By Juan Santos, M.S., CRC, LPCA
My wife and I recently had our number second child. We are now proud parents of a two-year-old whose batteries never seem to run out and a 7-month-old who loves to keep us up at night. As a couples expert, father, and husband, I want to share an endless list of ways to cherish your partner while you are waiting for a baby.
The first step is simple, come to the realization that your wife is the one who must endure the substantial change. Like the 12-step program in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the first step here is realizing that your partner needs to be cherished.
Before diving into my list, I would love for you to do one small thing first. Often, we, including myself, open questions with a list of answers. The foundation step should be to “ASK YOUR PARTNER.” Sit down with your expecting partner and ask the question: “How can I cherish you while waiting for our baby?”
Below is a list that in all honesty should be never ending. The list should be like Hermione’s purse in Harry potter or the insanely looking purse Mary Poppins carried around. Never ending!
- If religion is a strong part of your relationship. Consider starting and ending each day with a devotional that focuses on the upcoming journey.
- Partners should strive to show enthusiasm and interest. This simply means that your partner will be expecting your child soon. Visit your local used book store and say hello to every baby related book. Allow your partner to see how involved you are. At times, the scariest feeling is that of feeling alone.
- As a couple’s therapist, I love encouraging partners to build mini bucket lists. As you wait for the baby, create a mini bucket list of activities to do or places to go. This opportunity will allow your partner to feel cherished while further strengthening the emotional bond in your relationship.
- Do not forget to separate the two. As the two of you await the baby, it is important to show your partner that you love them as one and the baby as another. My wife has always been a coffee lover. As literature guides expecting mothers, it is commonly known that coffee should be decreased and monitored for expecting mothers. As my wife and I waited for our baby, I made sure to splurge my wife with varieties of coffee. It paid off!
- “Treat yo-self”. One of my favorite shows is Parks and Recreation. The show highlights a character who has a set day during the year in which he “treats himself” to whatever he wants. No limits. Fun fact, babies are expensive. Before your beautiful expensive baby arrives, treat yo-self. Consider showing your partner that you cherish them by going out on a small shopping spree or a fun vacation! Did someone say Cruise?
- Cherish your partner with soft blankets, comfy pillows and endless Netflix. Your partner is going to be carrying around a baby. It may be in the dead of summer or freezing snow. Spend time being lazy. Call it super lazy season.
- Plan ahead. Yes, the list is supposed to be on ways to cherish your partner prior to the baby showing up. However, by planning upcoming events, vacations, and experiences your partner and you will see your baby as part of the journey.