Dads during pregnancy

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I will never forget the look on my husband’s face the first time I told him that I was pregnant. By most standards, we were fairly well prepared. We both wanted children badly, and had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for nearly a year. We’d had the necessary discussions, spoken to doctors, read the baby books and badgered friends of ours for advice. When the news finally turned up positive, my husband smiled the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. For that instant, he looked like the happiest man in the world.

Then he looked terrified.

Dads during pregnancy

That was about how I felt too. As much as we had hoped for that moment, when it actually arrived we were scared. Nurturing a child seemed like the biggest task in the world and each of us thought of a million things that could go wrong. The good part was that no matter how daunting it seemed, we knew that we were in it together.

That sense of unity is crucial, and something that often gets overlooked. So much attention is focused on the mother during pregnancy that the father’s role can be neglected. Dads-to-be sometimes aren’t sure exactly how to help, or if they can do anything at all. Here are some things my husband did that I found made a whole world of difference.

Be patient. Pregnancy hormones are a force of nature. The soon-to-be mother of your child is going roughly 40 weeks of mood swings that PMS could never match. She’s also probably vomiting, almost certainly constipated, and carrying around 15 kilograms (or more) on her body. Sometimes she will get upset. Sometimes she will get frustrated. Your job is to remain as calm as possible and remember that this is still the same woman you fell in love with.

Get other family members involved. Like it or not, having a baby is a whole family affair. All of the future grandparents are going to want to know details. You don’t need to tell them everything all of the time, but a thoughtful call or update can go a long way. Plus, if you make the effort to reach out, it takes the pressure off your partner.

Go above and beyond. If ever there were a time to go that extra distance, it would be now. Even small gestures can make an enormous impression. Take the time to make a home-cooked meal, or have takeout from her favorite place waiting when she comes home from work. Hire masseuses from your favorite neighborhood massage place to come to your home. Bring flowers.

Remind her that she’s beautiful. No matter how strong and confident your partner is, it’s not easy setting aside all of your clothes for big, elastic-waisted pants. Even when other people notice her natural glow, she may be preoccupied with her puffy toes. Let your partner know that you still think she’s stunning and sexy. Unexpected compliments at any time of day are always welcome.

Do your homework. You know those baby books and websites (ahem)? Read them. Those prenatal classes? Go to them. Nothing can prepare you 100 percent for having a child, but doing a little extra prep work can really ease both your anxiety and hers. Even simple things like driving to the hospital and timing how long it takes can make things much easier when the big day arrives.

Photo Credit: Tom & Katrien via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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