The ninth month

What you’re going through

Well, it’s almost over. In just a few weeks, you’re finally going to meet the child you’ve talked to and dreamed about, and whose university education you’ve planned. But be prepared, the last month of pregnancy is often the most confusing for expectant fathers. At times you may be almost overcome with excitement and anticipation. At other times you may be feeling so scared and trapped that you want to run away. In short, all the feelings – good and bad – that you have experienced over the last eight months are back. But now, because of the impending birth, they’re more intense than before. Here are a few of the contradictory emotional stages you may find yourself going through during the final stages of the pregnancy –

  • On the one hand, you may be feeling confident about your readiness to be a dad. On the other hand, you may be worried and unsure about whether you’ll be able to handle your dual roles as husband and father.
  • All you’ll probably want to do at the end of the day is go home and relax. But with your partner less and less able to handle physical tasks, you may be greeted at the door with a list of chores that need to be done
  • You and your partner may be feeling an exceptionally strong emotional bond with each other. At the same time, your sex life may have completely disappeared
  • As your partner gets more and more uncomfortable, she may feel less and less like going out with friends, so the two of you have to enjoy some quiet, private time before the baby comes. But it may also be an unwelcome opportunity to get on each other’s nerves

By this time your attention – and that of your friends and family – is focused squarely on your partner and the baby. Since you’re the person she’s closest to and sees most often, your partner is going to be increasingly dependent on you – not only to help her physically, but to get her through the last-month emotional ups and downs.

Staying involved

The bottom line is that during the last few weeks of her pregnancy, your partner is likely to be miserable and uncomfortable. And although there is not a whole lot you can do to ease her burden, here are a few suggestions that might make the final stretch a little more bearable – for both of you –

  • Answer the phone. You might consider changing your voicemail to something like: “Hi. No we don’t have a baby yet, and yes, Jane’s fine. If you are calling about anything else, please leave a message and we will call you back”. It is better than answering the same question twenty time a day
  • Stay nearby whenever you can. Try to come home a little earlier from work, give away those rugby tickets and postpone that long business trip
  • Stay in touch. A couple of quick calls to her every day can make her feel loved and important. They will also reassure her that you are alright
  • Stay as calm as you can. She’ll be nervous enough for both of you
  • Be patient. She may do some pretty bizarre things, and the best thing you can do is bear with her
  • If she wants it, give her some time to herself. And if she wants time with you, make sure you’re there for her
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