Your Partner’s Role in Pregnancy
Your partner has an important role to play, not only in supporting you throughout your pregnancy and delivery, but also in caring for your new baby as he/she grows up.
Consequently, he may be just as anxious and stressed as you about the prospects of parenthood and the major adjustments that it will bring, although he may not show it, and this may put added strain on your relationship.
It’s important that you acknowledge your partner’s feelings and encourage him to play an active part in looking after your new arrival. Sharing your emotions and the responsibility of caring for your baby will not only allow you to give each other the support that you need, but will also help to ensure that your partner doesn’t feel excluded and that he bonds with the baby.
How can I include my partner?
Some partners may feel frustrated and shut out in the initial few weeks after the baby is born if they can’t share in caring for him/her. They may even be afraid, nervous or uncomfortable about handling the fragile new arrival. Additionally, some men may feel jealous because of the time and attention that the mother gives the baby and the intimacy they share, or may be unsympathetic and reluctant to help out. Others, however, may be enthusiastic about sharing the duties all round and giving the woman all the support that she needs.
Try not to alienate your partner or let your relationship suffer. As difficult as it may be, don’t focus all your attention on your new baby, but set some time aside to spend alone with your partner.
Try also to involve your partner as much as possible from the start in looking after your baby, which will not only build up his confidence in handling the baby, but will also help him to establish a relationship with him/her. Give him the opportunity to get to know, feel close to and comfort the baby by encouraging him to hold, cuddle and play with him/her. If you’re breast-feeding, expressing your milk and asking your partner to feed your baby will also help, as will getting him to change, bathe and dress your baby.
How else can my partner help?
Asking your partner to help around the house with the domestic chores, as well as with the care of the baby, will take the burden off you and give you time to have a well-needed break whenever you can to relax.
You should also discuss your feelings with your partner so that he can give you practical back-up and much-needed emotional support