Comedian Rita Rudner was right on point when she said, “Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside.” Although women share the bulk of the physical burden during pregnancy, men face their own set of challenges. Expectant fathers with a little bit of knowledge and a willingness to pitch in where needed can play an integral role in the nine months leading up to the baby’s arrival.
Men Can Feel Pregnant, Too
Although your wife is the one that is pregnant, you may start to see your belly grow along with hers. Don’t panic. You are experiencing couvade syndrome, and it is a real problem for anywhere from 11 to 65 percent of expectant fathers, according to Pregnancy Weekly. While some men experience only mild symptoms, others may suffer from nausea, vomiting, insomnia, heartburn, backaches and mood swings. While no one has been able to definitively pinpoint a cause, there is a simple cure–childbirth. In most cases, all symptoms disappear immediately after childbirth. If you begin to experience this syndrome, the best treatment is go with the flow, empathize with your wife and indulge your latest food cravings.
Face Your Fears
If this is your first child, you may be worrying about how you are going to pay for his college education, whether you will be the father you want to be and how you will react if there are any problems with the pregnancy or delivery. You are not alone. Expectant fathers face seven common fears, according to clinical psychologist and author Dr. Jerrold Lee Shapiro. These fears include whether they are able to protect or provide for their family, whether they will perform properly during labor and delivery, questions about paternity, fear of death, worries about their partner’s health and the health of the baby, stress about whether the relationship with their partner will last and a generalized fear about obstetrics and gynecology. Talking to a friend who has children may help. If the fears become overwhelming, take a deep breath and seek professional counseling.
Treat Her Like a Queen
Your partner’s body is going through tremendous physical and hormonal changes. Her waistline is a thing of the past, and she may experience severe mood swings and food cravings she cannot control. As the pregnancy progresses, she may become overwhelmed with everything that has to get done to prepare for the new baby, and she is probably wondering whether you will ever find her attractive again. Step in and assure her through your actions that she is not in this pregnancy alone and that she is still a beautiful woman.
The YeahBaby website suggests pitching in with the chores around the house like cleaning, cooking and completing the nursery. Set aside quality time for the two of you; take her out on a date, cook her a gourmet meal or simply give her a much-needed foot massage. A nice bouquet of her favorite flowers is sure to put a smile on her face and make her feel special at the same time.
- pregnant image by Andrii Oleksiienko from Fotolia.com