Real Dads Give Advice for Pregnancy
Unlike expecting moms, new dads don’t show any obvious signs of change during pregnancy. He’s not carrying the baby and doesn’t have a chance to feel those incredible baby kicks from within. It might make it more difficult for new dads to feel that natural bond and they may even feel a little detached from pregnancy, not sure what to do or how to help. But you’re having this baby together and the dad’s role is important in creating a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Here are some tried and true ways that other northern Michigan dads (and moms) have become involved to strengthen their role as an expecting dad. Keep in mind, just like childbirth and raising children, there is no single right way. Everyone and every couple is different. Following your instincts as a parent-to-be and a partner, practicing kindness, patience, and support for each other is a step in the right direction.
Spend Quality Time Together
“During pregnancy, neither of us really felt bonded to our baby until he was actually born,” said Emma, a Grand Traverse County resident. “I was just really tired, and my husband knew that was to be expected so he would encourage me to nap and rest. He also spoiled me; lots of foot rubs, date nights, and making sure I was comfortable at all times.”
Communication, support, and taking a team approach to pregnancy helps to share the joy and the responsibilities for when baby arrives. This support can come in the form of spending quality time together before two becomes three, or getting involved in pregnancy education and preparedness like attending childbirth classes together, creating a birth plan, and going to regular doctor’s appointments; definitely don’t miss any appointments with an ultrasound!
“We took yoga classes together,” said Shaun, a Leelanau County dad of two. “At first, I was hesitant, but it was actually helpful and kind of fun. We learned some postures and positions that she used during her labor and I also realized and respected how her body was changing. Basically, whatever she wants you to do or try….just go for it…for the sake of the pregnancy.”
Another local couple decided to create an ongoing pregnancy journal. “We would each randomly add entries throughout the pregnancy; milestones like hearing the heartbeat for the first time, my wife’s weird mango cravings, thoughts and hopes for our baby boy, even potential baby names. It was a great way to bond not only with my wife but our baby too.”
For many soon-to-be moms and dads, being proactive and flexible will create more ease throughout the pregnancy and help in communications. Take an initiative to help keep the house tidy, offer to run some errands (maybe even stock up on a few essentials for once baby arrives), New dads can make sure they are paying attention to her needs because even though she is experiencing the fun and wonder of carrying a baby, she is also experiencing the backaches, the swelling, and the crazy hormones.
“I would appreciate the little things,” said Jill, a Traverse City mom. “Most nights my husband would make me tea, cuddle me and then wait to feel the baby kick. He would get so excited!”
A couples baby shower offers an opportunity for mom and dad to not only celebrate their new, important roles as mom and dad but also take a team approach to register for those baby necessities. The baby aisles can be a lot to handle and you can go down the online shopping rabbit hole, fast. Many couples register together, or divide and conquer!
“My husband both loved and hated putting together all of those baby contraptions,” said Jill, a local Traverse City mom.
Setting up your baby’s nursery is an activity that can be done together. You may find that some great conversations are had during the assembling of your baby’s crib. It’s a good time to think about the near future and how you envision yourself in this space with your baby.
Remember, this is your shared pregnancy, and therefore a team effort. Neither mom or dad has all the answers. The encouragement and support you offer each other during pregnancy will transpire to the love you will both share for your new baby.