In celebration for Valentine’s Day tomorrow, my husband and lifetime Valentine graciously agreed to be a guest contributor for this Hump Day Bump Day post. Pregnancy can be a joyous time but also difficult and uncomfortable. Sometimes a spouse or partner is unsure of how to best support the mama-to-be. Since it’s our third pregnancy in less than four years, my hubby has become an expert at co-piloting through this journey. I’ll let him take it from here.
A Partner’s Supporting Role During Pregnancy
Hi guys, (yes I’m going to be addressing this to the spouses and partners, regardless of gender). Your role and responsibility during pregnancy should not be taken lightly or overlooked. She will lean on you for emotional and physical support, and sometimes you may be her punching bag (thanks to those lovely hormones). Here are a few ways I’ve learned how you can best support your wife/partner during this journey.
Prior to her getting pregnant, there may have been loosely established responsibilities and routines in the household. This may include housework, child duties, taking care of fur babies etc. Consider this sports analogy: There is a fixed amount of work to be done and your MVP just went down for the count for the next 9 months+. That leaves one person to shoulder most of the responsibilities of the entire team. She may not be completely incapacitated, but it’s best to assume that she’s not up for the normal tasks. Assume that your wife is always tired, has swollen feet, and just doesn’t feel like doing ______. This is your time to step it up, do what needs to be done and make sure she is comfortable. She is literally bodybuilding every second of every day for the next nine months. And don’t forget, it’s partially your fault she’s going through this. Keep your expectations low and ask for nothing in return. Whatever she is able to contribute should be seen as a bonus.
Pregnancy does not mark the end of romance. She may not feel that she looks her best, (e.g. my wife likes to affectionately refer to herself as “a baby beached whale”). She may be more sensitive about her appearance. When she asks your opinion, be gentle and it may be in your best interest to say “you’re beautiful”. I must say, my wife has always maintained a good sense of humor about her growing body habitus and my comparisons of her to the “The Grinch”. We keep it fun and light. Keep the spark alive, take her on dates…even if that means getting a sitter for the kids. It’ll do a lot for your relationship and also remind her that you still love her…beach-ball belly and all.
Wittingly or unwittingly, you both decided to bring new life into the world, and as the laws of nature would have it, she got the raw end of the deal. The attitude of gratitude should manifest itself throughout this entire journey and beyond. We as men have no idea what she is really experiencing and have no place to assert how she should feel. This means frequently expressing your appreciation in any way possible. Depending on her love language, this may mean words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts (e.g. “push present”), acts of service etc. This may just mean being present at doctors visits, making her breakfast in bed every now and then or feeding those crazy cravings. Bottom line, acknowledge the burden she is bearing. Say “thank you” whenever you can, and mean it.
And that’s all I got! I’m not a relationship expert by any means, and have made my fair share of mistakes, but I hope these basic guidelines can help you stay out of the doghouse 🙂
If you’re ready to read some tidbits of advice once the little one arrives, check out the post I wrote about Fatherhood as a first-time dad, and as a second-time dad in Forty and Fatherhood. Thanks for reading!!
-The TM Husband