So much focus during pregnancy goes to the momma, but dads have some important new duties and expectations too – if they want to enjoy the next nine months. Here’s my list of advice for dads to be, inspired partly by my husband and his reactions.
- No, it’s not the hormones: No matter what the circumstances are, never say that it must be our hormones. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to communicate something just to have our thoughts and feelings belittled to irrational emotions. Take us seriously, even when we’re crying over something as mundane as you eating the last waffle.
- Do not laugh at our cravings. Retrieve them: If we want a fish fillet from McDonald’s with a chocolate shake, and we delegate this pick-up to you, it is your job to see that we satisfy this craving in a timely manner. This is meant to be taken seriously, as it is impossible to tame a pregnancy craving once it has surfaced.
- There is no question in “Can I have a back rub?” We may approach you under the impression that we are asking, but your only response should be “of course.” The aches and pains that we are dealing with from carrying the weight of the baby are unforgiving to say the least. Bonus: surprise us with a prenatal massage.
- We are either glowing or beautiful: We may say that we feel like a whale, but the only descriptive words out of your mouth should be things like “radiant” and “gorgeous.” We still want to feel adored even if we haven’t put make up on all week and are waddling around in maternity clothes, so don’t forget to generously give compliments as we self-consciously watch our bodies round and stretch like never before.
- Yes, you have questions: Sometimes men think that being supportive equates to fading in the background and letting us take control. As much as we are initiating preparations for baby, we do want you to be an equally active partner. This doesn’t mean you have to read those intimidating baby books, but attend our doctor/midwife appointments with us when you can, and initiate conversation about the upcoming arrival. It can be overwhelming to sort through everything from starting the nursery, lining up a pediatrician, to choosing a birth plan. Having you listen and share input helps us process it all.
- Take on more chores: No, we’re not mooching the pregnancy just to order you around. Many household cleaning supplies are toxic to us, as well as most paints. Beyond those obvious ones, our center of gravity is off as belly grows; even if we stubbornly try to do things like heavy lifting, moving furniture, climbing ladders and chairs to dust those ceiling fans, etc., it’s best that you take over (take it from the preggo lady who fell down the stairs in the midst of morning chores and had to spend four hours in the hospital).
- You are our cheerleader: Yes, relationships thrive on compromise. But when it comes to nine months of pregnancy, there are some battles you just shouldn’t pick. If you don’t like the nursery theme or baby name we pick out, of course, these are matters to debate and decide on together. But if there is something you disagree with regarding our birth plan, for example, it’s better to let it go as it is not your body enduring the labor. There are joint decisions in parenthood, but there are also undeniable motherly instincts. Respect the latter.