Men tend not to be a little disconnected to the pregnancy because they cant feel it or touch it. At least this is what most of my friends who are fathers told me! I wanted my husband to be as in touch as I was. I know this is nearly impossible but wanting to go to the doctors appointments and being interested in what was going on with my body was a huge thing. Put yourself in her shoes, if you all of the sudden had a beer gut from hell and couldn't see your feet for your chest- would you feel sexy?! I think not! The best thing my husband did was read books behind my back. I thought he wasn't interested. But every once in a wile he would throw a fact out that even I didn't know. He would call from work if he saw an article in the paper that was pregnancy related. It was really nice. And after our daughter came, I totally saw that it was love at first sight for him. And that just makes a mother melt!
The one thing I wish my husband would have done was to take a daily interest in my physical and mental state. When you two are relaxing at night, maybe put your arm around her and ask if there were any new developments with the baby and ask her how she feels. This is such an exciting time for a woman, we just want to share and discuss every detail. A nightly ten minutes of genuine interest would have been great!
-Read a pregnancy book (maybe even along with mom-to-be) so you'll be somewhat informed and able to help quell certain fears that most pregnant women have.
-Go to (or offer to go to) appointments and ultrasounds...and for goodness' sake know who her Ob-Gyn is!! This should be obvious, but I know of two fathers-to-be who, when asked, had no idea who the doctor was or where the doctor's office as located!?!
-Tell her she's beautiful and sexy, even if she herself might not feel it or believe it. (My husband told me everyday and MADE me believe it, even when I was over 8 months pregnant with our twins. He still tells me every day even 8 months after their birth.
Believe it or not, I had a hard time when my husband started picking up extra chores! Why? Because I'm used to being very efficient and independent, and when I couldn't do my usual routines, I was a little at loose ends. My husband was very sweet and told me that my contribution to the family was carrying our child for 9 months, and his contribution was to support me so that I could do that. I think that's a great description of a new dad's role in pregnancy.
Also, if your hospital or health care provider has a class for dads, you should take it. My husband took a 2-hour class for dads and he really liked it. It was nice for him to chat with other men (without a room full wives watching!), and they learned some nice infant-soothing tricks to use, and learned some special ways to bond with baby so they don't feel left out from the closeness of breastfeeding.
Your roles in pregnancy really differ. Mom's primary experience is that she's pregnant and having a baby. At first, the dad's primary experience is that he's got a pregnant wife. See the difference? Dad's problem-solving for the household and the wife, and mom's thinking about the future a LOT. Though this may be true for you, pick a thing or two that are your way of preparing. My husband took charge of our process to name the baby, kept the list, etc., and doing safety checks on all the used baby stuff we received. There's a lot going on for both mom and dad!
It is a bit difficult,I think for the man, especially for a first pregnancy. He may feel happy but may not know how to help. What I did for my prenancy was I signed up for classes at the hospital and I signed up at babygaga.com for weekly updates on how the baby was growing to my email account. And since we have a joint email account he read them all. And he went to all of the classes with me.
Some men may need to be told what to do and how to do it. You cannot expect them to know what you are going through and what you are thinking. Sit down and talk with him..try to explain what you are going through. If you are tired and need rest, tell him so. He will probably tuck you in the bed.
Communication is the key. A man will never know unless you tell him what is going on. Ask him to help you around the house...whatever you need, just communicate it to him.
Foot rubs!!!! Lots of them and without being asked!!!
Read up on all the pregnancy issues so you know your wife is just not a basket case...there's perfectly good medical reason she's asking you to go get tapioca pudding at 2 am when she hates the stuff!! Be a good hubby and humor her!
And for god's sake...know who her doctor is, what her birth plan is if she has one. You'll need to be her champion on that delivery room with a bunch of nurses telling her what to do. She'll be nervous about sticking to her guns since they've done this millions of times and this is the first baby she's ever delivered (Sorry ahead of time to all your nurses out there...had a horrible experience with a labor nurse!!)
Get your cell phone programmed with all the important numbers now, my guess is you don't have her best friend/roommate from college's number in your cell now and she'll want a call along with all the relatives and other friends when the baby's born.
My hubby also set up a baby account...a savings account that he started putting a portion of our pre-maternity leave paychecks in. Diapers are expensive and you got three years ahead of you. There's tons of things that baby will need that you have no idea about now, so plan ahead for unexpected expenses.
Also, my hubby had a great time registering for gifts-loved the beeper thing at Target. Help mommy-to-be with a little research about what baby gadgets you'll need (do it together though!!!!) And Please read the instructions when putting those gadgets together!
Hope you have a wonderful time as new parents!