Lots of my friends have started having babies and I’m taking notes on how to be a helpful friend. I recently read two great pieces on how to help out a mom-to-be or a new mom. I recommend reading both in their entirety, but here are a few excerpts.
From ‘There Are No Ordinary Moments’ How to be the Best Post-Partum Visitor.
- Set a timer, on your phone or watch for 15 minutes. When it goes off, get out of there! Remember that you are going to be a quiet, productive blessing.
- Bring a healthy meal. Include a salad or fresh vegetables. Only use disposable dishes.
- Go into the kitchen and spend 5 minutes clearing off a counter, washing a sink-full of dishes, loading the dishwasher etc. Don’t ask permission, just do it. Then set the table for their dinner.
- Take the garbage out when you go.
And for dads-to-be, one of my favorite fellow wife blogs, ‘Taryn Cox’s The Wife, re-posted ‘The Art of Manliness’s How to Take Care of a Pregnant Wife feature. It’s very sweet and I think would be very helpful to newly-expectant husband.
- Read some books on pregnancy.
- Accompany her to doctor’s appointments. This serves three purposes. First and most importantly, it shows your wife that you’re with her all the way in the pregnancy. Second, you’ll know exactly what’s going on with her pregnancy and will be better prepared to help her. Pay close attention to what the doctor says at these visits. A woman’s memory takes a dive during pregnancy and she may be nervous and excited, so your wife might rely on you to remind her about which cheeses she’s not supposed to eat. Finally, seeing your baby’s picture, even when it looks like an indistinguishable lump, and hearing its heartbeat will help create a fetus/father bond.
- Reduce her stress. Pregnancy is physically and emotionally demanding, so don’t burden your wife with any unneeded pressure. Take on more of the household chores so your wife can rest.
- Be patient. Pregnancy totally wreaks havoc on your wife’s hormones. Some days she’ll feel fantastic, some days she’ll bite your head off as soon as you open your mouth, and some days she’ll break down and cry for no reason at all. Be patient and recognize that it’s the hormones.
- Handling frequent peeing. Pregnant women pee frequently. Very frequently. I’m talking every 30 minutes they’re making a run for the bathroom. It’s kind of funny, but put yourself in your wife’s shoes, and you’ll see just how much of an inconvenience it is.
- Act like you’re pregnant. No, I don’t mean you need to put on one of those ridiculous bodysuits that let men know what it feels like to be pregnant. Nor am I encouraging wild mood swings and consuming ice cream sprinkled with pickle juice. What I’m talking about here is adding or dropping the same habits your wife has to add or drop because she’s pregnant. It’s a way to show moral support and to help her follow doctor’s orders as closely as she can. So when your wife has to give up alcohol and coffee, become a teetotaler too (or at least don’t imbibe in front of her). Exercise is incredibly beneficial to mom and baby to be, so help her get in the habit by offering to go for a walk or to the gym together.
- Be flexible. Some foods will be totally unappetizing to your wife one day, and the next it will be the only thing that appeals to her. Be flexible and give her whatever her stomach will keep down. Be willing to run out and buy whatever she craves.
- Keep yourself clean. Pregnant women become hypersensitive to smells. Even scents she once enjoyed can now start her stomach churning. So brush your teeth and shower daily, or she may not be able to stand having you around.
- Keep an open door policy for venting. Pregnacy, especially for first time moms, can be a little scary. Women wonder if the baby is doing okay, what labor will be like, whether they’ll have to have a c-section, and whether they’ll be good at being a mom. Be willing to let your wife vent or cry whenever they need to, even if it’s in the middle of the night. If there’s something specific that’s worrying your wife, do some research so you can confidently tell her, “Those pains you’re experiencing are normal and do not mean you will give birth to a two-headed hydra baby.”
Like I said, this is just a few excerpts, I recommend the whole thing. Moms out there, what suggestions are these articles missing?
And to add my two cents, let your wife invest in some cute maternity and a smashing hospital-homecoming outfits. Also, if you’re male and not already reading ‘The Art of Manliness,’ you really should. Brett has such a great voice and it’s honestly exactly what your wife wishes you were reading!