Dads During PregnancyKatlyn Joy |15, June 2014
Many expectant mothers worry about their husbands' lack of excitement, or even interest, in the new baby on the way. For a pregnant woman, that can be difficult to understand, as she can think of little else.
However, we need to cut the guys some slack. Part of the reason women are so focused on the baby is obvious; they are growing the baby. The baby is omnipresent physically, so naturally the child, and the birth, are likewise always in mother's thoughts.
Dads don't have that privilege, or responsibility. They didn't get reminded every morning for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy that they were soon to be parents, as they tossed up every bit of breakfast. They didn't have the joy of aching, growing breasts, an ever-enlarging tummy, or swift kicks to the ribs to remind them of upcoming parenthood.
Ways to Help Dads Feel Close to the Action
1. Since fathers don't get all the physical reminders of the baby, mothers can help by sharing as many experiences with them as possible.
2. Always have Dad at the doctor visits, especially for the first heartbeat, the ultrasounds and other testing dates. By making sure he is an equal partner and planner in the pregnancy, he can become more invested and attached.
3. Consider baby-names early in pregnancy. If you decide on two names, one for a girl, one for a boy, then when the gender is determined, you can start referring to the baby by name. For many people, that is a start to the bonding process.
4. Start a baby memory book. Include background information for the baby on the family tree. Have your husband help with his info and his family's. Have dad write a letter to the baby to include in the book.
5. Encourage your husband to daydream with you about what baby may be like. Discuss if you think she will get his nose, your hair, or Grandma Kate's odd laugh. Look at baby photos of each other. Doing these things links the present to your own past, and builds more of a connection with the baby.
6. Share photos of babies in utero that are in roughly the same age of development as your growing fetus. It will help your husband imagine what is happening with the baby now. Are his ears growing? Can he hear your voice?
7. Encourage your husband to speak near your belly every day. He can tell him a joke each evening, or sing a lullaby they all sang to baby's in his family, or just tell her goodnight. Yes, he will feel silly at first, but let him know baby can hear him and at birth will recognize the sound of his voice.
8. Plan the nursery together. Try not to make it such a girly event. In other words, don't inundate him with information on indiscernible shades of green paint. Get his input on the theme, the furniture and such. Enlist him to put together necessary items.
9. When baby is kicking, put his hand on the spot. When baby has the hiccups, let him feel the gentle bumps against your belly.
10. Let your husband pick out baby's first outfit. I know, you were looking so forward to that, but allow your husband to find the perfect thing for baby to wear in the first portrait. Trust him, he'll do a great job. You may want to get a back up in a different size. I was expecting another 8 pounded with my third child, but she weighed in under 6, and needed preemie clothes her first week.
11. Get an idea of the things your husband enjoys preparing and planning for and put him in charge of those things. For instance, let him map the best route to the hospital for the birth. Ask him to help you pick out, or pick out himself, the carseat. Let him chose or create the baby announcements, if he likes doing such things on the computer.
12. Finally, don't despair if your husband seems more distant than you'd like during the pregnancy. Some fathers are keyed in, and almost overly involved in pregnancies while others gradually warm up; sort of microwaves versus crockpots. However, when baby emerges and the cord is cut, every dad is in the process of falling in love and becoming a true father.
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