It only takes a quick Internet search to find oodles of stories on how husbands can help wives during pregnancy. And why not – she’s the one carrying the load and deserves plenty of special attention.
But there’s also a dad in the mix, and he’s every bit responsible for creating this wondrous, lifelong adventure. Without him, there’s no baby!
And if you actually conduct said Internet search, you’ll find very little advice on how to assist dads during pregnancies. We think it’s time to place some focus on him with some tips for supporting dad throughout those nine months.
Involve dad with shopping
As soon as you confirm the baby’s arrival it may be may be tempting to wave the plastic at every crib, stroller, high chair and changing table you see – but don’t do it without dad. Even if you think he doesn’t care (he actually does), bring him along to make those decisions. He needs to be happy with the products he’ll be using, and he’ll likely offer some unique perspective you hadn’t considered.
Talk, listen, watch
Along with adorable coos and sweet smiles, the baby will bring enormous change to your relationship. Men have the same hopes, fears and dreams as you, and it’s important to dialogue about those emotions. Recent studies have also shown that men experience a level of postpartum depression, so keep a watchful eye for any warning signs.
We all know how crucial it is for dad to feel the baby’s kick and let it hear his voice, so that should be a steady reminder how touch and speech is paramount to dad, too. Hold hands, give hugs and give him constant reminders that he’s not forgotten during any of this.
Employ pronouns like “we” and “our” in your speech, and remind the world that you’re not pregnant – you are together, as a couple. There are lots of opportunities to do this through social media posts, formal printed announcements and simple daily conversation. The more you tell people you’re in this parenting thing together, the more he’ll feel like a valid, equal parent – which he is.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery
If you’re planning to up your fitness game and take a closer, healthier look at your diet for the better development of the baby – invite him to go along for the ride. So when you walk, bring him along. When you’re eating a healthy, crisp salad, encourage him to order one, too. And when you get that inevitable, sudden craving for a certain dessert or snack, persuade him to indulge. After all, there’s no “I” in team, nor in “sweets.”
In the name of equality
It’s easy to point the finger when spouses don’t carry their load, especially when it comes to child rearing. But don’t let it come to that – a unified, shared parental approach from the very beginning will foster involvement for a lifetime.
All of which will make those nine months seem like a blip on the ultrasound radar.