Category Archives: Resources for Dads

So Your Wife is Expecting: A Guide for Expectant Fathers

So Your Wife is Expecting: A Guide for Expectant Fathers

What was your gut reaction the moment your wife found out she was pregnant? A huge smile. Anxious butterflies. Or maybe a mix of both. Whether your new baby is your first child or your fifth, preparing for your newest family member takes a physical, mental, and emotional toll.

There are thousands of resources for expectant mothers, but resources for expectant fathers are few and far between. Dads need advice, too. You have to navigate your own issues while also trying to support and encourage your pregnant wife or life partner. We don’t want you to go it alone.

Here are seven things that every expectant father should know

Your hormones are changing, too

The media makes it exceedingly clear that expectant mothers have changing hormones that cause mood swings, strange cravings, and physical changes. People don’t talk about the fact that expectant fathers experience changes in their hormones as well. A University of Michigan study observed a decrease in the testosterone levels of expectant fathers. This hormone change works in your favor, helping you better care for your wife and newborn.

Your support matters

It’s true that your body is not the one growing and sustaining a new life, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a role in the pregnancy process. Use these nine months to practice supporting your pregnant wife. Having a baby, or adding another child to your family, will change your partnership. Lay the groundwork for a strong support system now. Be ready with crackers and seltzer when morning sickness turns into all-day sickness.  Change your schedule to accommodate your wife’s needs. Offer a shoulder to cry on and a huge hug when pregnancy just feels too overwhelming. Stock the fridge with your wife’s latest cravings.  Preparing for a successful partnership starts today.

It’s okay to feel nervous

Being a supportive partner does not mean that you have to have it all together. It’s normal for expectant fathers to feel anxiety throughout the pregnancy. From concerns about being able to afford a child to worries about the health of your pregnant wife, there are many topics that can be a cause for concern. That’s okay. Acknowledge those anxieties and address them as needed. Whatever you do, don’t ignore them. Pent up anxiety is not productive for you, your wife, or your new baby.

Be in the know

Your pregnant wife’s body is changing on a daily basis. You’ll be a better partner if you have a general idea of what’s going on. Download an app or subscribe to an email newsletter that sends regular updates. They will provide you with the insights that you need to be empathetic towards your partner. These resources are a great starting point:

  • Pregnancy+ – Serves as your guide through pregnancy with daily updates and advice
  • Glow Nurture – This one allows you to receive updates based on the data your wife inputs, making it even easier to anticipate her needs
  • Baby Center –  Get weekly pregnancy updates delivered to your inbox each week

Take care of yourself

The health of your wife feels like it take priority now, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. It seems easier in the moment to skip the gym or to order greasy takeout three nights a week. In the long run, healthier choices pay off. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits will help you combat anxiety, boost your mood, and give you the energy to love your growing family well. Build positive lifestyle practices now so that you can be around for the births of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Find your community

There are some questions that only people who have been there can answer. Find the people whose answers you trust. This can be internet experts, friends, relatives, online communities or a mix of all four. For questions such as Did your wife do this when she was pregnant? or Which crib is the easiest to put together?, knowing where to go is half the battle. These resources can guide you as you continue in your parenting journey. Here are a few online resources that expectant fathers will appreciate:

  • What to Expect – You’ll find resources for expectant mothers and expectant fathers alike
  • Mr. Dad – Mr. Dad feels like getting advice from your older, wiser friend
  • Parenting.com – Parenting has a section just for fathers that will offer advice for years to come

So Your Wife is Expecting: A Guide for Expectant Fathers

Reflect

Take time to think about what fatherhood means to you. If you already have children, reflect on any changes you would like to make to improve the experience of your newest addition. Start the process on your own, and then have open and honest conversations with your wife. These nine months give you time to align your thoughts as a team so there are fewer ideological surprises when the new baby arrives.

Hopefully you feel more equipped for your journey as an expectant father. Is there a piece of advice that has helped you? Share it in the comments below.

