The Deal with Daddy

john-lennon-and-sean

Mommy’s Corner is a weekly series exploring our journey in becoming parents, our love for our ShuGar baby, and general topics related to mommyhood.

Before I proceed with today’s post, I’d like to share that after doing the secondary gestational diabetes testing last week, I got my results and all my sugar levels were back to normal! (Doing cartwheels in my head!). If you are new to the blog, I revealed that I had been diagnosed with borderline gestational diabetes. My OB advised me to change my diet to avoid having to do daily blood check, insulin, etc. With the support of Mr. ShuGar, I tried to eradicate as much sugar from my diet (less than 5 grams per serving), continued with my exercise routine of cardio four times a week, and incorporated more walks after meals. It worked! I’m so relieved because I really transformed my eating habits and it was quite challenging. I am glad that I can now continue with my current low-sugar, high-fiber diet and be more at ease with my overall pregnancy health. Thanks to all who gave me e-hugs throughout this process.

Let’s talk about daddies. Going through this entire gestational diabetes process and really my entire pregnancy, I have developed a deeper perspective in terms of the role our partners play in this state of mommyhood. I even reflected on precisely this on facebook last week.  How important is having daddy present pre-baby?

The quick answer: It’s monumentally valuable, probably even immeasurable.  I understand that couples come in all shapes and sizes and there are same-sex couples. However, for purposes of this blog post, I will speak from my own experience with a male partner. Many thoughts may be relatable to all couples.

Reflecting on the lessons learned in our baby care class,  daddies parent differently than mommies and that’s a good thing.  They warned us moms-to-be to let dads be who they are and not try to convert them to do as we do. Babies develop better with both a female and male parenting style. Our teachers even gave us some articles, which discussed at length the benefits of having a dual parent household. Plus, there is just loads of research out there which supports fathers playing an active role in a child’s life. It’s no secret; Baby needs daddy as much as he needs mommy.

For purposes of this post, I’d like to talk more about pre-birth and daddy’s involvement during the pregnancy stage. It’s fascinating because even as I type this, I can see ShuGar Boy swishing around my belly. We’re having our own private moment right now where he is talking to me and I am feeling and listening to him. It’s a magical bond between him and me. But, how do daddies feel watching their partners carry their child? They see the changes happening, but they don’t experience, for example, the pops baby makes nor do they have to adjust their diet to keep their baby healthy.

Does this mean they are dispensable in the pre-baby phase? Hardly. According to the Baby Center, many fathers-to-be begin to develop resentment that baby has sort of usurped their lives. Daddies may be feeling that they are no longer the center of attention and there is a new king or queen in town, which is hogging up all the spotlight without even being born yet. I don’t think all fathers consciously choose to feel this way, but emotions aren’t rational. They just are.

Daddies might also feel a sense of jealousy with the mom-to-be because she gets to have daily reminders that she is with child and fathers have to actively remind people they are having a baby. You never hear a dad being told he has a “pregnancy glow”, even though I know dads are beaming with excitement, happiness, and nervousness.

Since many men aren’t always the most expressive when it comes to speaking about their emotions, I think it would help us women to include daddies in our pregnancy journey as much as we can. How do you do that? Below are some ways I have found that have worked for us.

  • Talk to Daddy: I always tell Mr. ShuGar to sing to ShuGar Baby in the morning and greet him in the evening when I get home. Babies can hear a lot at this stage in my pregnancy and I want to make sure ShuGar Boy knows his daddy’s voice. Added bonus: It’s a special time for daddy and son to just talk. I don’t say anything when it’s them two communicating. Research has shown that babies can immediately recognize both of our voices right after birth!

 

  • Invite Daddy to your Prenatal Appointments/Baby Classes: I realize this may conflict with a lot of work schedules, but if possible, take your partner along to the check ups and any baby classes you sign up for. It keeps them informed and also allows them to follow along this journey. Mr. ShuGar has gone to all my OB visits and classes and takes great notes. He often asks questions I didn’t even think of!

 

  • Include Daddy in Nesting Projects: We have a lot of stuff happening in the baby room at the moment and I have included Mr. ShuGar in all the home projects. I have asked for his opinion on baby room colors, decor, and even in our registry. I’m sure traditionally it’s the mom who does these things, but I want his voice to be incorporated. Beware ladies: He may not like your ideas all the time so you have to go with the flow.

