How it all started:
I found out I was pregnant the night before our most recent Presidential election. After waiting until I was 4 days late, I told my husband on a Monday morning, “I’m 4 days late but I’m going to wait until Friday to take a pregnancy test because I want to have the weekend to really deal with whatever it says.”
This seemed extremely logical to me. So logical in fact, I had already told my best friend I thought I was probably pregnant but didn’t feel prepared to process the information during this, of all work weeks. My husband’s response was not the, “Good idea. Call me Friday and let me know what happens” that hers had been. He encouraged me to go ahead and take the test. So on our way home from work, we stopped by Walgreens. That night, I took the test, emerged from the bathroom, and told him with misplaced shock, “I’m pregnant.”
I’ll be honest; I was pretty freaked out.
We’d been trying for months. And I’d known the past few days it was very likely considering how late I was. But still, knowing is different from postulating. Fortunately, his reaction more than covered my fear. He held me and told me it was great and reminded me that this is what we wanted and had been working towards. Since that moment, he has been nothing but patient, accommodating, empathetic, and helpful.
My husband has always been amazing. But these last 8 months he’s proven that he’s prepared to do whatever he needs to to be an equal parent. His support during this time, when the baby needing care is me, has completely assured me that once the actual baby arrives, I’ll have more than just a husband, I’ll have a parenting partner and that’s how I know he’ll be an incredible father.
Advice from the actions of the best pregnancy partner EVER (my husband):
Here’s my guide for husbands and partners of pregnant ladies, taken from the life of my husband/pregnancy partner and based on how incredible he’s been. He does things for me that I don’t even realize I need until he’s doing it—that’s how good he is. (Ladies, in the event that your partner doesn’t read the Mom’s Blog, I recommend sharing this to social media so he’s sure to get a look.)
When your pregnant partner is crying because she’s been nauseous for days and knows she needs to eat but is too tired and sick to try, just hold her and tell her you’ll fix whatever she thinks she might want.
- Don’t get frustrated when the macaroni and cheese, cottage cheese, banana, saltines, toast, and other previously appetizing things you prepare go untouched and she asks for a bowl of Ramen.
When your pregnant partner is weary, stand behind her. Gently wrap your arms around her belly and support the weight for her.
(The first time my husband did this, out of the blue, I nearly cried from relief at having the physical and emotional weight of my pregnancy lifted and supported by him for a moment. He does this often and the bigger I get, the more I appreciate it.)
The scariest thing many first time mothers-to-be face is the idea that they’re going to be responsible for an entirely new life. Make sure she understands she is not alone in this responsibility and you’re as invested as she is.
- Read the parenting and pregnancy books she’s reading. Nothing says “I’m as invested in this pregnancy and life as you are” as being part of the information intake.
- Don’t just offer to attend birth classes. Be enthusiastic about them and participate during class time.
- Offer to attend as many doctor’s appointments as you can. Other than the anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks, they’re not very exciting, but it’s a major show of support.
- Ask what she needs you to do for the nursery and around the house to get ready for baby. She can’t paint, clean with typical household cleaners, or lift heavy things. Be her crew. And remember, soon she’ll be spending A LOT of time at home without the time or energy to do many things except care for the baby and maybe take a shower. Get the house ready so she can be relaxed and focused on your baby, not on the dingy paint or dusty baseboards.
Anytime your pregnant partner is sitting or lying anywhere, offer to rub her feet and legs.
AND do a good job. She is growing and caring for your unborn baby with every ounce of energy and cell in her body–literally. She will be very grateful and may cry. Don’t stop rubbing if she cries and continue after she gets up and returns from the bathroom.
The first trimester is rough. It’s more taxing than she could have predicted and it feels invisible and without reward. She doesn’t look pregnant. She can’t feel the baby moving yet. And it’s all very conceptual (except for the nausea, extreme fatigue, and all-over soreness).
Do as much as you possibly can for her. It will relieve her of both the physical burden of “doing” and the emotional/psychological burden of “needing to do.” In my first trimester my husband never failed to serve me as much as he could. He allowed me to rest as much as I could. He was a saint and probably felt like a servant. But I will never forget how he cared for me without complaint or hesitation.
Your pregnant partner is not feeling her most attractive so remind her constantly how attractive you’re finding her.
- When she points out the pregnancy mask on her face, tell her you thought she’d gotten a tan and no one will notice.
- Tell her everything looks gorgeous. This includes the sneakers she has to buy for her swollen feet and the nursing bras that are obviously not from the sexy part of the lingerie store.
- Every time she walks into a room tell her you love her belly. Tell her you are so glad she’s carrying your baby.
- When she’s too tired to put on a trace of make up or do anything with her hair (including wash it), tell her you love her natural beauty.
If your pregnant partner complains of any sort of ache or pain or even looks uncomfortable, offer to get her an ice-pack, give her a massage, bring her a pillow, or ask what you can do to help her relax.
Help her up.
The bigger your pregnant partner gets, the more help she’ll need moving around. Be the crane she needs and swear she still moves as gracefully as a prima ballerina.
Your baby isn’t here yet, but you’re already a father and she’s already a mother. Celebrate your baby with her.
Nothing reassures a pregnant woman more than her partner celebrating her pregnancy. Nothing assuages her fears, doubts, and concerns faster than a partner who frequently expresses his delight at what’s happening and what’s to come.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads: new, old, and yet to be!