Change is afoot, so why not change yourself
Week 10 of pregnancy has arrived and together your partner and your baby are making some landmark changes as they move into the fetal phase – the embryo becomes a fetus and the placenta begins to provide oxygen and nutrients to your unborn child.
However, although the swelling of your partner’s breasts and her burgeoning bump may be noticeable now, there are a multitude of changes occurring to the fetus, which, as they are all taking place inside the womb, remain much more mysterious.
That is not to say that your partner is not a thing of magic and mystery at this stage – undoubtedly she is, and you will have to be patient as the magic and mystery begin to take effect, sometimes unpleasantly.
For example, however sexy your partner’s expanding boobs might seem to you right now, to her they are likely to be feeling sensitive, tender and potentially even painful.
The 10-week mood check
Your wife’s complaints about tenderness, pain and nausea should serve as a useful reminder to you – there is much more going on in pregnancy than that which appears on the surface. Inside your partner’s body, countless hormonal and physical changes associated with the development of your baby are taking place and your wife’s body has become the HQ for what many people still believe to be the greatest miracle of all: the creation of a new human, the most intelligent and complex organism in the known universe.
Against this background, it is a little easier to understand why your partner might not feel sexy during this stage. However, this is not to say she won’t as things progress; even some women experiencing morning sickness might occasionally be in the mood. While, for some women in the first trimester, increased blood flow to the sexual organs will cause their libido to go into overdrive. The only thing you can confidently predict is that your partner will seem unpredictable and you’d better get used to it.
Is she being served?
By now you may have realised something important: although you are as much the creator of the new life growing inside your partner as she is, you will seem, at least on a practical level, to be the lesser part of the equation. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
In fact, your supporting role is an incredibly important opportunity and by embracing it you can actually do something incredibly central: build strong foundations for the physical, emotional and mental health of your partner and child.
As well as providing your partner with regular snacks, massages and conversations, you should consider how you can add that extra ingredient, whether it is a surprise lunch, breakfast in bed or an occasional bouquet of flowers. These little extras will help will help cement the bond of your relationship and will ensure that you don’t become sidelined by the early stages of the maternal process. It’s fundamentally about support – as your partner works to give life to a your cellular creation, you can help by being engaged, caring and, well, supportive.
Be connected to yourself
It is not uncommon for dads to feel left out or alienated by the mother-child bond occurring during pregnancy. By remaining connected in the process of pregnancy, and involved in all the discussions and plans that are required, you can ensure that you create a positive and empowered dynamic that does not result in you feeling that you are basically of less importance than the family dog.
Part of this involves asserting your own feelings and worries. Your partner is likely to appreciate it if you discuss your own emotional state at the right moments, and being clear about how you are feeling is inevitably going to be a more positive instrument for progress than moping around feeling sorry for yourself.
And if you’re genuinely finding things tough – perhaps because pregnancy is recapitulating feelings of hurt, damage or difficulty from your own childhood – seek help from your GP. It is far better to address these issues at an early stage than later when they are bound to have an impact on the family dynamic.
In addition, and bearing in mind that your partner will be looking to be as healthy as possible during pregnancy, now is a good time for you to think about your lifestyle and whether you could be healthier, and we’re not just talking about exercising your biceps by carrying heavy shopping bags.
Keep fit, whether it is through jogging, swimming or ball sports. Doing so can help you ensure that you have plenty of the energy you will need come the time of the new arrival. And if you find that you are responsible for more cooking than you have been previously, use it as an opportunity to explore and expand your repertoire of healthy recipes. Your good health can only be good for you all.