Hey, pregnant lady. I see you suffering from swollen ankles and back pain while you fold tiny laundry for your little bundle of joy. You have a lot to prepare for. There are the practicalities of setting up a nursery, the upcoming physical challenges of labor and delivery, and the emotional anticipation that comes when you're expecting a new baby. So do I think your every whim should be catered to? Hell yes. You have a lot on your plate, so make sure the list of things your partner should do before the baby is born is extensive and detailed.
I am not the best at being pregnant, so I really have to hand it to my husband. He was a great source of support, especially in the third trimester and as my due date approached. From bringing home take-out when I was too tired to cook to righteous indignation about harassment at work to making me feel appreciated, the guy was pretty much a stud. His involvement in my pregnancy also showed me what a great dad he would be.
This is not to say that I didn't want to kill him on occasion. I was, after all, pregnant. However, the things he did for me definitely helped temper my, well, temper. They're not mind-readers (as they so love to remind us), so help your partner out with the following demands. I mean, suggestions.
Partners, just rub her damn feet. For real. Massage her shoulders. Feed her grapes. After all, she's growing a human child. She deserves some red carpet treatment. If you're not comfortable doling it out yourself, send your special lady to the spa. A good mani/pedi or facial may be just what the doctor ordered.
Send You Flowers At Work Just Because
Is there anyone who doesn't love getting flowers at work? I mean, when you're a fan of attention, like me, the whole point is for other people to see them. I loved getting called to the main office over the intercom because I had a special delivery, or when the secretary brought it down the hall so I didn't have to waddle down there myself. The best part was the special message from my hubby and his words of encouragement and pride.
Let You Sleep
Once that baby is here, you won't be getting a full night's sleep for a long time. Sorry. You will learn that you can, in fact, live off coffee alone. Partners should be sympathetic to your imminent future as well as the fatigue you currently feel. (What did I do today? I grew lungs, thanks for asking.) Now is not the time to wake you up early for a refreshing hike, OK?
Take You Out On A Hot Date
Especially if this is your first baby, because it might be awhile before you have another night on the town (experienced parents be like, "I saw a movie in 2011"). When I was in my third trimester, I got all gussied up (rented dress, hair done) for my first military ball. We had pictures taken and enjoyed a delicious meal, and my spouse didn't complain at all when I wanted to go home at 9:00.
Put Together All The Things
I don't want to reinforce gender stereotypes here. It's not that I can't set up the bassinet myself (I've built IKEA furniture, y'all). It's that I don't want to. If there's some assembly required, someone besides the pregnant woman should be doing it. So when it came to building the crib, I handed the instruction manual to my husband.
Install The Car Seat
Familiarize Themselves With Your Birth Plan
When you're in the throes of labor, you're going to need an advocate. Your partner should know whether you prefer to have an episiotomy, if you're planning to get an epidural, and what positions you'd like to birth in. They'll also need to run interference if, say, you'd rather not have your mother in the delivery room.
Accompany You To Classes
I don't care if your partner isn't going to be breastfeeding, they still need to support you in that effort (it actually makes a huge difference), and going to class is a great way to learn how. My husband and I attended classes at the hospital on newborn care, childbirth, and infant CPR. It made for some long Saturdays, but hey, we're a team.
Do A Test Run To The Hospital
The last thing an expectant mother wants is to get in the car to head to the hospital and find that there's traffic or construction. Partners should plan ahead by doing a trial run and familiarizing themselves with alternate routes. Believe me, you don't want to have to deal with GPS "recalculating" in between contractions.
Pack A Bag
You have your own bag to pack, so assuming your partner is a grown-ass man or woman, they can take care of their own. They'll need a change of clothes, toothbrush, camera, and snacks (you're not packing that sh*t when the mere thought of beef jerky makes you queasy). Bonus points if they sneak in some extra treats for you (massager, iPod, deck of cards, new robe).
Prepare A Contact List
When mom is in recovery, she's going to be 100 percent focused on that baby. It's up to you to send out text messages, pictures, and social media updates. Make sure you know who gets what information, so you don't send the hospital room number out to her least favorite co-worker.
Read A Baby Book
Why is it that mom is the one who has to do all the reading? Sure, it's happening to her body, but parenting is a partnership. Honestly, this is the one thing my husband wasn't great at. It would have been nice to have him say, "I see your linea negra has appeared," instead of, "WTF is that line on your belly?"
He insisted he read The Everything There is to Know About Babies Ever book, which naturally, he co-wrote. When I forced a newborn care article on him, his response was, "Wow. Babies are really gross."
Shhhh. Don't speak. Is the pregnant woman in your life being completely illogical? Unreasonable, perhaps? Channel your inner Elsa and let it go. Remember (and this will help you throughout your relationship), she's not necessarily looking for you to "fix" it. She just wants you to listen.
I'm all about a household with shared duties. For example, I usually cook, and my husband does the dishes. We each do our own laundry. But when a woman is pregnant, the fetus inside her is sucking all of her energy. She needs a partner who can pick up the slack (and scoop the litter box).
Brag About You In Public
I feel like the best compliments are the ones you're given in front of other people (but then again, I like being the center of attention). During my husband's promotion ceremony a few weeks before my due date, he talked about how I am the one who makes our family.
There are many ways to support your pregnant partner. Perhaps the most important is making sure she knows, through your actions and words, that you love her to the moon and back.