Women, The Heroes
Pregnancy is often hailed as the most wondrous of miracles. The experience of giving life, nurturing it and feeling it grow within your body is nothing short of a phenomenal. The ability to grow life is thought highly of and is perceived by many, both men and women alike, to be the ultimate measure of womanhood. As such, women who are pregnant are raised on pedestals and treated with such concern and respect.
Men, The Bystanders
Men, on the other hand, are rarely acknowledged for their part in this miracle of life. Unfortunately, most men, whether by their own choice or because they may have been unwittingly left out, behold the unfolding miracle of pregnancy merely from the sidelines.
Men, simply because they are not the ones who go through the physical process of pregnancy, are deprived of the opportunity to share the experience as active participants, and are often relegated to mere bystanders. As such, men can only speculate on the ups and downs and twists and turns of their partner’s pregnancy, often at a loss and in the dark about what really goes on.
This state of affairs, however, is not forged in stone and can be changed, should both the man and his partner desire it. Some of the many big and little things that a man can do in order to become more of an equal partner in this life-giving endeavor are listed below:
- Extend your patience. Your wife or partner will be going through a tough roller coaster ride of emotions that she herself might not understand. Additional doses of hormones in her body cause her to be more sensitive and quick to shift moods, especially during the first and last trimesters of pregnancy.
- Be aware and remind your partner of her needs and schedules such as taking vitamins, partaking of meals and visits to the obstetrician. Keeping track of schedules in preparation for the coming baby is not your partner’s sole responsibility. You can do your part by scheduling appointments for the two of you to visit the doctor, preparing nutritious meals for her and joining her in eating so that she is sure to get the necessary extra ration of nutrients, and being the one to give her vitamins when they are due.
- Ease your partner’s load. Volunteer to take on some of the chores. Surprise your partner with a tidy kitchen or a cooked meal that she can simply sit back to and enjoy.
- Attend prenatal classes together. There are but a few things better than having a shared understanding of present changes and discovering the wonders that lie ahead together. Learning about the experience of pregnancy from the objective perspective of experts and combining that knowledge with the personal experience of it can deepen the couple’s bond and pave the way for a smoother and less problematic pregnancy.
- Take part in making decisions. Discuss priorities and qualities you deem important concerning vital matters such as your partner’s obstetrician, hospital or birthing place where you feel your baby will get the best attention, method of delivery, or whether to go for natural childbirth or not. There are numerous decisions that have to be made and it would be very helpful to make the decisions as a couple.
- Keep communication lines between you and your partner open. Discuss and share feelings, apprehensions, thoughts and ideas about the whole experience. Acknowledge the equal importance of both partners.
Men who share the whole experience of pregnancy with their partners report that this particular time can be one of the most rewarding and most memorable experiences that they have had, not only in their relationship, but in their whole life as well.
Photo from Ken Wilcox