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June 13, 2007 / missknowitall

How To Give Emotional Support To Your Pregnant Wife

Dear Little Miss,
My wife is 26 weeks pregnant today. We got into a discussion about the soon to arrive baby and she was concerned because she is not always the stereotypical “happy” mom to be. In other words, she has anxiety about not being overly joyous about the arrival of the baby. Throughout her pregnancy thus far, she has told me she felt neglected and uncared for, or just sort of ignored. I (her husband) have been trying to be helpful as much as possible, but there is a disconnect somewhere. I daily get her things when she needs them, grocery shop and cook. I think she is hoping for something different though. Although she appreciates the little acts of service, she feels abandoned emotionally and not understood. I will be the first to agree with her. I am not very empathetic because I don’t really understand what she is feeling and rather than just asking, I shyly ignore the fact that she is pregnant because I am worried I won’t know how to deal with it. I know these things are bad. Now more than ever she needs my support and love. So my big question is, I feel guilty about not understanding what she is going through and selfish for not taking the time to understand it. How can I show her that I love her through all this on an emotional level?
-Dad to Be

Dear Dad To Be,

So, you don’t understand the whole “pregnancy thing”, huh?  Well, please don’t put off connecting with your wife and your soon to be child until you do, because I can promise you it’s not gonna happen.  No one understands pregnancy.  Even doctors who have spent years delivering babies don’t understand the whole “pregnancy thing” (if they did they would know how stupid they sound when they say, “Now you’re going to feel a little pressure…”).  Your wife doesn’t want you to understand, she just needs you to be on her side, cheering her through one of the most challenging times of her life.  Whenever I answer men I like to give them detailed instructions.  Here are yours:

1.  Think of this baby in terms that you can understand.  Do you like sports?  Then think of this baby as the family mascot and go buy a little baby jersey or football for it.  Do you like science fiction?  Then think of this as your first alien encounter.  Are you a computer geek?  Then start speaking to the baby (yes, they can hear you even in the womb) in geek speak about all the things you are going to teach him/her about computers.  Get excited about the baby in what ever way you can and show that excitement so your wife will feel that all her suffering has some meaning for you.

2.  Talk to the baby through your wife’s stomach.  Sure, it is silly.  Your wife may even mock you for it, but she will love it.  Caress your wife’s stomach as you do this.  Talk in silly voices.  This will not only help you feel connected to the baby and make your wife feel like you are excited, but it will create an intimate experience for you and your wife.

3.  Give your wife lots of praise.  Tell her she is beautiful everyday (I don’t care if she looks puffy, sweaty, and half dead, tell her anyway).  And say things like, “I know I will never be able to understand what you are going through, but I love you for going through it to bring our little baby into the world”.

4.  Go rent some silly movies about pregnancy and watch them together.  Don’t forget the snacks, go get her whatever she is craving and enjoy it with her. 

If you can get excited, praise your wife, and take an active role in preparing for the new arrival, your wife will start to find the joy, confidence, and humor that she is going to need to be able to make it through pregnancy and motherhood.  Pregnancy is one crazy roller coaster, enjoy the ride even with its ups and downs, and know that it is usually a lot easier the next time around.

Still riding that ride myself,

Miss Knowitall 

P.S. She doesn’t need you to be able to “deal with it” when she unloads her frustrations and feelings, she just needs you to listen and to hear you say, “You are amazing and I love you.”

    

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5 Comments

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  1. pauaprincess / Jun 14 2007 3:12 pm

    I have to add a warning re movies. Don’t under any circumstances rent anything Disney, prior knowledge of a happy ending or not, when the kid/dog/cat/wild animal gets abandoned/trapped/hurt or loses its mother in the first half, there will be much weeping and wailing. My husband let me watch call of the wild whilst pregnant which resulted in a 45 minute solid hysterical crying jag that soaked right through and left his shoulder pruney when the dog died.

  2. subarcticmama / Jun 20 2007 12:03 am

    A spa pedicure surprise is a great help too. Love your blog!

  3. Hanna / Jul 11 2007 2:37 pm

    Hey, here behaviour sounds quite typical to me, I was just the same I went through days of saying ‘what if I don’t love my baby’ ‘what if i regret having this baby for the rest of my life’ ‘what if he won’t stop crying’ but for all the ‘what if’s’ in the world you need to remember they are just that, there is no certainty and the majority of the time with a pregnant woman no logic behind hese thoughts, but with a mix of crazy hormones and worries of being a parent to be it makes for totally unrational thinking, luckily 99 times out of 100 a woman will love her baby and wonder what made her think otherwise, no one can guarantee this but just remind her she will make an excellent parent, that you love her and that no matter what happens you will support her and be there for her emotionally and physically!

    Oh and give her a massage trust me she could sure do with one!

  4. Jo / Oct 20 2008 5:09 am

    As a 32 week pregnant woman – I love the fact that you cared enough to ask for inforation on your wife. I just wish that my husband would.

    I would just love for him to spend time wiht me, rub my back, tell me I look great, reassure me about the birth, get excited and perhaps skip that fourt beer and join me in a juice.

    Your wife is a lucky lady.

  5. LonelyLady / Dec 3 2008 8:34 am

    Right now I am a lonely 38 week pregnant lady and totally wish my man would care enough to ask for advice, but he probably thinks he’s doing enough in his small brain. I feel neglected as hell! He thinks working 50 hours a week plus taking 4 classes for his bachelors buisness degree leaves me enough time! He has no energy to rub my back but every 2-3 weeks! I have shut him out now! I just don’t talk to him hardly. Just looking at him pisses me OFF! I have no simpathy for his tiredness from school and work, he shouldn’t have took on so much! He’s an idiot father/man!

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