You are in this together.
how you are supposed to think and feel but that's
not how it can be sometimes. Pregnancy can be a confusing
time for a lot of men – in less than nine months
you have to make all the arrangements for the big
change coming your way. Very often men get overwhelmed
by the expectations as they watch the future mother
visibly growing. It doesn't help that she expresses
herself in a variety of ways that is beyond your comprehension!
• Understanding Hormones
First try and understand the driving force behind
those erratic expressions. From conception and during
pregnancy hormones play a significant part both physically
and emotionally. One day your wife can be bright and
chirpy and the next she may depressed and sullen.
Most of the time because of the incorrect balance,
the behavior change of your wife is beyond her control.
This fact needs emphasizing, because she does feel
guilty for the fluctuating emotions she displays which
are not even within her control.
• Ante-natal Depression happens
Yes, depression can happen even before the baby arrives!
Not much is written about it but it does exist for
some women. It stems from uncertainty; there are times
she may wish she never got pregnant at all, she doesn't
know if she wants the baby, she can get irritated
by all the hoopla created over the pregnancy. At such
times she may feel cut off, and alone.
• Assumptions, Assumptions!
Do not assume that your partner understands the anxieties
you are feeling just as you do not quite understand
what she is going through. You are bound to worry
about many things: your partner's health, your baby,
rising costs and finances, and concerns as to whether
or not you will have alone time with your partner
again! Talk about them openly and make her aware instead
of bottling up and assuming that she should know about
Over to You, the Partner
Some understanding, crumbs of caring, grains of acceptance
and morsels of sharing helps. This is not going to
be easy but as her partner you can't just be a bystander.
You can certainly do something about it – two
things that will be helpful to the expectant father
are humor and honesty. Develop a sense of humor if
you don't already have one. Laugh over things together.
Your wife will go through a whole range of moods:
snappy at times, bubbly during others and teary next.
Take it in your stride whenever you can because it
will pass – understand that it is pregnancy-related.
• Give comfort (not sex!),
reassure her and boost her sagging confidence. She
really needs your support and dedication. Show your
love by taking her out on a date! Showing her you
are committed to her, the pregnancy and the baby will
help her regain her confidence.
• Try and get to know what is going
with her, the whole pregnancy thing. Be
involved by going with her to ante-natal classes,
doctor's appointments (especially if it is your first
baby). Educate yourself and share what you have read
and learned with your partner. Inquire around on what
is to be expected from friends etc. You will astound
her with your knowledge and make her more appreciative
of you. Keep the lines of communication open with
your partner and show appreciation of being involved
in such an important event in your life.
• Accept that it can be a long wait
(9 months is a long time) and the wait can feel especially
tedious when your partner goes through frequent mood
swings, becomes temperamental or emotional over nothing.
Not easy but certainly doable. On the flip side this
is the time to plan and make all the preparations
(once the baby arrives, it's a whole new scenario!)
• Learn to share with each other.
Once she knows you understand her feelings, she will
open up with you. Likewise you need to be open about
your fears, anxieties instead of hiding behind a tough
front. While both you and your partner may have doubts
and uncertainties over hard issues, masking your true
feelings will only make things harder and even possibly
cause a drift.
• Understand and adapt to the changes.
All partners argue, pregnant or not. Sometimes it
can inevitably stretch into something ugly because
she is not her 'normal' self. Be steady and tide the
emotional waves coming your way. Although your hormones
are intact, you face similar anxieties. Don't discount
the other's feelings but let each other know you are
there to support, no matter what the problem is.
• Pay attention to her diet.
Help her eat right; it's a great way to contribute
to her and the baby's good health. You can eat healthy
foods and that way encourage her to do the same. Quitting
bad habits like smoking, drinking and avoiding junkie
foods is no less than a sacrifice, but hey it pays
in the long run for everyone involved.
• Talk time with your partner.
Plan a time when you can both talk. Take turns to
talk and allow each other to talk fully. Once she
has been heard, she will be willing to hear your concerns.
There is a possibility that she may be secretly concerned
about you despite her dismissive attitude. For instance,
the idea that you may be having second thoughts about
the whole pregnancy may cross her mind and worry her.
The chance to talk may remove doubts and give peace
to both of you.
• Help around when you can.
One approach is to take charge of food shopping and
sometimes meal preparation. Fix healthy meals and
cut back on fast food when you eat out. Help around
with chores without being asked; there are jobs she
may find cumbersome doing in this state. Your contribution
and willingness to share household responsibilities
will go a long way to making you both feel unified
in this venture together.