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I remember watching a comedy show years ago when the main character dreamt that spores contaminated the water supply and impregnated men. It was hilarious watching guys struggle through pregnancy and deliver their dream baby: sail boat, sports car, and 4ft hero sandwich.
It reminded me of how men don’t fully understand what women encounter with pregnancy. Let’s face it guys, when it comes to having a baby our job is fairly simple. We provide the male egg, wait for nine months, snap pictures with our newborn, pass out cigars, and go back to work. I know guys are getting involved more in the process and that is huge. However, in comparison, our women do the heavy lifting–and for that matter, the breathing too!
In my professional work, I hear women express mixed feelings joy and worry about pregnancy. They face many challenges and adjustments. Women need their men to understand something big about having a baby.
So guys, here is one thing you need to understand about your pregnant wife and 5 ways you can deliver support.
Your wife makes major sacrifices during and after pregnancy
Because we will never experience pregnancy, guys have a limited understanding of the sacrifice women make. Here are a few ways.
She sacrifices her body during pregnancy
Anatomical and physiological changes start soon after pregnancy. Perhaps you’ve witnessed “morning sickness” in the first trimester. Before long a “baby bump” appears and clothes no longer fit. This may not seem like a big deal to you since guys often get a pass on the “beer belly”. However, women feel a lot of pressure to look attractive. Changes in body shape are profoundly significant throughout pregnancy.
Your wife also has to pay close attention to diet since now she is eating for two. To accommodate she has to modify her eating habits, not to mention alcohol and use of medication. Hormonal changes appear throughout pregnancy which can be emotionally turbulent for your pregnant wife.
She sacrifices her active life
Further into pregnancy, your wife has to adjust her active life to accommodate the pregnancy. Some of the activities and social events she once did freely are put on hold during pregnancy. She may be able to attend some events but choose not to because she is tired or “feels pregnant”.
She sacrifices her career
When pregnancy occurs in a family, men’s careers are hardly impacted. We just go about our jobs. Women on the other hand have several things to consider. Among them, how long she will work, how much time she will take off, or in some cases, will she put her career on hold. If she does hit the pause button on her career, your wife faces the challenge of getting back into it and being up to speed on advancements in the industry.
5 Ways You Can Deliver Support
Now that you on some level understand the sacrifice your pregnant wife makes, here are some ways you can deliver support to her.
#1: Become an educated future dad on pregnancy
You know those pregnancy books piled on her nightstand? It might be good to pick one up and start reading it. If you really want to score points, read the books with your pregnant wife! The more you learn about the stages of pregnancy, the better prepared you are to support her.
#2: Get involved in the pregnancy
Now that you are informed because you’re reading the books and doing the Google research, you are more prepared to be involved. In as much as possible, attend doctor’s visits and ask questions.
When morning sickness begins, be ready if she needs you. Rub her back, grab the bucket, hold her hair back when she vomits. Do what she asks without complaining. Also, be prepared on a moment’s notice to run to the store and satisfy her food cravings!
A woman feels more secure and prepared for pregnancy when she has your support. She will also feel closer to you. Your pregnant wife wants you to be excited about the process, not just the outcome.
#3: Provide emotional support throughout
Expect your wife’s emotions to be erratic during the course of pregnancy. Hormonal changes do impact mood and emotions. Don’t forget she is going through profound physical changes as well. She does not need you to fix her. Just listen, show empathy, and remind her that you will get through it together.
Be prepared in the event your wife has postpartum depression, commonly known as “baby blues”. You may be confused how she can be “down in the dumps” after having a baby. It may not seem rational to you but you need to respond on an emotional level with some reassurance. Coach her through it by normalizing her feelings and reassuring her they will subside over time. If they don’t, together consult her physician.
#4: Express a newfound attraction to her as a pregnant woman
Women have a special attractiveness during pregnancy often called the “pregnant glow”. Remember, your wife may be hyper-sensitive to her physical appearance during pregnancy. Avoid jokes about her body. Instead, reassure your wife about her attractiveness by commenting on how beautiful she looks outwardly and inwardly.
When it comes to romance during pregnancy, talk about this with your wife. It is common for changes in sexual drive to occur over the course of pregnancy. The best way to navigate through this is to talk. You don’t have to wait to have sex together until the baby is born, however you do need to talk about how to get your needs met.
#5: Share your thoughts and feelings about parenthood
Women love when men open up about their feelings. What better topic than parenthood. Surely you have been processing this internally. It will mean a lot to your pregnant wife if you share these sentiments with her. Hearing you talk about these matters draws her closer to you. It also makes her feel secure and supported in the pregnancy.
Now it’s your turn
So there you have it guys. One thing your pregnant wife needs you to understand and five ways you can deliver on it.
What can you add to the list of ways to support? Feel free to leave a comment below. If you are a future dad facing pregnancy, what is one thing you can focus on right now to support your pregnant wife?