A newborn baby is one of life’s greatest gifts. While mom will do the heavy lifting, dad should support her, minimize her stress, and maximize her comfort. Mom’s well-being affects our unborn baby; her health is the most important concern in our lives. We don’t have to wait for the baby’s arrival to be a superstar dad.
Mom’s hopes and dreams, her concerns and worries are of monumental importance, especially during pregnancy. Among our many paternal duties, encourage her to feel comfortable and confident in sharing with us; help her rest assured that she has a reliable partner and that we are in it together. Even if we feel she is being illogical, be a listening ear—a new life depends on her health. Mom’s hormones might be raging; dad must be a rock of dependability. Be careful not to minimize or trivialize her concerns, listen to her. Do whatever it takes to lighten her burdens.
The anticipation of our upcoming (or ongoing) journey into fatherhood may evoke lots of emotions. Open, honest, and supportive two-way communication establishes the foundation of mutual trust we’ll need to be the best parents we can be.
Mom might be happy, grateful, and excited. She might also be tired, vulnerable, and mad at the world. In thinking of ways to make a difference for her; leave no stone unturned. Her pregnancy is our time to shine. While every relationship is different, if there was ever a time to shoulder more than our fair share of household chores, this is it. Don’t tell her how much you care; show her. Take the initiative. If within budget, consider hiring a cleaning service during pregnancy through the first few months after the baby comes.
Her Aching Back
As the pregnancy progresses, mom’s back muscles will ache. Good sleep often becomes elusive. Even the act of laying down can be painful. A caring back massage before bed may relax her enough to fall asleep before the aches from the growing child set in. The relief won’t last the whole night—but she’ll appreciate the effort and always remember the care and compassion.
Mom is eating for two; she will feel intense cravings. Take care of her by delivering the foods she desires; she is the queen and is carrying our little prince(s) or princess(es). Provide her with whatever she wants.
As with motherhood, fatherhood starts before delivery. The baby will need clothes, their bedroom will need to be decorated, and we’ll need to buy the baby’s first toys. A father’s prenatal role is more than just emotional support—if permitted—to be involved during the whole process.
Babies arrive on their timeline, not ours. It’s best to pack for the hospital months ahead of time: consider packing hygiene supplies, books, maybe a chess board or playing cards. With hospital bags prepared for each parent, we’ll be ready to go. Remember to put together some cool surprises for mom; we know what lights her fire. Some ideas include fancy towelettes, new slippers, a comfy robe to wear in the hospital, and of course… gourmet chocolate.
Announcing to the World
Discuss the plan for sharing the good news. Follow mom’s lead, her input is paramount. Every mom is different; make the plan together and share the joy of sharing the joy.
If at all feasible, attend doctor checkups together. By learning about what is going on with her body and the baby’s development, we show that we care. Experience her changes with her, even if vicariously. Check out WhatToExpect.com for a personalized, day-by-day, and week-by-week breakdown of the journey.
Ongoing romantic involvement tends to support mom’s emotional well-being. Sex is totally ok—and not just the sexual gratification—the physical manifestation of our desire enhances feelings of safety and security.
Change Habits with Mom
It is optimal that expectant mothers quit smoking, stop drinking, exercise lightly, and maintain a healthy diet. These lifestyle choices can be fun—or at least more tolerable—when we do them together.
Obstacles to Fathers’ Involvement
Unfortunately, some expectant fathers aren’t involved during pregnancy. Major deterrents include an unhealthy relationship with mom, the lack of understanding a father’s role, and wanting to shirk responsibilities (both financial and time).
What if we question the legitimacy of the baby being ours? Paternity tests can be expensive… but with something so crucially important as human life, should potential fathers not be intent on finding out the truth and doing the right thing, no matter what? As with all matters of the heart, the desire to seek the truth depends on a man’s resilience and his moral compass.
Accessibility, Engagement & Responsibility
An involved expecting father is accessible, engaged, and responsible. Regardless of partnership status, a good future father does what he can to preserve his role in mom’s life. The more involved we are, the more we can reduce prenatal stresses and support prenatal healthiness.
Dad’s physical presence helps with parental “togetherness” during pregnancy, helping mom feel safer and more secure. Both prenatal and postnatal communication are important, especially for parents who do not live in the same household.
The extent of paternal involvement is often proportional to two factors: 1) the quality of the relationship between the parents and 2) the desire for the pregnancy. Fathers, beware: just as the statistics do not bear well for children of fatherless homes, non-existent paternal involvement during pregnancy is strongly correlated with higher rates of infant morbidity and mortality.
Responsibility should extend beyond financial support and reflect an expectant father’s desire to assume the roles of provider, nurturer, and protector. These encouraging energies help ease some of the stresses mom may experience as she carries our child. When fathers are involved during pregnancy, mothers are more likely to receive prenatal care and less likely to experience complications or premature delivery.
When expecting fathers are educated on the importance of a father’s role in a healthy pregnancy, we can infuse our family with positive energy to improve outcomes for our baby. Fathers who are accessible and engaged during pregnancy offer substantial health benefits to our family. One of life’s most amazing journeys has begun, enjoy the first chapter of fatherhood!
Be an excellent first-time dad and an all-time great partner. Being a great first-time dad doesn’t mean being perfect; it means participating in the experience with empathy and confidence. We’re Pregnant! provides all the need-to-know information on how to be a fully prepared parent.
This reassuring month-by-month guide gives the facts and advice to understand your baby’s development, support your partner, and prepare for the joys and challenges of fatherhood. It concludes with two special sections: one on labor and delivery, and one covering the first few months after your baby’s arrival.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.