By Christina VanGinkel
When you make the big announcement, 'I'm Pregnant!" the usual scenario calls for you to be the center of attention for the ensuing months until baby is born. Then baby becomes the center of attention. Through all of this, the dad-to-be may be enjoying that no focus is on him, or he could be feeling a bit left out. If your circumstances mimic the second one, with dad-to-be feeling like a third wheel in the whole thing, there are things you can do to help him feel like he is more of a central part of the impending birth, as he truly is.
Ask him if he would like to accompany you to your doctor appointments, and to any tests, such as ultrasounds. Be sure to tell him that if he has any questions, he should feel free to ask the doctor.
Have him do a weigh in with you each time you are weighed at the doctor. Some men go at exercise more diligently than before, wanting to make sure, they stay in shape for baby's impending arrival, and others will gain weight as if they were the one carrying around the growing baby. By having them weigh in too, it will make them keep on top of their health right along with you.
Share with him when the baby first flutters and kicks.
Try to be patient with him when your hormones jump out of whack and you want nothing more than to ignore him. Remind yourself that he does not have a clue what is bothering you.
If you are creating a scrapbook of the pregnancy, be sure to include him in that also. It is sometimes surprising how simple things like scrapbooks can excite a new dad-to-be as much as the pregnant mom.
Be sure to tell others (Read this as telling both your mothers!) how good a dad-to-be he is going to be, and tell them what he has done to get everything ready, such as painting the nursery and shopping with you without ever complaining how long it took you to pick out one pack of onesies.
If you are both readers and you find yourself purchasing every book on the subject you can find, be sure to grab a few that are for the dad. Subscribe to some parenting magazines and be sure to share.
Let him choose how much or how little he takes part in the actual birth. I can tell you from experience that of our three children, my husband nearly missed the birth of one, wished he missed the birth of another, and was by my side through the other one, with it being a long, drawn out, complicated birth. He loves all three kids equally, and me the same.
When baby arrives, let him share in baby's care, and avoid telling him he is doing something wrong. Remind yourself that you are both learning and a backwards diaper or an upside down nook is not the end of the world. At the most, they will make for some cute stories or scrapbook layouts down the road.