Pregnancy can be a hugely daunting thing for a woman, and often, in their valiant effort to "stay out of the way," partners can be unintentionally pushed to the side. After all, they're not really doing much of the heavy lifting (or, any lifting). But it's important to know how to make your partner feel involved during pregnancy. Not only because you shouldn't be carrying everything on your own, but because your SO might not know how to be a bigger part of this really special time in your life.
According to Parenting, almost every father wants to feel closer to their child, but they often don't know exactly how to carve out a space for themselves. This starts in pregnancy, as many dads feel out-of-place or unnecessary in the whole process. After all, they can't carry the baby for you, and they have to wait to feel kicks and baby movements secondhand.
Fortunately, there's many ways your partner can be an involved parent, even in pregnancy. And, if he's more involved now, there's a good chance he'll feel more confident and knowledgable when the baby does arrive.
Take some time, together, to consider how to create little rituals for your new baby and family; it'll be time well spent.
1. Share In Milestones
You know the first thing you did when you found out you were pregnant was to download a bunch of baby apps that show you just where you are in your pregnancy. Tell your partner to sync up, and download the same ones. When you receive your notifications about baby's weekly growth and progress, it'll be fun for both of you to learn and talk about the developmental aspects of your sweet peach-sized babe.
Melissa, 30, mother of 5-month-old Jake, tells Romper, "When I was pregnant, my husband and I looked forward to those weekly notifications that came up each week. It gave us something to talk about that wasn't anxiety-inducing, and made sure we were both aware of all the awesome changes happening to our little boy."
2. Attend Appointments Together
If it's feasible for you both to be at your routine OB-GYN check ups, it's a good way for dad to be involved, according to Fit Pregnancy. Your partner will be able to hear your baby's heartbeat, see them on the ultrasound screen, get a briefing on your prenatal care, and be able to have their own questions and concerns addressed by the doctor.
Attending appointments together wasn't an easy thing for Nina, mother of a 2-year-old and a newborn, and her husband. "We're both doctors," she tells Romper, "so getting us both at the same appointment was tricky. But, those times he could make it, it meant so much to both of us. He was so excited, and I loved seeing that."
3. Celebrate Both Of You
As Parents mentioned, baby showers are no longer expected to be a lady-only affair. Throw a party that's reflective of both of you, and invite all of your friends and family to celebrate. Create the baby registry together, and let your partner take the lead on research on many of the big-ticket items (like car seats, strollers, cribs). You might be pleasantly surprised by how seriously he takes this responsibility.
"I was really shocked at how serious my husband was about finding the perfect car seat and stroller for our babies," Helen, mom of twin 2-year-old girls, tells Romper. "He researched endlessly and read every review. It was really adorable, albeit slightly obsessive. It made him feel really invested in what was to come."
4. Make Reading A Family Routine
Unborn babies can hear outside voices, and later, are able to recognize them. Make sure your little one is hearing your partner's voice, as well as yours. Reading books, or singing, to your babe together daily is a great way to do this, and it helps you build a routine that you can keep in place after baby is born.
"We'd do a mini routine before bed when I was pregnant," Rachel, mom of 2-month-old Bear, tells Romper. "Rob was in charge of reading the bedtime books, and we still read the same ones now that Bear's here. It seems to calm him down after his bath and change, which he doesn't love."
5. Don't Forget The Dates
As Parents noted, life is not going to calm down after your little one arrives. Make time to connect as a couple, and spend some quality time together, whether it be taking a short vacation, going out to dinner, or spending quiet time at home. Create conversation, and share your hopes, worries, and dreams for your new little family.
Katie, mom of three young girls, says to Romper, "Date nights with my husband when I was pregnant were my favorite thing. Before we had our first, we'd spend so much time talking about all the dreams we had for our baby. And, in my second pregnancy, it was so nice to have some time away together again, and chat about how our family would change with the twins on the way."
Taking these little steps to make your partner feel involved can really help both of you. If your SO seems nervous or anxious, talk about it — this is a huge change for them, too, even if they aren't the ones carrying the baby.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries: