A Dad’s Guide to Sharing the Pregnancy Experience
By Mike Locker, Parenting Expert
You’ve just found out your partner is pregnant. Congratulations! Although you can’t fully partake in the pregnancy, most future dads want a front row seat. No, we don’t understand morning sickness or get to feel the first movements, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to experience everything we actually can during the pregnancy. Yes, it is hard for us to totally grasp what our partner is going through, but we’re trying! Here are a few ways dads-to-be can play an integral part of the pregnancy experience:
Be an attentive partner—now’s the time your partner really needs you. She’s going through a lot, so it’s time to step it up a notch. Spend time catering to her with back rubs and late night trips to the fridge for an extra snack. Attend doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds with her. Take photos of her growing belly, tell her how great she looks and how much you love and admire her. Remember, she is growing a human.
Help make plans for baby—it doesn’t matter if you like to shop or not, it’s now time to act like you do. This baby will need quite a bit of stuff. Your partner will love having you show interest in the type of stroller and car seat you select, helping to pick out the crib and accessories and putting them together. Take her shopping for baby clothes and other baby necessities. Although you may dread the thought of comparing baby bottle sterilizers, this shows your partner how involved you really are.
Stay healthy together—exercise during pregnancy is important for many reasons, such as, boosting energy levels, aiding in sleep, preparing body for child birth, helping maintain a healthy pregnancy weight and reducing stress. Exercising as a team will help encourage your partner to get up and go, even when she wants to lie down and sleep (or cry or eat). Take walks together or hit the gym with her. Although you may not want to hear it, now might be a good time to give up alcohol, too (she’ll only tolerate the “designated driver” joke for awhile).
Plan a “Babymoon”—towards the last trimester of the pregnancy (but not the last month), surprise your partner with a little getaway. It doesn’t have to be a big, lavish vacation, just meaningful time away together. It may be the last time you both can take a trip sans child for a long time. Whether it’s a weekend trip to a nearby bed & breakfast or a week by the beach, she’ll appreciate the time away to relax and spend time alone with you.
Be a great labor partner—when it’s “go time,” make sure you’re actually ready to go. Attend child birth classes with your partner, make sure the car seat is installed properly (check with your local police department or hospital for assistance), make sure the hospital bag is ready to go and be a hands on birth partner. A 12-20 hour labor can seem like eternity, but be thankful you’re not the one in labor! Stay by her side, offer ice chips, back rubs and anything else she may need.
Daddy Locker (aka Mike Locker)
Bio for Mike Locker
Daddy Locker (aka Mike Locker), father of two, helps parents navigate the ups and downs of parenting through his expert advice. He covers topics ranging from taking baby out to eat without annoying the other diners, best ways to swaddle baby and how to how to be an involved dad. Daddy Locker is also the founder of Cozy-Cover, innovative parenting solutions for on-the-go families, and is constantly putting his creative skills to work developing new products to make parents’ lives easier and more convenient.