As a father you are not only helping make the baby but also providing valuable support, care and nourishment to your wife and the new offspring. Some of your concerns will overlap the mother’s and some will be solely experienced by you.
You too as a dad–to–be are entitled to tonnes of love and assurances not just during the pregnancy but also in the post -partum period. This article is therefore a tribute to the oft overlooked dad-to-be.
Coping With Wife’s Symptoms
It may suddenly seem as if you don’t know your partner or she has been invaded by aliens from outer space. The complicated and bewildering symptoms of pregnancy leave most fathers feeling nonplussed and not knowing how to cajole and console their partners. Morning Sickness is a very real symptom experienced by nearly 50% of pregnant women.
It can be extremely difficult seeing your wife puke out her breakfast, lunch and dinner while you heartily enjoy yours. Help her feel better by giving her foods that soothe her stomach and alleviate her symptoms. Allow her to eat 4-5 small meals throughout the day. Rub her back while she hugs the toilet seat and do be willing to take on your share of the household chores as she struggles with her sickness.
A sudden craving for her favourite food may send you running to the shopping mart at midnight. Although you may loathe the idea of being packed off to fetch a tub of ice cream, do be a sport. This too shall pass and do not tease her about her cravings. She is pretty much helpless about them.
So you think you are the only one entitled to hit the couch at the end of a long and hard day at work? Your wife spends ten times the amount of energy making a baby and nurturing it in her womb so cut her some slack and allow her to hog the sofa while you do your share of cleaning, vaccuming and dusting.
Although your wife is making a baby she most certainly won’t be sleeping like one. With nausea, constipation and heart burn troubling her 24/7 it is unlikely that she will get her 8 hours of sleep. Make her comfortable by supporting her back and belly with soft pillows and do offer to massage her back and feet. She will thank you for it.
And if one thing leads to another, well, that’s an added bonus. Frequent urination may also plague her so do leave the toilet spick and span for her use any time of the day. Her spells of nausea and the constant need to pee will take priority over your morning bathroom sojourn.
Fathers Feeling Neglected
Once the baby is conceived, most fathers feel they have little role to play and often feel extremely left- out and neglected. Relatives shower the mom-to-be with attention and the mother obviously develops a very special bond with her child which is so difficult for you to comprehend. Despite all of this, you can be a hands-on dad and make the entire journey of pregnancy a very fulfilling one.
If you are feeling left out ask your wife to also make you a priority and include you. Make it a point to go with your spouse for all her prenatal check- ups. Ask the doctor questions to know what is happening in your spouse’s body. It will help you understand the various symptoms that are troubling her. You may also have the good fortune of seeing your baby’s limbs and hearing his/her heart beat.
Ease up on the alcohol and cut out the cigarettes. Avoid eating foods that trigger nausea or send her rushing to the bathroom. Take long walks with her, holding her hand. Participate. You may be the CEO of a company but when it comes to pregnancy and child birth you have a lot to learn so make it a point to educate yourself.
You will definitely score some brownie points with your wife over this. You too can bond with your baby. Touch your wife’s belly and feel all those movements. Talk and sing to your child. Studies have shown that foetuses that were sung and spoken to in the womb scored higher on IQ tests. Take frequent offs to be with your wife and unborn child. Shop for the baby’s clothes and his/her crib.
Sex can take a severe backseat when a woman gets pregnant. Love making is the last thing on a woman’s mind as she is struggling to come to terms with all her symptoms. Many fathers on the other hand become highly sexed seeing their partner’s full and rounded body and the glow that comes with being pregnant. But while your lust and passion is seemingly normal so is her loss of interest.
All of a sudden your wife may abhor any kind of contact. Breast tenderness may not allow you to go anywhere near her. She may never be in the mood and hard as it is to come to terms with it, do be a sport. Be patient and kind. Most women do open up to the idea of having sex well into the second trimesters when morning sickness abates and they get the green signal for intercourse.
Whatever be the circumstances do not refrain from showering your wife with hugs, kisses and cuddles. She will tremendously appreciate the gesture. On the opposite extreme, a lot of fathers refrain from physical contact thinking that they will hurt the foetus. Although your fears are unfounded do let your partner know what you are feeling as this may lead to miscommunication.
Women develop a different persona altogether when they are pregnant. Your wife may suddenly be laughing, ecstatic one moment and weepy in another. Blame it on the pregnancy hormones which are taking a constant toll on her body and her peace of mind. Mood swings and temper tantrums are not uncommon. These often settle down in the second trimester but do be patient, don’t take her outburst personally and keep your perspective.
LABOUR AND DELIVERY WORRIES