How Expectant Moms & Expectant Dads Can Empathize With Each Other

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Man with his pregnant wife in kitchenExpectant moms and dads often say, “We are pregnant” and indeed they are. The woman is carrying the baby bodily. The man is carrying the baby by watching his partner’s body grow and change.

Both however, carry the baby emotionally in their minds. It’s important for them to be able to share their experiences, so they feel connected as they begin parenthood together. But how do they do it from their different perspectives?

7 Tips for Expectant Moms about Empathizing with Expectant Dads

1. Some guys feel a bit out of the loop. Tell him how you experience different trimesters in as much detail as he seems to want. Invite questions and offer sensitive responses.
2. Invite your guy to come to obstetric appointments. Consider both your schedules when planning those doctor visits.
3. After doctor visits, try not to rush back to your respective day’s plans, but have time to talk about your feelings. If you’re too busy then, save time later to discuss your views.
4. Recognize that your male partner may have hormonal changes during your pregnancy and even some weight gain.
5. If your male partner seems emotional about random events, consider these reactions may be displaced from hidden overwhelming feelings about becoming a father.
6. Encourage your partner to talk with other expectant fathers. Help him find a community through your childbirth classes.
7. Some men don’t like being called baby “coaches” in child birth classes because they feel their title of Dad is being minimized. Be sensitive to this possibility.

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Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author who does psychotherapy with infants and parents, children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Hollman’s new book: Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Familius.com. She writes about infant, child and adolescent development, mental health, Parental Intelligence, and a broad range of parenting topics.

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