One thing is for sure you love your wife and she is going to have your baby. I do not think there is anything more likely to bring out a man's urge to protect. Your family is expanding and no doubt you have a variety of feelings, concerns, and thoughts all competing for attention. However, during this wonderful time there are some things you can do. Here is a list of 15, to start you offl do't stop here just let this be the start of the ongoing list you create in caring for your family as it grows!
- Your urge to protect needs to be logical. She is still the strong, smart, capable woman you fell in love with. So, recognize though she is in the family way and will appreciate the extra care and attention. She is not a child so do not treat her like one.
- Morning sickness is hard. You know how your wife is when she is sick treat her that way. If she likes to be babied and pampered by all means do so. If she prefers to be left alone, occasionally ask if she needs help or how you can support her, otherwise leave her alone.
- Expect her to be exhausted. The lovely little one growing inside her is pulling on all her systems to grow and thrive. We always say a woman is eating for two. In fact, she is breathing for two, her heart is pumping for two, she is even walking for two. You get the message. In addition the baby only grows while she is sleeping, because that is how the body works. This means her sleeping will greatly depend on what stage of pregnancy she is in. Some if it has to do with trimesters. But, mostly it is dictated by the baby.
- Make sure she is fed. Because she is doing everything for two. She will be hungry more often. Pay attention to her cravings and try to keep those things on hand. Also, buy fresh foods like fruits and veggies she can grab and snack on. This is not a time for low fat diets encourage her to eat and drink full fat products.
- Pamper her as much as she will let you. Remember she is pregnant and not sick. However, carrying a child is hard on the feet. So, a foot massage a couple of times a week is great. Sleep can get difficult being a body pillow for her is awesome. But, if she is the kind of girl who does not like to be touched while she sleeps. Buying her a body pillow and sleeping in the guest room may be a great way to allow her to get some rest. Be sure to ask her if you sleeping somewhere else will help her rest better. Be sure she knows you are trying to pamper her not reject her.
- Women have body issues. Your wife is growing round. If she is having more than one baby it will happen pretty fast. Tell her she is beautiful. I have heard from many men their wives are sexier to them when they are pregnant. Tell her that and mean it.
- Sex will not hurt the baby, but the subject could make your relationship harder. You know your wife's sexual appetite. Sometimes, this changes during pregnancy talk with her about how she feels about it. Hormones make a big difference it may ramp up or down, be prepared. Recognize it has more to do with hormones than how she feels about you or your relationship.
- Hormones are ruling her life. The fact she is pregnant releases a slew of hormones, and the growth of the baby produces a variety of hormones ongoing at differing times. Which means her brain is constantly being washed over with hormones. The result of this is called pregnancy brain. This ongoing wash causes women to have a type of brain fog. Their clarity is not as sharp and they can become forgetful.
- Go to Doctor visits. This is your wife and your baby considering pregnancy brain you want to be there to hear what the doctor has to say. This way you know how to support her. Please avoid statements like the doctor said too often. But, gentle reminders will be appreciated.
- Help design the nursery and recognize her need to nest. Many women will start wanting to talk about the nursery almost immediately after finding out they are pregnant. This is the nesting instinct, respect it. Listen and contribute ideas. if you are a handy guy talk about making somethings for the baby. Most parents want the new baby close so a cradle or bassinet would be a super project.
- Recognize you are both scared. Becoming a parent is an overwhelming thought, let alone a reality. Talk with her about your fears and listen to hers. Read or listen to books together about parenting. Help plan things like finding childcare, doing product research on which is the best crib and crib safety, check out car seats, look into insurance needs, plan a 529 plan. Coordinate your maternity leave, see how your 12 weeks can dovetail with hers. The first few weeks are heard plan to be there.
- Read to the baby. The first sense to develop in utero is hearing. Infants are often born recognizing the voices of their parents. As your wife sits or lays down put your head near her stomach and read. It would be fun to re-visit all your favorite childhood books. Going out and buying them would be a great way to begin building a great library for your child.
- Birthing Coach-are you good under stress? Labor and delivery is no place for the weak or faint of heart. This is the one place I am going to use this phrase-be a man and be willing to recognize your limitations. Do you want to man up and be there for your wife and child of course you do. But, can you do so realistically. Are you one who faints at the sight of blood. If they have to do an emergency c-section are you willing to be there? Hiring a Doula who will give you both good child birth information can be essential in this process. The doula is your family support person. Having them with you could make all the difference.No judgement here if you feel you can do it goes for it! But, if you just feel too overwhelmed by the process talk to your wife about letting her mother, sister, or best friend do the job. Be in the room and be apart of the process no matter what but you can let someone else coach. I encourage you to just have an open honest conversation about it
- Read the books Gift of Blessing/Gift of Honor. These two books one by Gay Smalley and the other by John Trent help men think about their roles as husband and father and gives them the tools to do it well.
- Seek the counsel of other men. Being a Dad is not a project of isolation. Other men have been there. Talk to the men in your life about being a father and how they handled things. Share the joy, sorrows, and challenges of being a Dad with the other dads in your life.
Of course these things are just the tip of the iceberg and over the course of time many more ideas will come. Your are joining the ranks of parenthood. You can do this!
Believe in Parenting