Golden rule for expectant dads

(This article is also available in an audio format)

Congratulations! She is having a baby! This mere statement throws your world upside down and makes you feel sick to your stomach. Sure you agreed that you were ready to have children, but you weren’t quite ready for this reality check, she really is pregnant and she is going to have a baby. She is so excited and engrossed with this thought every second. For you – it seems to be different, panic rises up in you as you consider the extra finances that you will now need to find, the cost of education…. During the next nine months, there will be moments when you are frustrated, confused or angry. You may tire of hearing about your partner’s discomforts. You might feel left out because she and the baby are getting all the attention. Towards the end, you may feel fatigued because you are doing many of the tasks she did before she was pregnant.

Whenever you find yourself struggling in one of these situations, take a moment and remind yourself of the Golden Rule for Expectant Dads: “It could be worse – YOU could be pregnant.”

Let’s be honest. Guys have the easier half of the pregnancy experience. Look at your contribution to this pregnancy versus her contribution – yours is 5 minutes of pleasure, hers – changing body, nausea, mood swings, labour, breastfeeding…So, whenever you catch yourself throwing a pity party, think of the Golden Rule for Expectant Dads. It could be worse – you could be pregnant!

You should repeat this rule to yourself often. In addition, there’s one thing you must never say to your partner. “I know what you are going through.”

Despite what newspapers claim, no man has ever physically experienced pregnancy, labour or childbirth. Nor would we want to! Therefore we would be wise to avoid claiming we know how she feels. This is one problem that you don’t need to solve and that you don’t even need to fully understand.

Her body carries the baby. She is the one who has to watch what she eats, watch what she drinks, and watch her weight, stress levels, and energy. She has to go to the doctor, take tests and medication, and ultimately she is the one who goes through labour and birth.

Every pregnant woman wants two things from her partner: involvement and support. Your diet won’t help or hurt the baby, but joining your partner in healthy eating will ease her dietary transition. You can’t push during labour, but you can learn how to be her labour support person. While she is pregnant we all need to make our partner feel loved. She will feel vulnerable and her body image will suffer during these nine months, so no matter how unnatural it feels to you, now is the time to be romantic and supportive. The bottom line is that the more you can focus on trying to make her comfortable and content during these nine months, the happier you both will be.

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