Involving your partner in your pregnancy
Often times the focus of pregnancy is so much on the mum that partners may feel a bit left out of the process. Although the physical,hormonal,and emotional changes are happening to you, involving your partner in the journey will strengthen their confidence as a future parent. They are just as excited about the upcoming arrival as you are, and making them feel a part of it all, is important. Here are some ways:
1. Attend your antenatal care appointments together
You may be feeling the morning sickness and your expanding belly, but your partner is not. Include your partner in the antenatal appointments. Hearing a heartbeat and seeing the sonograms allows your partner to see what’s going on— it makes it all the more magical and real that there is a miniature human growing inside of you! Conflicting schedules may not allow you both to be present for every single appointment, but make sure to arrange the important ones around both your availabilities. Having your partner feel informed about the stages of your pregnancy will put you both at ease.
2. Consider a joint announcement or shower
Traditionally, the baby shower has been the expecting mum’s event. A great way to involve your partner is to have a joint announcement or shower, where both of you can have all your friends and family present for the big reveal. Celebrating together can make your partner feel like they are an equal part of the pregnancy. Another event that’s becoming more popular is the diaper party, aimed at fathers-to-be. If you want to have separate events, organizing something where your partner can have their own day in the spotlight can really nurture their participation in the pregnancy.
3. Include your partner when making your birth plan
As much as labour and birth are your time to shine, your partner may want to participate. This can take form in many shapes; from being your support for changing positions during labour, acting as breathing coach, to cutting the umbilical cord. Discussing how each of you expects the delivery to go can help you assess in what ways your partner can contribute, or what they may not be comfortable with. This part may also prompt discourse on topics like circumcision, vaccination, and figuring out the financial aspects of your birth preferences. Read more on how to make a birth plan here.
4. Talk about finances
Little bub’s going to come with expenses. Do you want to hire a doula for your birth? What about decorating the nursery? Private or public natal care? Between the pram and the millions of other expenditures, you may want to sit down and plan with your partner. It can be helpful determining essential versus non-essential expenses by making a list. Creating a budget will give you more insight into the bigger picture and bring to light some costs you may have overlooked. Will your partner take leave after baby is born, and will it be paid by their employer or will you apply with Centrelink? Your partner can contribute their ideas and concerns and feel more involved in the process.
5. Let them keep track of things
Between the appointments, food cravings, aches, pains, and millions of other changes and things to keep track of; pregnancy is taxing on both the body and mind. Ask or let your partner volunteer to keep up with some of these things. It’s reassuring for you when your memory fails about whether you can eat Brie cheese, or when the next antenatal class is, and your partner can feel helpful if they know the answers. Having them take notes during doctor’s appointments, or keeping a journal on your behalf will make them feel like you’re going through the pregnancy together.
6. Get them to participate in the shopping
Having your partner make decisions about what pram or crib or car-seat to get for bub will empower them as a parent. Encourage your partner to come shopping with you and pick out what items they are most drawn to, and then deliberate. Both of you will have to use these products, so making the choices and learning together is a good idea.It can also open up discussion about what values you want to bring once baby is born. Will the nursery be gender neutral or will everything be pink for the little princess? Picking out the baby clothes together can give you understanding of your partner’s views.
7. Dole out some duties
If your partner is feeling a bit lost in how they can feel involved in the pregnancy, have them be in charge of certain aspects. If your cravings are through the roof, perhaps they can be the snack monitor. If they’re pretty handy, they can take the task of assembling the baby furniture and stocking the nursery with essentials. As your bump continues to grow bigger, some of your previous responsibilities can become increasingly more stressful. Don’t be hesitant in asking your partner to help you as the pregnancy progresses. Whether it’s taking over physical tasks, household paper work, or planning family visits; your partner will be glad to get started.
8. Spend time together
Pregnancy can get pretty busy as you prepare for the arrival of your baby, and life beyond. Your relationship can sometimes take a back seat as the appointments and planning take over. It’s important to nurture your partnership and make it a priority to spend time together. Once bub comes, it may become a little too hectic to go on a movie date or to your favourite restaurant. Take the time to do those things together now. While your partner may be taking in the excitement of pregnancy, let them know what they can do to support you. Communicate your needs in the relationship, make sure to ask your partner about theirs, and strengthen your bond. Your partner may have their own dreams and fears and worries about when baby comes, and it’s wise to tackle and talk about them ahead of time. Share your own. Both of you can feel more supported when your concerns are out in the open.
Remember that although you are the vessel, this is a journey you’re on together. Your companion is not just your partner in crime, but a partner in your pregnancy, and they’re just as excited as you are. Make the best of this special time!