 

  • Have a Co-ed Baby Shower: Time are a changin’! Now, we can invite our hubs’ friends to celebrate him being a father. I opted for a more non-traditional shower because I wanted Mr. ShuGar to feel that he is also being celebrated. We even gave Mr. ShuGar some baby shower responsibilities that he is not taking lightly! So cute! I truly believe that daddies want to be acknowledged in this stage of their lives and what better way than to throw a party! Tip: Have beer present at some point in the shower.

 

  • Do a Daily Daddy Tradition: Similarly to the point above about having Mr. ShuGar talk to baby, I also ask him to help me put cocoa butter on my belly every day. I can certainly manage to do it myself, but I feel that this is one task that Mr. ShuGar can do so that he can “feel” what it’s like to have a belly bump. Plus, it’s nice because Mr. ShuGar has the softest hands so an added treat for me!

 

  • Give Daddy Homework: Let’s face it; There are a million things to do to prep for baby. To make my load lighter, I’ve asked Mr. ShuGar to read about my preggo diet and ways to exercise with the belly bump.  It’s not easy reading tons of research on your own, so Mr. ShuGar has given me cliff notes of the good stuff. So, so helpful! A friend, who is also a recent father, recommended giving Mr. ShuGar The Birth Partner to prep him for his role as my birthing partner for delivery. I highly recommend this book as it goes beyond just labor recommendations, but it covers lots of pregnancy support and beyond.

 

  • Daddy and Mommy Time: This is a hard one the closer baby comes, but try to make time to just hang out with daddy. Baby talk doesn’t even have to be involved in the convo necessarily. Taking time to be a couple prior to baby is something I have cherished in these past seven months. My love for Mr. ShuGar has grown exponentially because we are the two people who are on this amazing parenting ride together and we support each other. The Baby Center also advises mommies to ask daddies how they are feeling about the pre-baby stage, follow up with them if they have any concerns/fears, and just listen to daddy speak. A nice “thank you” to daddy goes a long way. It’s the little things in a marriage that make love grow.

 

There you have it – ways to make daddy feel special. It’s not difficult to do because daddies are truly a gift to mommies and baby. I really have mad respect for single moms out there. I have no clue how they do it! For me, Mr. ShuGar has been the person holding my hand throughout this entire process and I know ShuGar Boy is blessed to have him as a father. It’s the best decision I could have ever made when deciding to have a baby.

Did you have your partner involved in the pre-baby stage? How did you incorporate him? What are some other ways to get daddies involved? If you are not a mom, do you anticipate having your partner take an active role in your pregnancy if you plan on having children?

Photo credit: John Lennon and Sean

  • Erin @ Read-at-Home Mama

    I love this post!! It’s super important to involve Daddy as much as possible in the pregnancy, even though you’re the one carrying that bundle of love! I was terrified of going to the doctor alone — I constantly worried that the one time I’d go alone would be the time I was told there was something wrong with the baby — so I made a point of scheduling each and every check-up, ultrasound, and blood draw early in the morning so that The Hubby could join me before going to work. (I was also fortunate in that my mom also attended nearly every appointment, and she and I would spend the days walking and shopping and eating and making sure Joshua was happy in my belly.) And, of course, the only appointment I had to attend alone (they could only get me in at 1:30 in the afternoon and Hubs and Mom both had to work) was the one where I was told they wanted to do an amniocentesis. I refused it, and I’m happy I did. I couldn’t have handled that needle without Hubs present!

    All that being said, your ideas are wonderful. I’m so happy that Mr. ShuGar is as into this pregnancy as you are! I don’t know if you’re planning to breastfeed, but if you are you can pump into bottles so he can feed Baby ShuGar too (not to mention that taking a bottle will be good practice for the baby if you need to put him in daycare)! Joshua was formula-fed and Hubs LOVED getting to feed him…breastfeeding is a mommy-and-me thing, so getting to share that opportunity with daddy is great for bonding. I know Mr. ShuGar is going to be a great dad just from what you’ve written of him! 🙂

    • Thanks so very much, Erin! I am with you with taking the hubs to the OB appointments. He provides not only comfort, but also it’s a great way for them to be connected to the pregnancy. Oh my gosh – I can’t believe they asked you to do an amnio when he wasn’t around! I would have been terrified! I would have done the same thing as you. I dreaded that suggestion.

