Is There Room for Him?
Traditionally, pregnancies were a women only topic. Depending on your cultural background, men are more or less implicated in the 9 following months and in the delivery room. The father-to-be has probably just as many questions and concerns as you do. They might not be the same as yours but his questions are just as valid. Some might not feel up to it or are waiting for your cue. Let’s look at some concerns fathers have and what you can do to get them involved. We may then be able to define the fathers role during pregnancy.
Don’t leave him behind.
Men don’t React to Pregnancy the way we do
Let’s be honest for one second, we are the one carrying the twins, not them. It’s real to us from the beginning. We see changes in our body, we go to the doctor, we’re the one laying on the examination table being poked. We feel them playing football somewhere between our diaphragm and rib cage. For men, no matter how much they try, this is all alien to them. They often feel intimidated by the process.
For most men, the first time reality will hit them in the face like a ton of bricks is when they get to hold them in the delivery room.
What are They Anxious, Worried, Insecure or Just Plain Curious About?
- Can we afford to provide, not just for 1, but for 2 babies?
- When you think that’s raising a single child costs more than $200 000 in the US, it’s enough to scare most people (including me!)
- This is one major concern that father of twins are asking themselves especially if the question of multiple wasn’t put on the carpet beforehand. In some instance, the couple know there is a chance (e.g. fraternal twins on the mother’s side, IVF, etc.) but sometimes it’s out of the blue.
- The father should check with his employer as some do offer paternity leave. Some may even offer time off for prenatal visits.
- Will I be a good dad?
- The concept of mother instinct is widely known although not always accurate. Some men believe that to us, becoming a mother is natural since we are the ones carrying it. We make tons of mistakes every single day and that’s absolutely normal. One day we wake up and all of a sudden, we have these tiny little babies to take care of. Some fathers will rely completely on the mother to accomplish every single tasks
- Again, share what scares or concerns you, you could be surprised as I’m sure, similitudes between the 2 of you.
- Will we (or can we) still have sex during the pregnancy?
- Men are not affected by pregnancy hormones and still have their testosterone running high. Some will be worried that the pregnancy will diminish their regular loving time. Most women will have a stable libido throughout the term. Some will even see an increase (to their partner’s happiness) or decrease. It is important that you don’t avoid the subject if you see any changes.
- Sometimes a man will even stop trying to make the first move as they have misconceptions concerning pregnancies. Some might be afraid to hurt the babies or they just plain don’t know what to do with our gigantic belly.
- Talk with them, surely you can come up with a mutual understanding and respect.
- Will the babies be born healthy?
- Men have very little control over the pregnant, they are more spectators. They have to rely on us to reassure the mother that we are doing everything in our power to keep the babies safe. By themselves, they are plain and simply powerless.
- Offer him a book. It might sound basic but some men wouldrather read then ask questions. To make it lighter and more fun, I recommend Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy for Dummies. It’s easy to understand and should answer some of his questions.
- Get him involved, if possible, have him accompany you to your doctor’s visits. Either at the beginning to meet with your doctor and ask questions or for an ultrasound. Seeing the two little ones moving and hearing their heartbeat is usually an emotional moment and they will feel blessed to be part of it.
- If he can’t be present during the examination, don’t be afraid to record the babies’ heartbeat during you next ultrasound visit and let him hear at night while you are both laying in bed. He will feel more included that way.
- Ask him to participate in decisions such as the choice of the stroller, cribs. I know, I know some of you are thinking, my boyfriend hates shopping for anything, he won’t be interested. A trick, you can review the products you are I interested in and then ask his opinion based on your research. Some couples will split the research (e.g. you research carriers, I’ll do the strollers).
- Get him involved in the nursery either with the color scheme, furniture or decorations.
- Share your worries with him. If you have a candid discussion regarding your pregnancy, he may be temped to share his. You may then realize that some of his concerns are the same as yours.
- Now would be a wonderful time to take healthy habits and have him participate. It can either be by doing safe exercises, taking walks or eating healthier.
- Register for a child birth classes with him. That’s a great way to obtain information. He will also learn about what you’re going through, what will happen during delivery and how he can assist you. Remember if it’s his first babies, the only knowledge he has as to giving birth is from watching TV shows or movies. When you look at some of those scenes when women are throwing things at their boyfriend, shouting insults, screaming at the top of their lungs, it’s enough to scare any man!
- Discuss the planning of the birth. Share with him what you would like and what would be the most reassuring path for you (hospital, birth center or birth room). Explain to him what you would like him to do and how he could help. They’re many things that could happen without a warning during a delivery (emergency c-section, distress of the babies, induced contractions, etc).
Get rid of the Elephant in the Room
The best thing you can do to alleviate both your worries and his, is to talk about it. You will probably notice that you both share some of the same concerns. When you’re having twins, it can put a strain on a relationship. The lack of sleep and the stress during the first few months would be tough on just about any couple. The better you are prepared, the less you will be affected.
Give yourself time and enjoy each other’s company. Fathers do play an important role during pregnancy. Don’t shut them out, encourage them to participate in every aspect.
The Modern Dad
Now dads are implicated in much more than just discipline and it’s a great thing. some will take their space naturally and some might be timid or intimidated at first. It’s important not to become mommyzilla and want everything your way without compromising. Yes you’re the one who is actually pregnant but think of what’s the best for the babies. The best is to have 2 parents who actively participate in this wonderful journey you’re starting. Personally, I don’t know what I would have done without my husband’s implication every step of the way.
Celebrate yourself and the father’s role in pregnancy every day!