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