My husband, Erik, and I both wanted him to very involved in my pregnancy once we found out that we were expecting. Some things we knew, right from the get-go, he was going to do. Others happened more organically. But if you are an expectant mama looking to include your partner more, or a partner looking for ways you can be more involved, check out these seven ideas below:
Be a part of developing the parenting approach
Hopefully, you have already had conversations about how you plan to parent, but if not, now is the time to do it! Don’t wait until the baby is already here; you will be too tired and emotionally drained. Plus, you might suddenly find that you have lots of people telling you how to parent your child. So you might want to make sure that you are in agreement with one another before you start listening to other people’s voices.
For instance, one topic you might want to discuss is sleep. How will you approach it? Are you going to try sleep training or not? Where will the baby sleep? Who will tend to the baby during the night? See, these are just a few questions about a very tiny aspect of parenting. You have a lot to discuss; you better start now!
Help create the birth plan
Talk with each other about the birth plan. If you don’t know what some things are, like Vitamin K shots, research them together. Make sure that you are on the same page when it comes to your birth plan. Discuss your expectations AND your fears. Watch videos together of other women having the type of birth that you want. It will probably help clarify your plan even more.
Interview the doula
It is the doula’s job to support the partner. So when we set about hiring one, it seemed only natural that Erik should be in charge of the interview. We wanted to make sure that we had someone that he felt like he could work with. Don’t get me wrong; I needed to make sure I liked her too, but Erik was ultimately the one to make the finalskin-to-skinout who would be there helping him.
Every day, I had belly balm put on my stomach, but I never once applied it myself. Erik always did it for me. Did I really need him to apply it? No, I could have easily done it myself, but it was an easy way for him to bond with our LO (little one) and with me. He also gave me foot massages, rubbed my back, and helped me with my prenatal exercises. All of these things helped him to feel more included.
Be the entertainer
Consider reading to your LO now. It can be anything, not just children’s books. Erik was working on his Ph.D. while we were expecting (he’s still working on his Ph.D.!), and he always had to read. So he just read aloud to my belly instead!
But don’t be limited by books. You can also develop playlists and be the baby’s DJ. Or get into deep, thought-provoking (albeit one-sided) conversations now. In fact, some of my favorite moments were when Erik would speak to my tummy, I’d start to say something, and he would interrupt me. He would always exclaim, with a twinkle in his eye, “Why are you listening? I’m not talking to you!”
Befriend the Ob-Gyn
I love my Ob-Gyn, Dr. Chang. Not only was he an incredible doctor to me, but to Erik as well. Every appointment, he would sit down and have just a couple of minutes of one-on-one time with Erik, answering any of his questions and alleviating any of his concerns. Your Ob-Gyn might not naturally offer to do that, but you can always request it! Create a list of questions or topics before the appointment starts and speak up!
Have skin-to-skin (aka kangaroo care)
Many moms know the importance of skin-to-skin contact (see here), but it is important for partners to have skin-to skin as well. So one of the things Erik packed in his hospital bag was a Onepiece. He made sure not to wear a shirt underneath, and once our daughter was born, he unzipped it and held her to his bare chest. And he continued to do it when she was first born and still tries to do it now (although she squirms and gets out of it).
So there you have it! Seven ways that your partner can become more involved in your pregnancy.
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And now I want to hear from you! How did you get your partner involved? What would you do the same or differently if you were pregnant again?
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