Even if you’ve been trying to get pregnant, finding out your wife is pregnant can be a very exciting and nerve-racking announcement.
Your wife now has a big job in front of her and her body takes the brunt of it. She is growing the baby inside of her. Hello, inside of her.
While it may seem like your job is complete. The transfer was made. The deposit was accepted. There is more you can do while she does the heavy lifting, so to speak.
Being a father has changed over the last few decades. Now many fathers want to participate more but have no idea how they can help. After all, you can’t step in and take the baby for a day to give mom a break from pregnancy. (You can definitely do that after the baby is born; give mom a break!)
I wanted to be there to help Amie however I could during her pregnancies. Really… watching her go through pregnancy and birthing our children was awe inspiring. I highly recommend being as involved as possible.
If you are feeling at a loss about what you can do now that your wife is pregnant, here are five things you can do as soon as you fully grasp the thought “my wife is pregnant.”
No matter what, if you were trying to get pregnant or it’s a surprise, this is a time to celebrate.
Maybe you’ll both already be excited and celebrating or, you may not feel like it at first. She may not feel like it at first. Regardless, you need to put on a happy face and be excited. When the fears pop up, and they inevitably will, remember to keep celebrating the miracle of life you both created.
And remember to make it a memory and help her know that you are there for her through this process.
Be in protector mode. Learn the risks of driving during pregnancy and how to mitigate the risks.
2. Learn the mantra “It’s not me, it’s the baby.”
Repeat the mantra whenever it seems an alien has taken over your wife’s body and mind. But never, and I repeat, never, let her hear you say it.
It’s true this is a magical time. And it’s a scary time. By scary I don’t mean “how will I keep food on the table” or “how badly will I mess up my child” kind of scary. That will come later. Right now I mean, “watch out!” your wife is about to throw a plate at you scary. Why is she about to throw a plate? Because you didn’t get up off the couch fast enough to go get her food and she’s starving and she wants what she wants and it’s NOT in the house. Think I’m joking? Ya. I’m not. This actually happened when Amie was pregnant with our first.
The hormones are raging throughout pregnancy. (Keep a box of tissues on hand for movies or just car commercials.) In the beginning though her body is going through a lot of changes all at once. So just remember when that plate is about to be thrown, it’s not you (or her), it’s the baby. And it’s temporary.
3. Time for the masculine protector to step up to the plate
There are myriad things your wife needs to learn to keep your baby safe and healthy. Things from what she can or can’t eat to what activities she can and can’t do. There isn’t much for you to do here except be aware, you know, so you don’t offer her that raw sushi roll or the ham sandwich.
When your wife is pregnant you can, however, start keeping the baby protected in the car. Learn about car safety. It may seem early to learn about car seat safety. And it is a little. In the meantime you can learn about driving during pregnancy, the proper way to wear a seat belt and what you can do to make driving safer for your wife. (Hint: it’s called a Tummy Shield and BONUS, it will make wearing a seat belt more comfortable too as she gets bigger.)
Then when she’s about seven months along, you can start learning about car seats for post birth. You may even find a local car seat class. Or after you select your first car seat and install it, take it to a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician who can inspect your first car seat installation and talk to you about the next stage.
4. Nurture your wife
Have I mentioned yet, the toll this baby takes on your wife’s body. She’s in need of sit down, feet up time. If you rub her feet while they’re up, all the better!
If your wife is like mine, an Energizer bunny, this will feel odd to you. My wife very rarely naps. Yet she napped A LOT during pregnancy. She just got tired, her feet would be tired. As much as she still did (installing car seats through the whole 9 months of her first pregnancy) she would tire more easily and couldn’t do everything she usually did. I’d say I had to step in, but I felt it was more of a privilege. I got to step in and help take care of her and our home.
I would wager your wife wouldn’t mind getting a pack of prenatal massages as a gift from you either. Just sayin’.
5. Be ready to be second fiddle
You may already be feeling it with all this focus on the baby. For the next 9 months and beyond, the baby gets top rating. It’s not that your wife doesn’t love you. And you should certainly still make time to spend as a couple. But her first priority will be baby.
Support her in this. Certainly focus on the baby and bond with your new baby once it arrives. Take this opportunity when her focus is so heavy on baby to focus on her. She’ll need nurturing after the baby is born too.
Depending on the child, she may not shift more of her focus back to you for a few years. Our youngest is 5, he’s a mama’s boy. Not by her choice; he just is. Our older two could be dropped off with barely a goodbye. With them it was easy for me to take a father’s share of the care taking. But the third only wanted Mom. It was hard to leave him with anyone, even me, because he screamed. To this day he picks Mom over me. So when he’s being needy, I just pick up the reins with whatever she was trying to do.
Most of all, keep loving your wife and enjoy the process.
See more tips for expecting dads throughout the pregnancy.
We want to know, what did you do when you found out your wife is pregnant? Share your comments below.
By Greg Durocher, CEO at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Technician Instructor since 2002
Copyright 2020 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.
We originally published this post in December 2017. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.