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How To Be A Supportive Baby Daddy
A New Chapter
If you haven't guessed from the title, myself and my partner are expecting after seven years of being together. It is our first child and although we were absolutely horrified when we found out, we've slowly become excited and have really started looking forward to this new chapter. It can however be difficult for baby daddies during pregnancy with not really knowing how to be supportive, and maybe even not understanding the process of pregnancy. For the first few weeks (I'm on week 6 now so still very early on) fatigue and sickness are common, smells can cause nausea and even headaches and migraines. Its important to be as supportive as possible in these early weeks, as a lot of women, myself included, find it difficult to even get up out of bed.
Support in pregnancy is hugely important, the thought of birth and changes in the body are incredibly terrifying, and even though as a father you wont be experiencing this yourself, its really important you understand these fears. So here's some advice on how to be the supportive baby daddy that your partner needs:
This Isn't Just Happening to Her...
I feel odd having to point this out, but there you have it, some people just don't get it. Just because your partner is the one that is both creating and carrying the child, does not mean it is only affecting her and I cannot stress this enough. It might be her body, but it is your baby too. Do some reading on what to expect in pregnancy, how it changes a woman's body and even mood/emotions. I have never been too much of an emotional person but find myself getting upset at the most redundant things right now, like if there's no bread in the morning, or tuna to feed the stray cat that comes around every day....this really upsets me now, and I can't explain it, nor should I have to in my opinion. I expect my partner to just understand that I'm dealing with some emotional turbulence right now and not try to make a logical argument about why the cat doesn't really need our tuna since he gets fed by every house in the estate. I let the cat down....it knows it and so do I and that's all that matters.
So instead of seeing the pregnancy as something that is affecting your partner, see it as something you are both going through. Understanding this simple concept will make a huge impact!
Just Because I Want it...Doesn't Mean I Can Have It
You Both Need to Sacrifice!
Yes I know. It sounds harsh....but you know what sounds even worse? Finding out your pregnant and having to give up soft cheese, raw fish, alcohol, smoking, and caffeine in the one day! This is extremely difficult, and unfair if you're sipping a glass of Chianti, puffing on a smoke out the window while she's sitting begrudgingly sipping on a lemon and ginger water trying not to throw up. What I find the hardest is not having my cup of tea in the morning, or relying on a coffee to wake me up when I'm so tired all the time. Again, this is happening to both of you....don't rub it in her face that she's the one that needs to sacrifice just because its happening to her body. You both did this, and you need to be as supportive and understanding as possible.
I'm not saying give up everything she has to, but I know with my partner that I'm getting kind of frustrated at the fact that there's a long list of things I cannot do for the next 9 months, all of which don't affect my partner at all, as if its my problem to deal with on my own. I haven't asked him to give up anything, but just be a little sympathetic to the fact that I'm finding it so hard to give all of this up cold turkey. Don't push boundaries.....if your partner says no smoking inside, that means no smoking inside....not even out the window...up the chimney, or when she's not there....she will smell it when she gets back and it does not help with nausea!
Likewise with food. If she's eating healthier for the sake for the babies health, then you should too. That means no stuffing your face with greasy takeout pizza while she's nibbling on spinach for the folic acid!
Housework Needs to be Shared....
Help Around the House
So Important and for me totally obvious. Your partner is going to be tired, sick and emotional, don't expect her to keep the house clean at the same time. If you don't already share the housework (I say with disgust) then you need to step up. It is not a woman's job to keep the house clean, do your laundry, the dishes and take care of dinner. While pregnant, chances are your partner is even less willing to do this, nor should she have to...
Remember her body is doing things that seem impossible and the energy it takes to do this is immense. Help out around the house, make dinner, and dare I say it....do the bloody laundry! Not just the bits you need....all of it!
So Many Rules For Being Pregnant
Do Some Research!
A lot of women start reading and researching when they find out they are pregnant, but again this needs to be done by both parents. I see a lot of this with new mothers who do all the reading then have to reiterate everything they have read to their partners. Share the research. If she's wondering about certain things like why she''s suddenly getting hives everywhere....do not respond with "Look it up!" or "Google it".
Do some of the reading yourself, help her out and let her know you are willing to do this, and want to be supportive. Offer to go to prenatal/hypno-birthing classes with her and get some books on pregnancy, or better yet, just print off some information from google, and sites that offer advice. There is a lot of information that pregnant women need to know, and so much researching is involved that it can be extremely stressful and tiring- from what kind of birthing plan she wants, to risks in labor and pregnancy dont's which there are literally hundreds of. Share this workload and your partner will be delighted.
Poor Kim K
I find it hard to believe this happens...but it absolutely does! Many women feel they are being judged when they sneak a sip of vino, or even put on a few pounds, but having a partner point out the dangers of this is not helpful! Women face many issues with their weight throughout pregnancy, but every woman is different. If she has put on a few don't tell her to cut back on food, she's cut back on enough for a lifetime, and while you may understand her difficulty, unless you have given up everything she has you wont fully get how difficult it is.
If she does have a sip of wine, she wont need you telling her how bad it is, the reality is she probably feels guilty already, but everyone slips up now and then, so try not to be a d*ck about it.
My Thoughts Exactly
I have already settled for a home birth, no way in hell am I delivering in a hospital. Ireland has one of the worst unnecessary C-Section rates, especially for first time mothers. If the baby is taking too long, if it's breech, if it's cord is wrapped around the neck....c-sections are the only options in hospitals. Episiotomy's are all too common too, which I strongly believe is too close to Female genital Mutilation.....no studies have shown its necessity, and yet this procedure is done usually without telling the mother first or even asking permission. No proof exists that it heals faster than a natural tear, and yet for some reason doctors think it has to be done. So Homebirth is my only option and one I'm really looking forward to. My aunt recently had a Homebirth that was incredible and even though little Baby was born with the cord around his neck the midwife dealt with it swiftly and he was fine.
One thing that I am grateful for is that my partner totally understands where I'm coming from, an my needs during the birth and supports my decision to do this. He will be involved in the birth, unlike at hospitals where the fathers are pushed aside until the child is born. I am so happy he is not trying to guilt me into going to hospital (which does happen-some people think home births are dangerous and selfish on the part of the mother).
I want him to be as involved as possible and I think he's really looking forward to it.
The Most Supportive Guy I've Never Met....
Being there for your partner is the most important aspect of being a baby daddy. Your partner is more than likely pretty scared if this the first pregnancy. I know I am, I worry about being able to go through a home birth, I worry about gaining so much weight I'll never look the same again, I worry about doing something wrong, I worry about everything I eat and drink, stretchmarks, massive boobs....the list goes on and on. So just being there and being compassionate is crucial. Attend doctors appointments , scans and classes. You are a team, and she needs to feels that. Be honest about your feelings, if you want to help but aren't sure how, just ask. if your worried, let her know, at least she'l know she's not alone in her worries. Make a support plan together, where your partner can tell you where she needs to be supported during the pregnancy and labor, look up the stages of birth and what to expect, how you can help etc...
It's Like He Always Knows What To Say....
There You have It
Some Simple tips and advice on how to support your partner though pregnancy. Many men feel left out during this period and some even say that a man doesn't feel like a father until he see's his child for the first time, but the reality is a woman becomes a mother the second she finds out she's carrying. Men have 9 months of practice and coming to terms with the new change, women don't have that luxury, so act like a father the second you find out you're going to be one. Its important for women to know that they are not alone during this time, and although your probably equally as scared, you need to be there and show her that this is happening to the both of you, you don't see it as her pregnancy, its your pregnancy too.
Do you feel supported by your partner?
© 2015 belleart