Check out these tips on how to share your pregnancy with your special someone.
Creating a role for your guy in your pregnancy (outside of conception, of course!) may seem like a no-brainer, but many couples have a difficult time actually putting it into practice. Some moms feel that they shoulder the responsibilities, joys and fears of having a child since they carry and deliver the babies-to-be, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are several important and easy ways to involve your partner in your pregnancy so you can journey down the bumpy road together.
Connect over important issues
Nine months may seem like an eternity, but the time will fly by, often not giving you and your partner a chance to prepare for after your baby’s birth. Deborah Ledley, PhD, author of Becoming a Calm Mom: How to Manage Stress and Enjoy the First Year of Motherhood, notes that discussing important post-birth issues during your pregnancy “will significantly decrease stress once baby makes three.” Some topics to think about are breast- vs. bottle-feeding, religious upbringing and discipline techniques. Also, make plans for maternity and paternity leave and discuss what kind of childcare you will need upon returning to work. As obvious as these suggestions may seem, they are easy to overlook in the chaos and excitement of pregnancy. Handling tough topics can be a great bonding experience for you and your partner before your new addition arrives. As Ledley says, “No one wants to have a heated discussion about breastfeeding in the delivery room.” Preparation is key!
Just because it’s your body that is changing doesn’t mean you’re the only one interested in what’s going on in there. Scott Haltzman, Brown University psychiatrist and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men, suggests that standard tasks like doctor visits and sonogram appointments can be turned into couple’s activities. Haltzman says, “Many men are concerned about the health of their wives, and including them in visits to the doctor is an important step for increasing their sense of involvement.” Actually seeing your baby on the ultrasound screen can be a powerful moment for both you and your partner. It brings a sense of reality to the future family you will soon share.
Additionally, bonding with baby in utero is a central part of pregnancy for many expectant dads. While it may be more natural for you (you’ll feel every kick and wiggle, while your partner might only catch a few), invite your partner to be a part of the process by setting aside time for the three of you to “bond.” Choose a special nickname for your baby that only you and your spouse know and use. Let the father-to-be read bedtime stories to your budding babe. Listen to music while your partner places his hand on your bump. These, along with other bonding techniques, will help him feel involved in the pregnancy progression.
You may consider taking childbirth classes together to better acquaint your partner with what you’ll experience in the delivery room. Or you might take a couple’s massage class to make you feel great and allow for some quality touch time with your man as well. Your body’s transformations will be as amazing to your spouse as they are to you, and allowing him to become familiar with (and appreciate!) your changing body is sure to bring mutual satisfaction.
Create fun for the whole family
Haltzman believes that the biggest problem couples often experience during pregnancy is a lack of understanding for how it affects a dad-to-be. Avoid hurt feelings by planning activities that engage the two of you as a pair. For example, a couple’s shower is a great alternative to the traditional “girls only” baby shower. Involving your guy in the family-oriented festivities allows him to feel like a member of your growing clan rather than just an unaffected bystander. Plus, he’ll love the excuse to invite his friends and share his excitement with them too.
You might also consider registering for a few items your spouse would like, rather than just sticking to the standard stroller, car seat and play yard. For example, if your partner is crazy about football, look for matching daddy-and-me jerseys. And don’t hesitate to enlist hubby’s help in decorating the nursery. He’ll love showing off his handyman skills, and you’ll both cherish the opportunity to create a warm, loving environment for your little one, all while strengthening your bond with each other.