October 12, 2010

Papas and Partners are Pregnant Too!

Ways For Partner to feel connected to Baby during Pregnancy.

During pregnancy, Mamas receive the majority of the attention—and for good reason—the baby grows inside of her womb, and as the baby grows, Mama changes emotionally and physically.

But, papas and partners are pregnant too!

Papas and Partners contributed their part in creating this growing child and their energy and love continue to grow this child. Mama, Partner, and Baby—the three are connected in a space or bubble of creation. They all grow and change together.

The person who Papa or Partner was before conception exists no longer. The person who Mama was before conception exists no longer. Staying aware of the changes within each person as well as the relationship can help couples maintain a positive perspective on pregnancy and grow together as a united couple.

Partners can take a proactive role in staying aware and connected to Baby & Mama.

Here are a few ways for Papas & Partners to feel and feel connected to Baby and at the same time Nurture Mama, Baby, Self, and the Bubble of Creation during pregnancy:

  1. Create a Baby Album ~ Take weekly pictures of mama’s belly and create an album to share with your little one some day. Along with a photo each week, write to Baby in this album about your life, feelings, hopes, and dreams.
  2. Meditate with Mama ~ Incorporate a meditation with Mama & Baby into your weekly routine. Use this time to connect with your partner and talk to your baby. Create a cozy nurturing space to be together.
  3. Learn how your baby changes and grows within Mama each month ~ Visualize your baby growing, developing, changing, becoming.
  4. Become an artist ~ Draw or paint what you see or imagine each month. Hang your art in your home. At the end of pregnancy, you have a beautiful album of art to share with Baby.
  5. Read to Baby ~ Take Baby & Mama to the library and read together. These may be the stories that your baby loves to hear after she is born.
  6. Tell stories to Baby ~ At night as you lie in bed, tell your baby stories. Let them be about you, family, or even stories of your imagination.
  7. Acknowledge your own feelings and changes as your baby grows ~ Take time for yourself to talk with friends and family, journal and express what you are going through.

I decided to ask the Papas and Partners to share their perspectives and this is what they say:

When asked how he stayed connected to baby during pregnancy, a Papa from California shares, “I talked to her tummy and we would sing a song every night that my wife wrote to her.” Papa David shares, “With all the kids, I have growled at my wife’s belly. The experts say that familiar sounds calm the baby after they are born and also that sounds on the lower end of the spectrum are more likely to be heard by babies in the womb, so I growl at them. After birth, when I growl at my newborn, they recognize me. And when I get home from work every day, I pick up my baby and growl at him/her. After a few months,  they start to growl back. It becomes something special the we share that started before they were born.”

Advice from a Papa in California:

“Remember how much you love your wife and that your child is an extension of that love and that relationship. Interact as much as possible with your wife’s tummy…be involved, stay connected to your wife; cuddle her, feel her tummy, talk to the baby, feel the baby kick. Do as much as you can to support your wife because she’s doing all the work right now. By being concerned about my wife’s well being I felt like I was being concerned for my baby. However, realize that you will probably also go through a bunch of emotional stuff and looking back one thing I would have done more of is talked to my wife about my anxiety. I spent more time than I should of “having my last hoorah” because of anxiety I was having. I finally realized that and it helped a lot. Oh yeah, and remember to bring your wife water, all the time.”

Advice from Papa David:

Be there and do everything you can for mama, go to every appointment with her. Sleep with your hand on her belly every night. Your wife is giving you a precious gift in carrying your child, something you could never do, so do everything you can to make it as physically easy on her as possible.

Educate yourself about childbirth and listen to all that she is learning. Be prepared to protect her. It can be scary out there in the world of obstetrics and unfortunately, her and your baby’s well being might be lower on the doctor’s list of priorities than his income, schedule, or malpractice record. If you really want to be connected to mom and baby, have your baby at home or in a free standing birth center. Hospitals interfere with bonding between moms, babies, AND dads! I bonded with all of my children, but it occured so much more easily with the three that were born at home.

Advice from Papa Chad:

Make sure she drinks plenty and rests. Give her an arm to hold when going down steps or hills. Help out with house work and other children. Go out at 2 am and get whatever she is craving. Let your wife or girlfriend know that you love her and are thankful for what she is doing for you and the family you are creating. Even though she is or may feel like two people, take time to appreciate just her. But also, pay attention to the little miracle growing inside her. Talk to your baby. Sing to it. Touch her belly, rub lotion on it. Help her prepare the baby’s room. No matter how many times she changes paint colors or wants the room rearranged. Basically, baby her everyday for the entire pregnancy and the first 6 months afterward.

These are not the only ways to stay connected to Baby & Mama during pregnancy. Use your imagination, find what works for your family, and enjoy this precious gift of creating a new being. Take a proactive stance in developing the bond with your child and nurturing your relationship with your partner. The energy and love given by partner not only sustains baby, mama, your relationship, and yourself, but creates beautiful sacred bubble of creation around your family.

Gratitude to the families who shared their stories and photos.

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