Pregnancy is a time of great joy and great stress for a lot of expectant couples. Many couples struggle to adjust to this new development while juggling the demands of their job, keeping the household running, and family life. When a woman is pregnant, she is the center of everyone’s attention, all wanting to be part of this miraculous process of giving life. Unfortunately, this time can also leave their male partners feeling left out in the cold.
Many men feel overwhelmed when faced with a pregnant partner. They begin to worry not only about the financial aspect of having children, but also of its impact on their lives as a couple as well as to his own time and space. He may have some concerns about being a good parent, especially if he has issues with his own parents or his childhood. He may also feel bewildered at his partner’s changing moods as she endures the aches and pains of pregnancy. With hindsight, it seems to many men that the easiest (an the most pleasurable) thing seems to be getting the woman pregnant.
Pregnancy should be a shared experience. Men must remember that the child their partner is carrying is as much his as it is hers. A man must be involved with every step of the pregnancy. One way to do this is by joining your partner when she needs to go for her monthly check-ups and scans. It often helps men feel anchored in reality when they see the actual image of the baby inside the womb during a scan. A doctor can also answer any questions or concerns a man might have about the pregnancy. Men are also encouraged to attend pregnancy classes with their partners. This can give him confidence in dealing with his impending fatherhood. These courses give invaluable information and hands-on practice in order to prepare parents to be not only for the birth of their baby itself but also the initial stages of parenthood, including how to carry, dress, bathe, and soothe the baby. These classes are a great opportunity for couples to meet others in the same situation, allowing them to share experiences and concerns. Many companies recognize the importance of these activities during the course of the pregnancy, and are open to giving expectant fathers time off to accomplish these things.
Because a woman’s movements will become increasingly limited as their pregnancy ensues, men must step up in the domestic arena and begin doing more around the house to ease their partner’s burden. Another way to share in the pregnancy would be to begin preparing the baby’s nursery, painting the room, as well as purchasing and assembling the furniture. A suitable car seat must also be prepared and installed in the family car.
But the basic, and perhaps the most important way to share in the pregnancy is through communication. Men should try talking with their partners about the baby and even directly talking to the baby as if he or she was already there. This establishes and strengthens the bond between the expectant couple and the unborn child. Being open and honest about his doubts, fears and feelings about the pregnancy and impending fatherhood goes a long way in making a couple closer during this time.