It Takes Two: Supporting Your Spouse in Pregnancy

It Takes Two: Supporting Your Spouse in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and terrifying phases in a couple’s relationship. On one hand, you’re celebrating milestones and preparing for a new life. On the other, you’re experiencing hormonal changes and stressing out about the the pregnancy or the rest of your life with an additional family member.

Society often talks about the difficulties of pregnancy for women: fatigue, mood swings, joint pain. We’ve even explored the changes that expectant fathers experience. What we fail to address is the difficulty of navigating the relationship of expectant mothers and fathers in the midst of so many changes.  Without special care, these emotions and transitions lead to attitudes and actions that lay a rocky foundation for life after pregnancy. It also can negatively impact the health of your new baby.

Research reported in Newsweek shows that children whose mothers had high stress during pregnancy “exhibit[ed] heightened levels of anxiousness compared to other children.”  They also may have a weaker immune system, according to March of Dimes.

Don’t fall into patterns that can cause emotional and physical harm in your relationship.

Set these ground rules to minimize stress in your partnership and to create an environment of spousal support

Don’t Assume

There’s an old adage about what happens when you make assumptions. Suffice it to say that assuming isn’t productive. You create an (often incorrect) story about a situation and then act as if that story is 100% true. Whenever you hear a thought that starts with “I bet…” or “He/she probably…”, opt to ask your partner directly.They are coming from a good place, more often than not. Assumptions breed bitterness unnecessarily instead of fostering support during the pregnancy.

Give yourself space

This advice is true of any partnership, but it’s especially noteworthy in pregnancy, as hormones are changing rapidly. The best part of a strong partnership is the security you have in the relationship. You should be comfortable spending time alone, knowing that you’ll come back as an even better partner. Show spousal support by encouraging your partner to participate hobbies they enjoy or to treat themselves to whatever quiet time they find most beneficial. That could be yoga, a facial, a walk in the park, or a massage. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is let your partner take over the bedroom for a self-indulgent nap.

It Takes Two: Supporting Your Spouse in Pregnancy

This show of support in pregnancy diffuses tension and stops arguments before they begin.

Overcommunicate

You know your partner pretty well at this point, but there is always room to improve communication. Go beyond not making assumptions, as mentioned earlier. Proactively share your thoughts. Tell your spouse why you decided to change your morning routine. There’s no way for them to know that you get headaches and feel clouded in the morning unless you tell them.

Similarly, communicate your intentions. You cooked salmon tonight because it’s good for the baby’s development, and the Omega-3 can boost the mood of your partner. There are little ways that you show your partner that you love them each day. Communicating your intentions ensures the love is received. It also mitigates the risk of a stressful fight if your spousal support isn’t perceived the way you intended for it to be.

And, most importantly, communicate your love. Tell your partner that you love them and why. Let them know that you’re excited to have them as your partner in parenthood. It’s all too easy to forget these simple truths when you’re awash in emotion.

Take a break from pregnancy

Is the baby the only thing you’re talking about? It’s probably time to take a break from pregnancy. Put away your paint swatches for the nursery and your books on parenting styles. Spend a night being the couple that made this child’s life possible. This can mean spending a night on the town enjoying all of your shared interests. It can also mean spending a night binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix. Rediscover the activities you love as a couple, and make time each week to participate in them. This time away from pregnancy talk will make you even more excited to raise a child with one of your favorite people.

Choose to love

There are times when you will be annoyed at your partner. You’ll feel that they’re not being empathetic about your feelings. They’ll think you’re being unreasonable. It happens to the strongest of couples. Choose love over being right or winning the argument. When you’re tempted to offer a jabbing quip, ask yourself, “What can I do that will strengthen our partnership?” More often than not, the answer is to listen. Actively listen to the concerns, joys, and fears your partner shares with you. Ask questions. Offer a hug or a cuddle.

Remember that, even when your partner feels like the adversary, you’re a team. You entered this adventure of pregnancy and parenthood together, and you’ll be successful by mutually supporting one another.

What is your favorite way to offer spousal support to your partner? We want to hear your stories and tips in the comments below.