Pregnancy Support for Husbands, Dads Also Need Attention and Help
Moms step aside for a moment. It's time for dads to ask for support.
The days when I was wide awake gently massaging my wife’s cramping muscles are long gone. But the trauma of feeling useless during my wife’s pregnancy still hangs in the air. Surely, there are things a husband can do. But the pain experienced by my wife made me feel helpless. No husband wants to see his wife suffering. This is just cramps! We are not talking about the big D-Day. That scared me more than anything else. The wait was just excruciating. But, this is not about our wives and how we can take care of them. Much has been written on pregnancy support and care for mom-to-be. However, little is written on pregnancy support for dads. Although the limelight is often on the pregnant wife, even husbands need some support during this time.
So mom and wives, step aside for a moment. Let's turn the spotlight and shine it on the dads this time. It's our turn to ask for some help when our wives are pregnant. Even dads-to-be need help.
We are not psychics
There’s a bond between husband and wife that is unique to the couple. But during pregnancy, please do not over-estimate this bond. Seriously we want to help. But don’t assume we know what you want.
- Be sensitive to your wife’s needs
- Learn “the look”. I learned that there are different looks for different things. Subtle changes can distinguish good deeds from what-the-hell-are-you-doing-now look. If you can't stand it, avoid looking straight into her eyes.
- Learn from her routines. Pay attention to her mood swings, cravings, and body aches. You’ll notice a pattern. My wife cramps early in the morning right before getting up. So I instinctively, prepare myself for the ensuing pain.
- Expect some inconsistencies from your wife. It’s too hot, it’s too cold. It’s like the devil is toying with you. Keep your cool guys, keep your cool. Don't even mention how inconsistent she can be.
- Observe your wife. The more you understand what goes on with your wife, the better you can help her.
- Learn what she wants. Bank on what you know about your wife. There are certain ways she wants things done. So learn them. Even the small and mundane can matter.
- Write it down. When in doubt, write everything down. Whether it’s a list of things to buy, doctor’s appointments or her routines; take note of them and document them. It may come in handy when you visit the OB-GYN.
- Playing dead will not work. Your wife needs you so be ready to be up and running errands.
- You're on a 24/7 on call duty for the next 9 months. Sometime work has to step aside for your wife's needs. Even your personal hygiene may have to wait - which many are willing to forego. But don't you dare pray for a premature delivery just to get out of this situation.
- Be clear with what you want. Grunts are just insufficient for us to get what you require. Be a good wife and be very specific. We don’t want to go out at 3 AM to get you something from 7/11 only to go out again because you want blue Slurpy and not the red one.
- Acknowledge our efforts. We know you’re carrying our child and that’s not something we can do. But do take note of the efforts that we make.
- Don't ask us "Am I fat?" if you don't want the truth or expect us to lie. Either way, you'll hear what you want.
- Please don't make us look stupid or incompetent in front of your friends and family. Although we may be bordering at this level, we do try to improve.
- Don't make us feel bad by shouting and calling us names for not getting things right the first time. Physical violence is also unnecessary and unfair. So please drop anything sharp or pointed before you berate us.
- Teach us the girlie stuff. Don't expect us to know the difference between a pigtail and a ponytail just because you used words that resemble livestock in the sentence. Explain clearly that Brazilian wax is not an MMA technique. Although mango body butter sounds delicious remind us that it's not edible. Tell us the reason why it is called essential oil if it's not even important to us. Tell us and teach us before you flare up because we don't know what you want.
A little please would be nice
Sure you’re harboring a life inside your womb. Sure, hormones are raging. Sure you’re getting fatter. Yes, I said the “F” word. But it does not mean you can’t be a little more sensitive with us. Even husbands have feelings too.
- Be understanding when your wife can’t smile for massaging her cramping leg. I’m sure the pain has taken over her smile reflex.
- Foster open and clear communication. This way nothing gets misinterpreted. Learn "the look" as mentioned above. At times this is all you'll get. Make no mistake about this, interpret with caution. You can ask but be ready for sarcasm.
- Return the favor. If you want to be treated nicely, treat your wife twice as much better. But don't expect getting a massage because your hand cramped for paying video games for the past 4 hours.
- Family and friends like to pitch in so let them. Don't hog the attention of your wife. Remember that there's more to her life than you.
- Give friends and family space when they visit. It's your time to squeeze in a 2-minute power nap in between doing the dishes and washing the clothes.
- Be kind to her friends and family. Even if you don't like them, be kind enough not to bug them when they visit your wife.
- Say I love you. Sometimes that's all we can do to ease the discomfort. Reassure her that we are there - even if she thinks we are useless and the cause of her sufferings.
- Say sorry. It never hurts to admit our shortcomings. Be man enough to acknowledge your mistakes (yes, that's the plural form of mistake).
- Nagging won’t make things better. In fact, it will just make things worse. Although wives are the center of our universe, don’t be a black hole sucking all our fun and energy.
- Allow us some rest. We need to recharge so we can serve you better.
- Be sensitive to our needs as well. We need to sleep, eat and occasionally take a bath. Allow us some moments for ourselves and just to recharge. Allow us the pleasure of the morning brew, the daily bathroom routines, the morning newspaper, the early morning news on TV - ideally not at the sme time.
- Our friends do provide us support as well. So from time to time allow us to commingle in the company of desk top games and refreshments - also known as poker and beer. We'll be as quiet as possible. Just holler when you need anything. I think this is a good time to test the newly-bought baby monitor.
- Please reserve the "i'm pregnant" card for really important stuff. Getting you a chocolate-covered pretzel at 3 AM is not a dire situation. But believe me, with much nagging and the threat of life-long psychological torture, we will get up and buy you a dozen.
Pregnancy is such a wonderful time for both the husband and the wife. Even though it's wrought with many uphill climbs, it's a journey the couple can truly relish. Although the spotlight is often on the moms-to-be, we dads also need some TLC. Help us so that we can help you more.
Husbands Survival Guide on Pregnancy – What We See and What Really Happens to Our Pregnant Wives Coming from someone who will not get pregnant, pregnancy is baffling. Sometime we need to guess what is happening or assume what may ensue. Obviously what we see and what we know may be different from what is the truth.