Let’s give dads-to-be more credit
Dads-to-be are undergoing big changes as well and we should give them more credit and support them in their fatherhood journey, starting in pregnancy.
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” — Billy Graham
There are endless articles and resources on how partners can best support their pregnant women, what they should and shouldn’t be doing, what they should and shouldn’t say, and how they need to adapt, educate themselves, and so on and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, rightfully so. Pregnancy, giving birth, and breastfeeding can be extremely challenging and might be the only areas of our lives where we females don’t have to prove that we’re actually the ones doing the hard work.
It’s the woman who has to deal with all the changes in her body, endure all the symptoms and pains, and so it’s only normal to
expect some extra effort from the partner during pregnancy. Unless he has a full-on sympathetic pregnancy I guess.
However, there’s also another side to it all. Don’t forget that you ARE in this together.
Moms-to-be are in the spotlight
Mama, during most conversations with friends and family and of course during prenatal appointments you are in the spotlight. Thus you are the one who gets all of the credit, attention, and extra care. Your partner most likely doesn’t get any of that, as if it’s less of an experience and change for him. When it comes solely to the body, yes, but not in life. His thoughts and feelings might be just as intense as yours.
What, I’m actually pregnant?!
You get to be with the baby 24/7, no matter where you are and what you do, you can look down at your belly and know your little one is with you. You can talk to the baby as you go about your day. You might dance while cleaning the house, holding your belly, and feel as if you’re dancing with your baby in your hands. Well.. you kind of are. You hear about maternal instincts and get told that you’re built to do this. You get to feel the baby move inside of you, you witness your body and mind changing and adapting, making it easier (not easy) for you to even realize what’s happening as well as connecting with the baby.
Still, you will most likely have moments when you think “wow, what, I’m actually pregnant?!”. Even if you’re already in your 2nd or 3rd trimester… am I right or am I right? Well, imagine what your partner is going through and how much more confusing or unimaginable at times it must all be for him.
So I encourage you to give him more credit, acknowledge his input, be grateful for all the effort he does put in.
Be grateful and don’t take it for granted if he:
x goes to prenatal appointments with you
x reads books or watches videos on pregnancy and parenting
x talks to the baby
x kisses and touches your belly
x reacts every time you say the baby is moving like crazy, even though 90% of the time the movement stops right before he’s close enough to see it or before he touches your belly
x compliments you on your pregnant body/ your belly (not just your big boobs..)
x finds ways to be intimate with you and still shows how attracted he is to you
x shops for baby items himself (he’s putting in the effort, so don’t criticize him if he gets something that wasn’t on your list, sth you might think is unnecessary or when the color doesn’t match your dream nursery) or goes shopping with you (patient like never before)
x he’s listening to you describing your not so sexy pregnancy symptoms and even finds ways to help you or at least sympathizes with you
x helps more with housework/ children/ pets/ cooking or whatever it may be…yes, even when you think he could/should do more
x keeps telling you to be careful 10 times a day
x asks if you’re ok, every time you make an “ow” sound
x shares his thoughts, worries, and excitement about labor and meeting baby
And the list could probably go on and on.
Acknowledge his efforts no matter how big or small
It’s ok if your partner doesn’t do all of that. It’s ok to ask for help, express your frustration, your needs, and like I’ve said he should find ways to do his part and it would be wonderful if he would at least try to connect with the baby already during pregnancy.
Still, I encourage you to acknowledge his efforts no matter how big or small they may seem. Don’t take it for granted, support him, appreciate him and show empathy. It’s all new, confusing, and exciting for him as well.
Be a team, cut each other some slack and you’ll both find this new chapter of your lives way more enjoyable. Let it make you develop an even deeper connection and appreciation for each other.
As you get to grow as a mommy-to-be and slowly prepare for your new role during those 9 months,
let him have his daddy-to-be period to adapt as well before he’s assigned his new, full-time role as a father.
“‘Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend.” –Robert L. Backman
“No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, what anything means, until he has a child and loves it.” –Lafcadio Hearn
To my partner in love, life, and pregnancy:
Baby (yes this time I mean you), thank you! You are an indispensable part of this journey. I appreciate you, I’m grateful for all you do for our new little family and I acknowledge your role in it all. You deserve some extra credit.
You’re the best daddy-to-be and are going to be an amazing father. I love you! Thank you.