As the non-pregnant partner, pregnancy can be a confusing time. Friends, family, and strangers usually focus on the expecting mother and the non-pregnant partner can feel left out, which can then lead to feelings of guilt for being upset. Knowing that your partner is the one who will be doing the hard and sometimes physically unpleasant work of carrying and delivering the baby can sometimes cause the non-pregnant partner to feel like there’s not much they can do to help. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You have a huge role from conception through the postpartum period (and beyond, of course!)
- Voice your opinion and hear her opinion on various birth and parenting options. Now is the time to become informed if you haven’t already. Send her articles. Watch documentaries together. Discuss your options and make your decisions together.
- Protect her from naysayers. No matter what decision you make together regarding your pregnancy or birth, there will be people who disapprove. You will know the difference between people who genuinely have valid information to offer in an effort to help you make informed choices, and people who simply want to be nosy and disapproving. If it’s the latter, make it clear that their judgement is not welcome and that you’re not willing to allow her to be subjected to that extra stress during this important time in your family’s life. She will appreciate this.
- Protect her from her own fears. Childbirth has unnecessarily become a frightening thing in this country. It doesn’t need to be scary. Women have successfully birthed babies for countless generations. Reassure her that her intuition is stronger than she may realize. Reassure her that just because a friend of a friend had a terrifying, traumatic birth, that doesn’t mean hers will be. Tell her you believe in the power of her body to carry and birth her baby.
- Enjoy and celebrate the pregnancy with her! Every pregnancy is unique. Participate and celebrate her process. Ask what she’s excited about. Ask what she’s nervous about. Make sure she knows that you’re excited to have this experience with her.
- Trust your instincts. Pregnant women aren’t the only ones with strong instincts. You know yourself, your partner, and your relationship the best. If you feel like she needs something or you should do (or not do) something, listen to your gut because you’re probably right.