It’s time to dive into some more tips and tricks to prepare you for fatherhood. If you missed my first installment, “So, you’re going to be a dad,” I am sharing all the fatherhood experience and expertise I have gained in my extensive background as a father, which now extends to a full month’s time.
Now we continue on the second part of the journey. You know baby is coming, and you’ve taken those initial steps of preparation (Ha! You think you have, anyway), so now comes the time to learn how to be supportive and present for your partner.
After all, she is now in the throes of the most physically and mentally taxing task the human body can face.
If I may compare your role to your partner’s role in creating a child using the analogy of building a home, you, as a father, have installed a door hinge. Your partner has cleared the land, poured the foundation, built the frame, run electricity and plumbing, installed drywall, flooring and trim, shingled the roof, constructed the porch, painted the walls, hooked up appliances, installed every door, window and cabinet and completed all the landscaping.
So, perhaps the soundest advice I can give is do not, under any circumstance, tell your pregnant partner that you are “tired.” Unless you like the taste of arsenic in your morning coffee, that is.
Your partner will also face morning sickness, heartburn, a constant need to urinate, afternoon sickness, bloating, cramping, swelling, night sickness, food aversion, constipation, midday sickness, gassiness, late evening sickness, middle-of-the-night sickness and just-after-dawn sickness. And that’s just in the first trimester.
There is not much you can do as a father to help alleviate these issues, but it is important you be present and help where you can. Unless your partner tells you in a loving way to “[expletive] off,” even when you think you are being helpful. In that case, it’s important you follow her command for the sake of both of you.
As first-time parents, you may also expect some pregnancy stereotypes to occur.
For instance, your partner could develop strange food cravings, such as sardines and pancakes, but not necessarily. Even if it is not a strange combination, there will likely be some foodstuff that your pregnant partner craves. So, if your wife is longing for a radish at 3 a.m., go out and get her one. Otherwise, she will be imagining what you would look like without a head.
Another cliché, one that has been generally disproven, is that a pregnant mother needs to “eat for two.” However, it is absolutely true that, during pregnancy, the father will “drink for three.”
It is often said that pregnant women will become irrationally emotional as their human body grows another. Of course this is not the case for all women, but if you suspect your partner is being unreasonable, keep that damn thought to yourself.
Speaking of thoughts, your wife’s body is under unbelievable stress, taking away vital resources that would normally be used for her normal brain function. This is often described as “pregnancy brain.” You can lend a hand by intervening when this affliction has become apparent, such as her bathing the dog in mayonnaise because she mistook it for soap. Which, frankly, is not such a farfetched example.
Her body will also undergo major changes, and not just the inundation of hemorrhoids. Some say pregnant women “glow,” and during the course of her pregnancy an already stunning woman will become even more beautiful as her body changes and prepares for birth. It is important that you remind her of just how fantastic she looks, because with all the radical changes to her own figure, she will likely feel as if she has all the beauty of a giant hemorrhoid.
So dad, you know baby is on the way and you are doing what you can to support the mother, but there is much left to be done. Check out the next installment of tips and advice where we tackle making the final preparations for baby’s arrival, including why the “hospital bag” should include strong sedatives for you to consume by the handful.