      Yes, I am planning on breastfeeding if all goes well. I love your idea of incorporating Mr. ShuGar by pumping at some point so he can share in the experience. ShuGar Boy will not be in day care in the beginning since Mr. ShuGar works from home and my mom will also help. However, I will need to go back to work eventually, and that is why I will need to pump. I am looking forward to breast feeding my little man and also sharing the feeding experience with Mr. ShuGar. Thank you so very much for your kindness and suggestions!

  • Kristen Genevieve

    Yay!! So great to hear about your blood sugar levels going down!! All your hard work is paying off. Congratulations!! 😉
    I agree with everything you said about involving Dad in this post. You’ve got some great, concrete examples of ways to involve Dad. The research you pointed out is spot on. It’s so true – I don’t know what I would do without my husband’s love & support. His love for our baby also makes me love him even more.
    My husband has made a few comments throughout my pregnancy about me loving the baby more. Since before we got married, I’ve held a very traditional view (that my mom & mother-in-law don’t fully agree with) that I will always love my husband first because he is the one I chose to spend my life with. My kids will have their own personalities and live their own lives once their grown, but he is my soul mate, my forever partner in crime. I know I’ll definitely have a different, immensely deep love for my kids and have to spend a significant part of each day nourishing their development, but I have promised my husband that I’ll never neglect him. I do this because that’s also what I want (and need) in return. This type of relationship doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for us.

    Great post, as always! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kristen! I am so relieved my sugar levels are back to normal. Now, I just have to keep it up. Glad you agree with my suggestions. Our husbands are out gifts and we are lucky they have been with us every step of the way.

      Funny, but Mr. ShuGar has made similar comments when he gets sensitive. It’s quite cute really. I understand where they are coming from, though. It’s natural to feel that way when a new person “comes” into the relationship. I am right with you when it comes to loving your husband first and loving your kids too, just in a different way. This whole relationship was born from that love between the two of us and it still needs to be nourished, despite baby being present. I am sure this will be extremely challenging, but it must be acknowledged and tended to. I love that you said when the kids grow up, the hubs will still be there so to not ever forget that. Yes! So happy we have the same sentiments. Love is really all I need in return, too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hello Mrs Shugar! Yes, my husband was very involved with all the pre-baby engagements and I remembered we did have a co-ed baby shower. One thing that helped him immensely was taking a class at the hospital where we delivered. This class was targeted only for new to be dads. He felt very prepared and confident after taking this class! How exciting for this new chapter in your life! Can’t wait to hear more about your journey on becoming parents 😉

    • Hi Ursula! Glad your hubs was involved in your pre-baby things to do. It makes the whole experience so much more worthwhile to share with each other. I love that your hubs took a daddy class! How wonderful. I’ll have to see if there is one in our hospital. For now, we are taking all classes together and it sure helps to have someone there with you to share the experience with. Thanks for your suggestion and for visiting! I appreciate it!

  • Hooray for your sugar levels going down!! My hubby was super supportive during my pregnancy and was by my side for all 60 hours of my scary labour. He’s an amazing Daddy 🙂 I don’t know how single mom’s do it, props to them because they are amazing!

    • Yay! Super happy about my sugar levels! What a relief. So great to hear your hubs was supportive. What a gift! 60 hours….holy moly!!!!! What? You are one mama warrior! I agree with you; single mamas deserve a lot of praise. I really have no clue how they survive. After long days, I just collapse on the couch and have Mr. ShuGar take over. I am grateful for having him here to support me. Thanks so much for visiting!

  • I’m so glad to hear that your sugar levels are back to normal!
    This was a great post, I think it is SO important to include your partner in the pregnancy. You are completely right when you say that we are experiencing things the other person doesn’t get to enjoy, but they still can play a major role. My boyfriend really enjoyed having co-ed baby showers. The games and presents helped him feel like we were a team and it was great.
    Love this list! I will pass on to my friends. 🙂

    • So am I! Big sigh of relief! Glad to hear your boyfriend enjoyed the co-ed baby showers. I think Mr. ShuGar is going to like what we have planned. That’s exactly what I wanted him to feel – like we are Team ShuGar doing this together! Thanks for liking and sharing with your friends. Much appreciated!

  • KPsays

    So glad you were able to take care of your sugar levels “naturally”. My heart just melted seeing that photo of Lennon. Keep doing what you’re doing girl!

    • Me too, Karen. This is one of my fave Lennon photos. You can see the love. Thanks for the support, sweet friend!