Somehow, during the antenatal period, we seem to side-line the fact that men, as well as women, are about to become brand new parents. Usually by 24 weeks (6 months) it is, visually, pretty obvious that a woman is expecting a child. People are congratulating you left, right and centre and often grabbing your bump like it’s some sort of healing crystal.
Due to men not carrying the baby, they are unable to feel it move or kick which often leads to them struggling to gain a sense of attachment or bonding with the baby. Women however, feel these movements every day and are intrinsically partnered with their baby, two hearts literally beating as one. As a nation we often throw baby showers which are frequently ‘female-only’ events. Yes – the woman is growing him/her and has to undergo nausea, urine frequency, heavy and sore boobs, tiredness etc – and we should be celebrated for that! However, should we be involving men more during pregnancy, in order to encourage them to be more engaged fathers?
If you’ve read the above question and thought, YES! Here are some ideas to get men more involved:
1.Attending Antenatal Appointments – even though I see men quite often attending, a lot of the time they don’t. These appointments are fundamentally to check the well-being of you and your baby. However, after 24 weeks you’ll hear the baby’s heartbeat at every appointment and this is an important moment when men can ‘check in’ with their baby’s and gain the realisation that there’s actually something in that bump! Furthermore, during these appointments, your midwife may advise on certain aspects and may discuss choices in labour. It is important for men to hear all of these, so that they can support you as a partner.
2.Daddy/DILF Shower – This is a bit of a silly one but really does work and can be a lot of fun! Why don’t you surprise your partner with a men’s baby shower? Basically you can just invite all his friends over, leave them with some crates of beer and let them celebrate their friend becoming a daddy!? You can buy a lot of fun bits online which you could include such as a baby piñata etc. This is just a way to make them feel special too, and celebrate the fact that they’ve got a baby on the way.
3. Decorating the Nursery Together – Generally, women have most of a say when it comes to interior decorating in their homes. However, it’s a really positive idea to make an effort to decorate the baby’s nursery together. Choosing wall colours, furniture and clothes is all part of the nesting process, usually undertaken by women. However, if we involved men more, it would likely be a positive experience for them to increase their excitement about the incoming arrival!
4. Antenatal Classes – I always advise women to attend antenatal classes when I see them during their pregnancy. If you live in the UK, you can get them free through your community midwives. Furthermore, lots of organisations such as the National Childbirth Trust run classes all over the country. You can go to classes which cover a variety of topics such as infant feeding, pain relief in labour, water births etc. I would strongly advise women to encourage their partners to go along with them. 75% of the time, men during labour just stand in a corner absolutely petrified as they have no idea what is going on. However, antenatal classes really give you a sense of preparation and men can get involved by learning techniques to help you during labour such as massage, and breathing exercises.
Does anyone have any ideas of other ways we can include men further during pregnancy!? I would love to hear any experiences you’ve had.
Feeling Bumpy xx