Pregnancy can be one of the most beautiful moments in women’s lives. For couples, it is a life-changing moment, the start of their own tiny family. During this time, so much changes not only in the women’s lives but for couples as well. There is a lot of learning that happens for both. While it is a beautiful moment, it can also bring the most agonizing stress for both the women and their partners. Women crave the support of their partners, this blog post shares insights from different mothers and the support they either got from their partners or what they craved to have during their pregnancies.
Let me also commend the guys who have asked how they can be supportive partners during pregnancy. I hope this not only helps them but also helps those who are curious and want to do better for their partners during their pregnancies.
What Support Do Women Crave During Pregnancy?
Throughout my pregnancy, I didn’t receive any support from the father of my child, leaving me feeling alone. I craved someone to share my experiences with, especially during moments like when the baby first kicked or when my stomach would change shape all of a sudden. The lack of a partner during monthly checkups added to the emotional strain.
It’s crucial not to dismiss a pregnant woman’s feelings or cravings as crazy. I remember waking up at 2 am to eat ice and drink cold milk, while my mom ensured I had grasshoppers, a delicacy in Uganda, almost every day.
Support during pregnancy goes beyond physical presence; it’s about emotional presence. Believing and validating women’s feelings, addressing cravings, and doing research on what to expect can make a significant difference. Personally, I found the Baby Center app helpful, guiding me through each step of the journey.
Due to my circumstances at the time, I had to withdraw from the university for a year. That was a pause in my life, what I would have appreciated was support to make me feel like my life wasn’t over because, at that time, that’s what I felt like. My partner was really out there living their life and doing things they enjoyed but I wasn’t. I was cooped up at home, focusing on being pregnant. To an extent, I felt isolated and that was not a good feeling. So, having a supportive partner who will make your life feel normal and enjoyable through the process is probably what I would recommend.
Women experience pregnancy differently. I can speak for those who had extremely difficult ones, being someone who constantly had to be in hospital to survive it. Pretty sure I envy the women who could do it all while being pregnant. So, an understanding, patient, and caring partner is appreciated. The hormones can be all over the place.
If one is going through extreme sickness every day, it’s easy for your partner to get frustrated because they are not used to seeing you helpless every day, and there’s only so much you can do. You’ve got to have patience and be understanding because your girl could be the most active person under normal circumstances and suddenly so whipped down being sick, which can be frustrating for her too. You’ve got to be brave for all the vomiting, there’s no escaping that reality.
Tough love is also necessary, but be kind about how tough. Some women milk the experience, so don’t.
Participate, be involved, and tag along on those monthly hospital visits. Sometimes we don’t have the energy to sit there and experience it alone, especially dealing with some of the clinic staff. You also get a chance to ask some of the questions to your doctor or mention things that your partner hasn’t. Learn, and try to gather knowledge about the pregnancy, what to expect at every stage, and what could and couldn’t be normal.
Be thoughtful, think ahead. Plan something she’d be able to handle. A little road trip, dates, and having a mobile spa or therapist come home for her. The body aches aren’t fun. So, even you can give her some massages often. Help her shop for the pregnancy and baby. Help her set up. Bring up a maternity shoot if she’s into that.
Handle the house if you must, very important. Groceries, house staff, delegate daily tasks, etc if she’s not able to or not around. The last thing she wants is to worry about that. You’ve got to toughen up and man up so much more. Usually, guys who are so used to having everything done for them find this so hard.
Listen to her, especially about the things she’s not comfortable about. Being pregnant is physically and emotionally exhausting, do not point out how much she sleeps. You only truly know someone when you live with them, and pregnancy is a next-level experience.
It’s important that the man acknowledges the pregnancy is a blessing on its own. It makes the woman feel appreciated for the gift of life she is about to bring. As a woman, you carry the child with confidence knowing the father has acknowledged and accepted the pregnancy.
Acknowledging is one thing, but being supportive is another thing. Calling to check up on you, being present throughout the whole period, helping out during the nausea stage, and buying your pregnant partner whatever food cravings they have.
Lastly, men have to be understanding during this period, because the woman experiences all sorts of hormones and they may tend to act differently. For instance, pregnant brain you easily forget or your mind doesn’t function to its full capacity. It’s nice when men are considerate at this stage.
