This week Chiamaka briefly discusses how you can support your partner during pregnancy and childbirth.
It is honestly kind of ridiculous that some of the things that will be mentioned or listed in this article even have to be said. Protecting and dignifying the humanity of people who experience pregnancy is something that the society at large generally fails to do. Sometimes, it is systemic reasons such as poverty, restricted access to proper healthcare and unpaid maternity leave. Other times, it is being intimidated by their partners during a vulnerable time, having their concerns dismissed or belittled by their health providers or their autonomy being left out in favor of the baby’s. In order to combat some of these personal failures, I will spell out some of the ways in which people’s partners can help and encourage them during pregnancy and eventual childbirth.
Firstly, as a prospective parent, you should be aware that your partner’s body will change in many ways during pregnancy. It may change in ways that you had not anticipated. For example, some women report their teeth falling out and their noses getting larger. Some women report their feet swelling and their backs giving out. Some women gain weight, while some lose weight—drastically. In order to prepare for this, think of yourself less in question to their own body and think of how they may be feeling instead. The changes might be ‘hard’ for you to deal with, but it is even harder for them to look in the mirror and see a person they may not recognize. Support them with your words and actions. Compliment them regardless, especially when they do things despite their tiredness. Do not, ever, comment on your dislike of their changing state.
Try to find outlets for your frustration that does not include the person who is pregnant. Even if your partner is having a fairly easy-going pregnancy journey, try to pay attention to their likes and dislikes during this time. Appreciate their gift towards you, the gift of childbirth. It is very important to learn to be less selfish in this moment, as the child-bearer may also become more demanding. Fulfill their wishes to the best of your ability. If something they desire cannot be achieved, distract them from it. Bear in mind that they may also be going through some pains, so read books on remedies and quick fixes for such occurrences.
A lot of women report their taste buds changing, different cravings and a good amount of nausea. Understand that a lot of food may be wasted during this time, and try to pattern what they like to have around. There are many snacks that help with nausea, such as dry crackers. Keep medicine around for their nausea and also make sure they are on the nose with their antenatal treatments. Book massages for them, to ease their aches. Also, if you have a very tasking job, have it documented that your partner is pregnant and that some emergencies may come up as a result of this. If your job is completely unhelpful, consider the fact that you may miss out on a lot of things as a result. Of course, you are also human, so do your best to feel rested in this period. It may be helpful, especially, to find support groups that will assist you. Just remember that as difficult as this period is for you, it is even more difficult for the person during the child bearing.