What parent can forget the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh when you hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time? Well for starters, my husband. It was my 12-week check-up and my husband had asked if he needed to come. I told him it was OK; it would probably be a routine, uneventful appointment (what did I know?). When the doctor asked if I wanted to hear the heartbeat, I realized my oversight. A combination of his missing our first pregnancy milestone and the hormones were enough to leave me crying in the car. Here are five ways you can involve your partner in your pregnancy.
- Attend appointments together when possible. Spend the day before your doctor’s appointment creating a list of questions you want to ask together. It’s always good to have a second set of ears to listen to your doctor. Sometimes it can be easier for your partner to ask a lot of the questions that are on your mind. Plus, no partner wants to miss hearing the heartbeat for the first time (just ask my husband).
- Do your research together. Cliff Shim is a TV news cameraman from Vancouver. Cliff and his wife, Heidi, are proud parents to five-month old son, Kyler. “If I could do it all over again (and I’m not suggesting we’re going to even try!) I’d probably be more proactive when it comes to researching and reading up on stuff. I know that my lack of involvement was a source of frustration. Stuff like that always is.”
- Talk to your partner about what’s happening with your body and your growing baby. Robyn Saona is a clinical director and physiotherapist at Teamworks Health Clinic in Vancouver. Her husband, Rob, is an emergency room doctor. Though their five- month-old son, Keio, was born under the best possible medical supervision, she explains that they were slightly more cautious about getting emotionally invested in the early days of pregnancy because of their personal and professional experiences. “If I could go back, I would take more time to emotionally connect with the experience and involve Rob in the process. I wish we had put early concerns aside and just dove in and embraced the process right from the beginning. I could have asked Rob for more emotional support and opportunities to share my feelings.” Though there are all the scientific things behind the growth of the baby, there are also a lot of exciting moments. Ask your partner to touch your belly while the baby is kicking, even if he can’t feel it. It is a nice way to connect. Talking about your ever-changing body is also a great way to remind yourself that your pregnancy makes you beautiful (even if you feel like a boat).
- Go shopping together. “The first time around, I basically followed my wife around the store like a lost puppy. By the time we were ready to have our second child, I was a seasoned pro,” says Chris Read, the voice behind the popular Canadian Dad blog, and proud papa of a three- and five-year-old in Ottawa.
- Accept favours. Say yes to your husband’s offers of a foot-rub, back massage or midnight run to fetch an old fashioned glazed donut. We all know it feels nice to do things for the people we love. So give him an opportunity to do things for you (even if they are hormone-fuelled requests). It’s important to find ways to involve your partner in your pregnancy. “The more specific I was about asking Rob to be involved, the more engaged he was in the process,” says Robyn. Parenting is about teamwork and communication. Pregnancy is a great time to practice.