podcasts on his way to work about the various stages, what I was going through and how baby was developing. He would ask me “Has the heartburn started” or similar questions that were appropriate for how far a long I was.
Help out. Pregnant women are not sick and can still function normally but a little extra help will go a long way. Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on the body resulting in aches and pains, growing another human is exhausting so energy levels wane quickly. Offer to help out a little more to allow her a little more time to relax and focus on your baby.
Don’t take it personally. A little spoken about fact is that pregnancy can place huge amounts of pressure on a couple, even if the baby was planned and expected. Morning sickness can be incredibly tough to manage and hormones wreak havoc with emotions. There are also women who suddenly can’t handle the smell of their partner’s deodorant. Understand that this is not personal, it is the pregnancy emotions that for 9 months control her completely.
Being pregnant and expecting a child is the most amazing experience, it really is a miracle. It is a special time for a couple and should be savoured and enjoyed. The most important thing to remember is that this too shall pass and the reward at the end is a smiling beautiful baby.