The Role of the Partner: Pregnancy
As the non-pregnant partner, pregnancy can be a confusing time. Friends, family, and strangers usually focus on the expectant parent 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!)
1. Voice your opinion and hear your partner's opinion on various birth and parenting options. Now is the time to become informed if you haven’t already. Send each other articles. Watch documentaries together. Discuss your options and make your decisions together.
2. Protect your partner 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 your partner to be subjected to that extra stress during this important time in your family’s life.
3. Protect your partner from their own fears. Childbirth has unnecessarily become a frightening thing in this country. It doesn’t need to be scary. People have successfully birthed babies for countless generations. Reassure your partner that their intuition is stronger than they may realize. Reassure them that just because a friend of a friend had a terrifying, traumatic birth, that doesn’t mean this one will be. Tell them you believe in the power of their body to carry and birth this baby.
4. Enjoy and celebrate the pregnancy with your partner! Every pregnancy is unique. Participate in and celebrate the process. Ask what they're excited about. Ask what they're nervous about. Make sure they know that you’re excited to have this experience with them.
5. Trust your instincts. Pregnant parents aren’t the only ones with strong instincts. You know yourself, your partner, and your relationship the best. If you feel like your partner needs something or you should do (or not do) something, listen to your gut because you’re probably right.