Tips For Expectant Dads To Make Pregnancy Easier On Her And Dad.
Suddenly, leaving a pair of socks on the floor has her asking why you do not love her enough to pick them up. Or, a greeting card commercial has her waterworks on overdrive. And, if that was not enough, you cannot seem to say the right thing to save your life. What gives?
Take heart, because you’re not alone. This right of passage between pregnancy and fatherhood is brief, but very important. “A healthy marriage is a matter of compromise, give-and-take, back and forth. Except during pregnancy,” says Clay Nichols, Chief Creative Officer of DadLabs.com, a company of five dads that produce videos on parenting. “This discreet period has special rules. The happiness-oriented dad-to-be will recognize that this time is relatively brief in the course of a marriage, and that the end result is pretty amazing, and will therefore make certain sacrifices.”
Your first task as a father-to-be? Turn up the sensitivity chip when dealing with the hormonal, and very sensitive, preggers in your life. Although you are never allowed to say it out loud, you secretly know that hormones to blame for the rollercoaster of emotions on which your significant other is riding. Armed with that knowledge, hopefully you’ll make it through the next year unscathed.
Rule #1: Crank up the brain-mouth filter
It may not be second nature, but carefully thinking through everything you say before you say it is a good way to keep the woman bearing your child happy. Dr. Joshua C. Klapow, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, suggests that a change in perspective may help. “Stop thinking about what’s going on for you and start thinking about what’s happening to her: her hormones are in a great state of flux, she may be nauseous, she may be exhausted. Before you say anything – keep this in mind and imagine you felt like that—how would you react?”
So, if the pending Momma is telling you that she is surprised she’s already “showing,” do not tell her that you think she’s just bloated. Nod supportively in agreement and tell her that she still looks great.
Rule #2: Stop being right
If you’ve ever met a pregnant woman, you’ve met a woman who’s ready to stand up and fight for what she believes in, even when it is just over which side of the earth the sun rises on. Even when you know you’re right, now is not the time to insist upon it. “Recognize that if she is irritated with you, if she snaps at you, it doesn’t mean you have to pick a fight. During her pregnancy choose your battles extremely carefully,” offers Dr. Klapow.
Unless it is an issue of safety, what’s the harm in letting her think she’s right? You’ll not only avoid unhealthy tension for your pea in the pod, but she’ll notice your support and will likely to ease up.
Rule #3: Be involved
Your role as a father does not start at birth. The more involved you are with your child in utero, the closer bond you’ll have with both your spouse and your infant. “Go to all the appointments. Every single one,” advises DadLab.com’s Nichols. “Take a magazine and a pre-determined question on a subject other than sex.”
You may have reservations about what kind of father you’ll be, but it is likely that your partner has fears of her own as well. Keeping the lines of communication open and focusing on what you have in common -- the baby -- may help lessen the concerns each of you have about parenthood.
One last bit of advice: “Remember that business is not as usual during pregnancy- over the course of 9 months, her body is changing and your lives are changing,” reminds Dr. Klapow. Hang in there Dads, the reward is greater than the sacrifice. Just remind yourself that it is not personal, and you’ll likely be the loving, supporting partner that your pregnant other half needs you to be.