‘She’s expecting’ is a common phrase future parents hear. However, what future dads should be expecting has been all but the focal point when it comes to both pregnancy and parenthood. Since women are the ones who carry the child for nine months, give birth, are the sole source of baby’s nourishment until the little ones are ready for a change in their diet, the fathers pretty much out of the picture most of the time. But dads-to-be need attention too, and very often they experience ‘baby blues’ both during the pregnancy and afterwards. Preparation for this major life change is equally important for both parents, and here are some solid facts all men should know once they find out about the bun in the oven.
Being pregnant brings about changes in behavior of women. Some of them are caused by the hormonal balance (or imbalance for that matter), so expect your partner to react in a different way than you’re used to. The sooner you realize this – the better. It would be ideal if you could read her mind, but since this is not possible, try to read the little signs and learn as much as you can along the way. Her moodiness may not be even remotely related to you, and if you feel she needs some space, it’s better to let her be than force questions like ‘what did I do wrong?’ until she snaps at you to leave her alone. It just might be ‘one of those days’ and tomorrow everything will be forgotten. So relax and don’t take it personally. Let her know you’re there for her and spend a quiet evening at home. Mind you, if leaving the house doesn’t seem like a good idea at the time, then it probably isn’t.
Do not forget about your own wellbeing
Ok, you’re ‘the dad’ and with that title you’re considered to be the one who gives constant support and whose emotions are not seen as important as the one’s who’s giving birth. This is simply not true, and you should be aware that you are not expected to be completely subdued to your partner. You’ll have bad days at work, you’ll feel moody yourself, you’ll be tired of walking on eggshells to keep the peace in the house. Do not ignore your own wellbeing and take care of your mental health. If you notice you’re experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, sleeping problems or you’re reaching out to substances such as drugs or alcohol as a form of escapism, do not hesitate to seek help. After all, you’re only human and it’s for the overall health of the whole family.
‘Pregnancy brain’ is a real thing
Be prepared for what many call ‘the pregnancy brain’, which means that the future mother of your child will be more prone to forgetting little things such as where she left her wallet or that she had an appointment scheduled. This brain fog has been attributed to severe hormonal shifts happening during pregnancy, and it doesn’t mean that she just can’t be bothered to remember where she parked the car. Hormones, lack of sleep or stress are all factors that might cause this, so a little bit of understanding will go a long way here, before things get back to normal.
Changes in eating habits
More often than not, women experience different desires concerning food while pregnant. They’ll have stronger urges to eat, and a relaxed way of handling meals you have got used to will not apply anymore. There probably won’t be an hour long lag between ‘I’m hungry’ and actually sitting down to eat; she’ll need food right away, and it would often be something that she might not have liked or eaten as much before. Food cravings are completely normal during pregnancy, and you should know that you might be gaining weight as well. Eating often with your partner or feeling the same cravings may result in significant weight gain, so don’t let that surprise you.
In general, pregnancy is a wonderful period and an introduction to a whole new chapter in your life. Support your partner, but don’t forget about yourself either. There has to be a certain level of understanding on both parts in order for things to run smoothly.