How to make your pregnant partner feel like a million dollars?

By Anchen Verster

Stretch marks, extra weight gain, pigmentation and swollen ankles are but a few symptoms of pregnancy that many women have to deal with. The fact is, she doesn’t feel very pretty and wants to lash out at the handful of women who feel more attractive than ever during pregnancy. It might even come as a shock to you when you see how quickly her body changes. Here’s the challenge, she really needs you to help her feel good about all these changes. The better she feels about herself, the more confident she will be in the fact that her body is changing to sustain and grow your unborn child.

Here are some tips to help you win the award for the “best pregnancy support partner”:

Train your mind to think differently about beauty… and tell her

You travel down the highway on your way to work and you’re exposed to a 19 year-old model advertising perfume or the latest lingerie on a very large billboard. As humans in many cultures we’ve been conditioned to see her shape, skin, hair as the essence of ‘attractive’. The reality is, any blemish on her body has been perfected by technology so what we see is a figment of some creative designer’s fancy. Behind closed doors, in most households, that’s not the reality. Train your mind to find your partners changing body attractive because it’s adjusting and growing to provide the safest place for your baby. A soldier returning from war will be admired and applauded for any war wounds he bears for protecting his country. So also your partner’s body changes bearing witness to the awesome job she is doing. Even the stretch marks and sags that are left behind after the birth can be cherished ‘memorials’ of a heroic task completed!

Tell her that you find her changing body beautiful.

A back rub or massage can go a long way…

12kg is an average weight gain during pregnancy. Carrying this extra weight of baby, placenta, fluid and fat storage for breastfeeding is tiring and most pregnant ladies will tell you that their bodies are aching and exhausted after an 8 hour day of work or caring for a toddler. Help her relax by offering her a gentle but deep back or foot massage.

Spend time together…

Let’s be honest, the first few weeks after a baby is born is a bit of a whirlwind for most couples. Investing in extra time together during her pregnancy will help you both cope with the adjustment after the birth. You could see it as ‘stock-piling’ before a short period of ‘drought’. The drought of ‘quality time’ with her shouldn’t continue indefinitely but it’s most likely to be a bit different after your baby is born.

Comfortable clothing…

Surprise her with a voucher to buy some comfortable clothing. Summer + pregnant don’t always go so well together and there is nothing worse than clothing that is too tight, uncomfortable or feels unattractive. A few items- not necessarily ‘maternity wear’ can go a long way.

Plan together…

Most mothers-to-be love it if their partners initiate conversation about parenting and what kind of child you’d like to raise together. We’re often adept at business and financial plans but not always so good at planning how we’ll do family. Chat together about what kind of parents you want to be. She will love it if you initiate this kind of conversation and planning. Even though she is the one who is pregnant you’ll make her feel like you are really part of the journey.

Enthusiastically attend Childbirth Preparation Classes with her…

Many expectant mothers have to work hard at encouraging their partners to join them at classes, but I have yet to meet a dad-to-be who wasn’t very glad he attended the classes and really enjoyed them. Perhaps you could go a step further and research some available options and help her decide which course to attend.

Really listen…

Pregnancy can have a significant effect on a woman’s emotions. Someone who is generally quite “chilled” can become very anxious or start to have vivid, worrying dreams. No matter how silly and insignificant the “worry” may seem to you, it can feel like a mountain to her. Listen, then ask plenty of questions and stall on providing quick solutions. Help her know you are really listening by engaging in her fears, asking more details and then exploring ways to allay those fears. A family member of mine told her husband how scared she was of giving birth. Without asking any more about what things she specifically feared, he told her he was sure she’d be fine as millions of women around the world had given birth and managed. That was the end of the conversation. Needless to say that didn’t help her at all!

Say Thank You…

The human race is slowly losing the grace of saying thank you. Say thank you to her for sacrificing her body, energy and comfort (and sleep to come) for your baby! She’ll love feeling appreciated in this way and who knows it might just motivate her to do it again and maybe even again!!

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