a father gets close to his wife's bump


I’m a Man and I Take Care of My Wife — Before, During and After Pregnancy

Apr 2, 2019

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the course of becoming a parent, it’s to always be present and open to the unexpected. This sounds like a simple guideline to follow, maybe even an obvious one, but it’s the most consistently relevant bit of advice I could pass on to expectant parents, and my baseline for effectively supporting my partner.

When you're not the one carrying the child, waiting and watching as your pregnant partner goes through a surreal series of changes is your role. Our transition is a much slower burn than the total physical takeover undergone by our partners.

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While they battle nausea and any number of powerful hormonal shifts in the first trimester, we may just be wrapping our minds around what the addition of a baby will entail. While they hurtle closer to the inevitable stunner of childbirth, we may have the luxury of focusing on what kind of bizarre food they suddenly require in the middle of the night. This imbalance is frankly unfair, but it offers us the chance to establish ourselves as strong supportive companions to life’s great miracle.

When you're not the one carrying the child, waiting and watching as your pregnant partner goes through a surreal series of changes is your role.

For me, it started with just being there for her, as I committed to fewer social engagements and spent more time at my wife’s side. We got into crossword puzzles, de-cluttered our home and re-watched some of our favourite TV shows. I remained at the ready for those midnight cravings, to offer a back or foot rub and to provide an empathetic ear in challenging moments. While there were times when I wished I could bear more of the burden myself, I felt useful in my role as an attendant husband. As we neared the due date, I psyched myself up for the major shift that lay ahead.

When our daughter arrived, I was finally able to do more. I could offer my wife some much-needed rest by taking the baby for a walk or even into the other room for a while. I could handle the scheduling of countless family members and friends coming to meet our new addition for the first time, and I could stay awake for the 11 p.m. dream feed that became a cherished nightly ritual.

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I went out to do the shopping, especially when we had relatives on hand to assist with the baby and offer my wife a breather. I cooked and cleaned as much as possible, knowing those were easy areas for me to take on more duty. I listened carefully to my wife’s description of her experience as a new mom, and I did the best I could to comfort and relax her when the physical toll became overbearing. Most of all, I was there, taking on each moment as an active participant and doing whatever it took to lovingly support my wife in such a delicate time.

So many things that had never crossed my mind became essential to our lives. I never thought about postpartum recovery, pumping implements, sleep training, baby-proofing or plenty of other subjects that popped up. Our daughter is almost two years old now, and we continue to discover new aspects of our parenting journey. Our openness to the unexpected remains critical to our readiness as parents. Presence and patience have brought me closer to my partner in the process, and have made me more able to appreciate the experience of creating and nurturing a new life — together.

Article Author Dan Warry-Smith
Dan Warry-Smith

Dan Warry-Smith is a writer, producer and performer from Toronto with over two decades of diverse experience in the entertainment industry. Dan can be heard discussing the intricacies of fatherhood on Big Poppas: The Podcast For Modern Dads, or singing songs with his daughter while pushing her stroller around the city.

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