Pregnancy is a life-changing experience — not just for the mom-to-be carrying the baby, but for dads, partners, and family too. While it’s easy to get carried away by the miraculous changes happening in your own body right now, don’t forget that your partner is also undergoing changes. By involving your husband or partner throughout your nine months of pregnancy, you can share the experience…and grow even closer in the process.
Excited? Nervous? Stressed? Here’s a hint: your partner is likely feeling many of the same emotions you are. By regularly talking about your own feelings, you’ll help loved ones feel more comfortable opening up about their feelings. If your partner remains locked up on the subject, share your pregnancy materials – point out interesting passages, or simply leave books or magazines on the coffee table for him to peruse when he’s ready.
One of the things your partner may feel most anxious about is delivery day. Help ease his mind by working on your birth plan together. Not only will he be more informed, but he’ll also be better prepared to advocate for you and your unborn child during delivery.
Invite Him In
In addition to inviting your partner to share his feelings about your pregnancy, invite him to actively participant in the experience. Gone are the days of the proud father-to-be coasting cluelessly along for nine months until it’s time to hand out cigars in the waiting room. Husbands can be involved every step of the way: from attending doctor’s appointments to reminding you to take your prenatals.
A simple yet meaningful way to involve your partner? Bring him along to your doctor’s appointments. Hearing the baby’s heartbeats and seeing the ultrasounds can help your partner feel included, and can also kickstart the bonding process. If your husband is unable or unwilling to attend, be sure to share all of the details after each appointment. A birthing class is also a great way to prepare together for labor and delivery.
And don’t assume that your husband doesn’t want to be involved in certain baby-related decisions. He may have a theme in mind for the nursery or prefer a certain type of crib or bassinet. Don’t leave his opinion out of the equation just because he doesn’t have two X chromosomes.
Which ties into another baby-related convention previously considered the women’s domain: the baby shower. Many of today’s dads-to-be choose to be involved in this special celebration. Talk with your husband about whether he’d like to participate in your baby shower and in what capacity. You may be pleasantly surprised by his response!
Planning For Two By Two
Babies are expensive, and your financial situation will change with the arrival of your bundle of joy. While you may envision a decked out nursery filled with the latest, hottest baby gear, your partner may just see dollar signs. Sit down with your partner and determine a household budget to help prepare for baby’s arrival. This can help you stay on the same spending page, while also sparing you financial stress in the long run.
You can also plan ahead by taking a parenting class together. Whether you take an infant massage class or first aid and CPR, this can help settle new parent nerves while also aligning your perspectives on parenting.
Many men gain “sympathetic baby weight,” during their wives’ pregnancy. Rather than viewing pregnancy as a time to indulge and let go, partners can work together to stay healthy during pregnancy. Encourage your partner to join you in making smart food choices. And the next time you put on your maternity workout clothes, invite him along. Whether you decide to yoga-for-two or simply incorporate a morning walk into your daily routine, you can help stay fit and connected throughout your pregnancy.
Ultimately, while you’re the one carrying the baby, your partner is also experiencing nine months of uncertainty and excitement. These tips can help you share the experience together…right up until the best experience of all: the arrival of your brand new baby.
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