Whether you choose adoption or parenting, these 9 months are going to bring a lot of changes. Your relationship may be tested, but remember that it is a complex and beautiful process going on inside your girlfriend’s belly!
This might mean passing on a blessing to another family or bringing home a little bundle of joy. Hang on to that end goal, and don’t forget that your girlfriend is giving a lot of her body to make this happen.
Have fun with each other – take her on dates, make sure that bump on her belly hasn’t changed how you feel about her (unless it has for the better!). A lot of your world right now might revolve around the pregnancy and preparation, but don’t forget that your girlfriend is still there and needs love and support, too.
If you and your girlfriend do not plan to continue the relationship, or if tensions are high, figure out ways that you can support and help her from a distance.
Emotional and Physical Changes
Here are some things that might affect how your girlfriend acts or feels and that you’ll want to prepare for:
- Mood swings – her hormones may be bouncing all over the place and making it hard to make her happy. Try to roll with the punches and find ways you can talk and connect with her that help her stay calm and steady.
- Nausea, vomiting (maybe), and food aversions – going out for a “quick bite” might not be so easy. Pizza and burgers may give her heartburn, or the smell of your tuna-salad sandwich might send her gagging to the bathroom. Make a list for yourself of what she can eat or drink. If she’s nauseated, have some dry crackers, ginger cookies, or lemon drops on hand to help ease nausea. If even the thought of tacos makes her gag, don’t suggest them.
- Headaches, backaches, and cramping – her hormones may cause some of these symptoms, along with the gained weight from the baby. Sometimes early in pregnancy, mothers will stop drinking caffeine (for pregnancy health) and may experience some withdrawal headaches.
- Growing belly & breasts – obviously, pregnancy will mean weight gain and often includes breast tissue growth. She’s going to look different, but don’t forget that a lot of women struggle with body image during pregnancy. Encourage her!
- Fatigue – many women deal with a lack of energy and a heightened desire to sleep during pregnancy. This might mean date nights are cut short or that you see her less often because she needs to rest. Fatigue is normal during pregnancy!
- Ante- and Postpartum depression – not all women will deal with this, but some women will have symptoms of depression during or after a pregnancy. This can be a serious problem, and if you have any concerns, the Maternal Mental Health program offers a free, 24-hour helpline for information & services at 1-800-662-HELP (2457), or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It is important to let her doctor know about your concerns.
There are some extra activities you may participate in with her during the pregnancy:
- Doctor’s appointments – these may include ultrasounds, blood draws, information, gynecological exams, among other things. Support her during these times, and ask her what she wants from you during an appointment. Does she want you to let her talk? Does she want you to help remember what questions she’d like to ask?
- Frequent trips to the bathroom – pregnancy weight/direct pressure and hormones can cause a very active bladder. This might mean keeping your eye out for the closest bathroom if you’re out together.
- Baby shower – you might be asked to help with a baby shower or asked to attend.
- The birth – if you are on good terms and plan to continue the relationship past the pregnancy, this is something you should consider attending. If you’ve gone through childbirth classes with her, you’ll know that it is important to have someone to help guide and care for her during this difficult process. Hold her hand, give her ice chips, and be a good support person!
- Shopping for baby items – if you plan to parent the child, there are many items you’ll want to have ready to go before the birth. She may request your help in obtaining these items. This might include car seats, diapers, wipes, bottles, formula (if not breastfeeding), a highchair, stroller, bassinet, pack N play, crib, and much more.
Pregnancy might mean a lot of changes, but try not to let that get to you. At ACPC, we have tons of support for guys like you like 24/7 Dad, Journey to Manhood and one-on-one mentoring with an experienced dad. Visit our Life Services Page for a complete list of our services for guys.
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