P.S. It’s a nice gesture when a man plans in advance, that means buying baby clothes and items before birth. It takes the pressure off us women knowing the baby will have all they need when they arrive.
Going through the first pregnancy alone was so difficult. There were times when I just needed someone to rub my feet or back but there was no one. Then I miscarried.
With my second pregnancy, my partner was very supportive and patient with me, especially because I got very sick. I’d get so sick and wouldn’t be able to do the house chores, but he’d be there to pull the slack, clean, and cook. During moments when I’d have to vomit, he would be there.
What was beautiful the second time was having a partner with me, even during the hospital visits. Something I wish I had during the first pregnancy. What was even better was just randomly getting food and snacks from him, especially when he’d be coming back from work.
Pregnancy especially your first one (unfortunately, nothing really changes) is a very scary and stressful time for most women. In addition to the physical demands that it places on one’s body, the mental stress can be unbearable if one has no outlet. You worry about everything. In addition to dealing with the physical and mental demands, one must also keep up with the demands of existing roles (girlfriend/wife/friend/mother/worker/student). So, what can a partner do to support a pregnant woman? Listen to the unsaid and be in a safe place in this exciting but scary time.
My fondest memory of my first pregnancy was my husband cooking and freezing meals for me. I was working and in school. He had just gotten a job in another town. We agreed that I would stay where I was and move once the baby was born. I lived with my sister and had plenty of support from friends and family.
My husband would visit every weekend and he would cook and freeze meals to last the whole week. Though he was miles away, he was always available to listen and calm my fears. He would plan his days off from work according to my antenatal visits and he kept track of all the important dates. He showed his excitement and shared his fears openly. He listened and respected even my most unreasonable demands.
I also appreciated him reading and learning about each stage of the pregnancy but also understood that pregnancy is not a ‘one size fits all’ affair. It is normal for a partner to feel left out, but how one acts is important. Be supportive but don’t be annoying. Be willing to step outside one’s comfort zone and focus on supporting your partner. Make time to attend antenatal visits and sign up for birthing/nursing classes. Be prepared to meet the increasing demands of your partner with increasing time. Be involved in preparing for the arrival of your child.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through various things controlled mainly by hormones. Once her husband understands this it’ll help him to be more patient with her and sensitive to her needs.
There are cravings and mood swings and these also require that her partner is understanding enough to not get upset and try as much as he can to meet these needs.
If you’re confused please ask her what you can do to make her feel better or happier. This is one of the safest ways to meet her need especially because pregnancy hormones vary from person to person. It’s not the same for every woman. Some want to be held at certain times while others may demand space at other times.
Help out with chores to lighten the burden!
The pampering, massage, and cuddling help a lot too. It’s important to also be available as much as you’re needed. Let your presence be felt. Ask her how she’s feeling and what would help ease the burden or pain.
Hold her as often as she needs, have conversations, pray, feel her belly, and talk to your baby too.
Don’t forget to be intentional with your words. Only positive and Kind words. Constantly encourage and appreciate her.
There are a couple of ways a partner can be supportive during pregnancy, some are:
- Going to antenatal appointments together. It is from there that men understand better what to expect as the pregnancy progresses. It is also a good way to bond with the baby.
- Encourage your partner to be active by taking part. Going on walks or runs together so she can keep fit and active
- If money is not a problem, take trips, and find other ways to help her relax like spa treatments.
- For men who drink, sometimes it’s best to take a break so you can be fully present during the journey. Spend more time at home and with her than out with friends. Pregnancy is lonely and having a partner who is not always around can be stressful. My husband stopped going places, he wasn’t drinking as much and stayed with me even if that meant watching me sleep.
- Baby shopping is for both of you. Take an active part in choosing furniture, clothes, or nursery designs. The man should be a part of every preparation for the baby till the end.
These insights from women on the support they crave from their partners during pregnancy should enlighten not only men but even other women who are deciding on getting on the journey. From all that has been said, presence has been the one stressed the most, not just physically but exuding emotional support during pregnancy as well.
Do not forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below.