Pregnancy is, for many women, one of the most emotionally wrought and physically challenging experiences in life. Whether it’s her first or her fourth, the best thing you can do for your pregnant partner is show a little extra compassion during these 40ish weeks.
Showing that you understand and love her will help your partner feel cared for as she wades (or waddles) into the sometimes tumultuous waters of pregnancy.
This may sound like the lamest, most predictable of all tips, but there’s more: Do what she asks you to do WHEN SHE ASKS YOU TO DO IT. Maybe you don’t understand why she wants to listen to the “Frozen” soundtrack and drink hot cocoa in the middle of the summer, but dammit, if that’s what she wants, make it happen.
During COVID times, many of us faced these appointments alone. So if you are permitted, go to as many as you can, and really try to get there. If you can't be there in person, perhaps you can join via FaceTime. Your support still matters.
Pregnant women are told to snack throughout the day in order to keep their calorie intake up and prevent nausea.
Be the partner who packs the snacks. Fill snack-sized containers with nuts, dark chocolate, dried fruits, and crackers.
Also, buy her a little bottle of peppermint oil. Few things can calm early-pregnancy nausea better than a deep inhale of this cooling elixir. Keep a bottle by the bed, in the bathroom, and one in the car.
Don’t make fun of it or try to stop it. If she wants to spend the evening laundering and folding teeny, tiny socks, that’s cool. Now you do, too. Start folding.
If she hasn't pre-ordered everything for the nursery already, you could suggest a weekend shopping and lunch date for the two of you. She'll be excited that you're taking some of the planning off her plate!
Your sleep cycle is about to be turned upside down. It won’t be long before sleeping through the night is a dream out of reach, sleeping in until 6 a.m. is a luxury, and 9 p.m. feels very, very late.
Tiny socks. Tiny onesies. Tiny everything.
And bring home a gift for her, too. It’s hard to go wrong with a box of velvety, chocolate truffles. And actually, studies show that eating chocolate during pregnancy may benefit fetal growth, so this one is a two-fer.
Pregnancy hormones can easily convince a mom-to-be that she's all alone and nobody has ever felt this way before. So make a pledge, sign a contract, do whatever it takes to ensure that you pay attention.
Notice things – if she’s constantly rubbing the same spot on her aching back, if she seems to be feeling really great – then let her know that you know. She needs to feel like this is happening to you, too.
Seriously. Pack on like 20 pounds. Or five, anyway. C’mon. Do your part.
But really, plan and shop for meals. Cook them, too. Your partner is growing a baby, and they’re both hungry. Don’t stress about cooking a big meal; think simple and fun (this often means fewer dishes, too!)
It’s not just pickles. It’s chocolate bars dipped in pickle juice. Be prepared, stock up.
There are a billion to choose from, so put some thought into it and get a book that suits your personality or particular area of interest. Then read it.
This will send a clear message that your brain is moving toward the reality that’s about to be pushed out into your world. Your partner can’t avoid this reality – it’s living inside her body. This small gesture is a welcome sign of empathy.
NO circumstances. Nope. None. Don’t do it. This can only be done by her care provider. And actually, whenever you think of it, comment on how amazing her body is.
Not just, “Babe, you’re a hot pregnant chick.” That’s good, too. It’s nice to feel sexy.
But how about the truly awe-inspiring, alien-like accomplishment that is pregnancy? She’s GROWING YOUR OFFSPRING inside her body. That’s freakin’ amazing. Say so.
This could easily be the last time you do this for a while. Well, at least without also paying for a sitter, scheduling a grandparent, or bribing an unsuspecting friend or older sibling to take care of the baby.
Bring her a glass of water. Fill her water bottle and put it in the car for her. Keep a glass next to the bed. Not only will this help her stay hydrated, but she’ll know you’re thinking of her.
Oh, but keep in mind that she’ll have to pee. Again and again.
Do not question the frequency of this, do not complain that she’s up – for the 30th time – in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
Oh, and you know what? Talk about who you want to have around right after the baby is born.
Sometimes family is actually more work than help. Same for friends. You’ll both need support and help, but you can’t be expected to entertain the in-laws.
Are you anxious about having a baby? Supporting the baby? Bonding with the baby? This is all normal and reasonable. Your spouse can’t be your therapist right now (or ever, but that’s another post). So figure out what kind of support you need, and get it.
In the first few months, this may not be needed. But when she has a melon-sized human in there pressing on her pelvis and kicking her in the ribs, she’s going to want extra pillows at night.
And possibly just all the time, forever.
This could be as simple as a list of all the interesting food combinations she craves, things she does, laughs about, cries about, and other notable moments during her pregnancy.
You think you’ll remember the nuances of pregnancy, but you won’t, and neither will she. You’ll be so happy to have this journal later. You can even do this on the down-low and present it as a gift on Mother’s Day. Or whenever you’re in trouble.
It takes a village!
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