The most beautiful thing is about to happen to you: you’re going to become a father! Your partner is elated – and terrified – at the prospect of going through nine months of pregnancy, followed by painful labour. She may not admit it, but she is afraid of many things: losing her figure, suffering morning sickness, not being able to handle the rigours of childbirth, not being a good mother.
Your role is a crucial one in the nine long months to follow. You will be your partner’s primary confidante and caregiver, so make sure you are equipped with adequate information for every contingency. Here’s some pregnancy advice for you:
* Go with her for doctor’s visits. You will have a lot of questions, so don’t hesitate to get answers from the doctor. Ask for literature to read, and ask specific questions about cooking meals, following an exercise plan and what to do in a medical emergency. Make sure to list yourself with the doctor as your partner’s emergency contact.
* Deal with her fears calmly. If she is frightened, it is up to you to calm her nerves. Talk to her in soothing tones, call up the doctor at once and describe what your partner is experiencing and what you can do, and do whatever it takes to calm your partner down. Do not dismiss her fears about what you think are minor matters – nothing is minor about a pregnancy.
* Rush her to the doctor if there is bleeding. Heavy vaginal bleeding with abdominal cramps is a dangerous sign – usually that of miscarriage or preeclampsia. Hold her hand throughout the time it takes to reach the hospital, talk to her calmly all the while and call your doctor to meet you at the hospital at once.
* Let her grieve if the baby is lost. Losing an unborn child is one of the most shattering episodes in a woman’s life. She will never forget the trauma of losing the baby even after having more babies later. During this unfortunate time, you must temporarily put your own grief aside to hold and comfort her. Do not tell her to stop crying or give superfluous advice. Let her grieve in her own way. Just be around her to offer comfort without hovering.
* Take care of her nutrition and other needs. You can be a big help if you help her organise her meals or clean up the house. It is important for her to rest and be cheerful during this time. Do the weekly grocery shopping and any of her regular chores if she is tired or feeling too heavy. Sharing the workload around the house will also enhance your bond. If she has a craving for ice cream at night or wants to eat something spicy, indulge her lovingly.
* Do not insist on sex if she does not want it. This is crucial. It is normal to have sexual intercourse from the second trimester onward, but do talk to the doctor about it. If your partner is in frail health or if she has been advised bed rest during her pregnancy, it is best to stay away from sex. However, refrain from insisting on sex if she is uncomfortable about it or is too tired for it.