Before experiencing childbirth there are many different questions that arise in the mind of parents and fathers often wonder what they can do to contribute towards helping their partners and take on a more active role during pregnancy and after.
This blog post will discuss what fathers can do to improve the pregnancy of their partners and also deal with their own struggles and feelings regarding this new, monumental change in the lives of the family.
Physically there is a lot a father can do beforehand but we are going to be focussing on emotionally how fathers can create a safe and supportive environment for both the mother and the child to grow up in.
Your feelings are valid: The first and foremost thing for new fathers to realise is that all the feelings of stress, anxiety and frustration they feel are completely normal. Since men don’t undergo biological changes during pregnancy they might feel that the stress they are feeling is completely unwarranted, but this is not the case. As with any big and prominent change in our lives, welcoming a child can feel very stressful for both parents. The feelings of stress and anxiety we feel are completely valid, if you are feeling large amounts of stress you can try destressing by taking walks, listening to calming music, or talking about your feelings with people around you.
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Empathy: Empathy is the feeling of putting yourself in another person’s situation and trying to help them based on what they would need. It is very very important to treat your partner and those around you with empathy. Empathy will help you improve your relationship with your partner but also those around you. For example, your partner is finding it difficult to plan ahead of the pregnancy and hospital visits, help her plan it and be sure to come along with her, so you are well equipped with guidance to help her through this. Asking absurd questions and making fun of your partner’s changing body and cravings etc makes the entire situation harder for your partner to deal with. It can make them insecure and unconfident and lose their patience which will lead to unnecessary arguments and even be a cause of stress that can impact them negatively.
You are in this together: Both you and your partner have to understand that the pregnancy is the responsibility of both parents and both of you play an important role for the growth and development of the child. It might feel difficult for fathers to connect to the pregnancy but as long as they put in effort to empathize with their partner and prepare themselves it will work out. Setting couple goals and achieving them together will help new parents realise that there is no point in wasting time to argue when both of you are in the same team and are striving to achieve the same goals whatever those goals may be. Having the same set of priorities makes couples feel even more connected as with clear communication they have a definite end result. Working towards that makes you bond and makes you closer than ever before. Clearing out the differences in your opinions is also very important as if you don’t those negative feelings will just worsen the situation. So clearing out your differences and making sure you do not argue can make you feel closer and create a more loving and safe environment for your child to grow up in.
Get involved: Getting involved can help you feel more included and increase baby bonding between the father and the child. Simple things like listening in when you hear the baby kick, speaking to the baby, getting informed by doing reading, attending natal classes etc can make you feel more connected to the baby and also prepares you on what to expect during and after pregnancy. Helping your partner out by listening to her concerns and sorting them out only brings you closer together. Helping your partner eat a balanced and healthy diet is extremely crucial. Your partner will not be able to smoke or drink, so it can help her if you quit as well. This helps with your overall health as well. Even doing small things like planning her hospital visits and coming along with her and talking to the doctor about the doubts you have, will make you feel more secure and confident in this situation. Helping her shop for what she requires is a small but very easy way to help her and to get more involved. This could be shopping for household items like groceries or maybe vitamins and medication she may require for an easy pregnancy.
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Concentrate on emotional groundwork as compared to physical: Most new fathers ask physical questions like how do we carry the baby or how do we change it, this is important for sure but what they fail to realise is that within a short amount of time, they will learn these things. Learning how to put the baby to sleep or change it can be mastered in a very small time frame whereas learning how to bond with the baby or how to make the environment of your home more loving and supportive is an endeavour that can take a long time to do. It is very important to ask all the questions you have, but being emotionally secure with your children is something that will affect them throughout their lives.
Buy minimum products: While going through pregnancy, you are often bombarded with product recommendations from your family, your friends and even on social media. While some products are important like diapers, feeding bottles etc, some of them are just marketing gimmicks and some might work for others but not for you and your partner. It is important to consider the situation of your partner and you while purchasing items that add value and are necessary for yourselves. This cuts down on clutter and also stops you from spending money on products you do not require.
Improving your financial situation: It is very important to prepare ahead of having a baby and making sure your financial situation is feasible for both you and your partner and the new baby is extremely crucial. Having a baby is very expensive and by saving a little and trying to earn a little more income will have you feeling more secure. It can be financially stressful to have a baby so earning a little extra money from maybe a side job or savings can help ease the burden. It is the right time to start improving the situation before you have a baby as once you have the baby, there will be more responsibilities and time constraints, so you will not be able to improve your situation then. Planning ahead of time regarding money is and I repeat very crucial.
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