It’s easy to get so caught up in your pregnancy that you forget about your partner and the fact that his life is about to change forever too. Many men, while excited and full of anticipation, are also plagued by nagging doubts about their ability to be a good father and mould their offspring correctly. Modern society has done a lot to sideline the role of dads and this is not only hugely damaging to the children, but to the dads’ state of mind too.
Here are a few things that your partner might be feeling through the pregnancy and afterwards, and some ways to help him through it…
While you are pregnant you feel such a wide range of emotions that it’s hard to keep track. Every time you feel a little kick, when you wake up in the night because he’s moving, or he’s got a little foot firmly on your bladder. You watch your body change as you automatically click into primal mode. Bonding is so easy and it might seem strange to you that your partner isn’t always as excited about every kick as you are. If this is the case, subtly encourage him to chat to other dads. Start conversations about how they felt when their babies were born, it may help him to know that he’s not alone and all men experience doubts and concerns over bonding.
It can also help if you encourage him to come with you to scans. He doesn’t need to be at every one, but when he gets to see his little person moving and kicking and when he gets to hear a heart beat, it’ll make things more real.
Did you know that by 21 weeks babies can hear through the womb? That means once he’s born he will recognise his father’s voice. Encourage your partner to speak to baby. He might feel silly, but if he knows that the baby can actually hear him, it makes it that much more special.
Once your baby is born, your partner may be overwhelmed with love and tenderness or he (like you) might be too tired and stressed to feel much of anything other than exhaustion. That’s okay. The pressure to feel something powerful immediately is always going to be there, but ignore it. Many parents need a little time to forge an attachment and that is totally normal.
Often, as a newborn is so dependent on you as the provider of food, love and comfort, dad can feel like he’s hovering on the sidelines, completely at a loss. Encourage alone time – bedtime massages, quiet bath times and time on the couch cuddling. Becoming a dad is a major life shift, but he’s as up for the challenge as you are!
Other articles you may be interested in:
Sex and your pregnancy
The importance of being a mother
Does your beauty routine change when you become a mom?
Treatments to avoid when pregnant