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Pregnant couple looking at a tablet together

The Waiting Game

We are just a few days away from the birth of our second daughter! The Christmas lights are up, the car seat is in place, and the overnight bags are packed and ready to go. Keira is excited to meet her baby sister and has readily bequeathed her nursery and adjusted to her “big girl” room.

As we get closer, I notice my excitement growing. Throughout this pregnancy, when asked how I feel about having another child, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. My feelings fluctuated. At first I was excited by each milestone and check-up, but for the most part, the pregnancy seemed like a waiting game.

As a father, I was not experiencing the physical changes that come with pregnancy. My body wasn’t creating and sustaining life. I didn’t feel every kick or punch. People I interacted with weren’t observing and commenting on my growing belly. For fathers there’s no visible evidence to the outside world of this life-altering event. It was easy to feel disconnected.

This ten-month waiting game feels similar to sitting on the bench during a championship game, eager for the coach to put you in. Fathers want to play too – it’s just not our time yet. Nevertheless, there are ways we can remain engaged and supportive to our partners. Here are some tips to help:

Ask questions about the physical changes that are happening.

Even though the transformation isn’t happening to you, it is still fascinating to learn about the human body and how it prepares for birth. Ask your partner to share what they are experiencing. Be there to support them during the highs and lows of these physical changes.

Be involved.

Fathers stereotypically choose to disengage from certain aspects of the pregnancy process, like the baby shower, setting up the nursery or clothes shopping. Jump right in. Be helpful and engaged in all areas. Sharing your opinion and feedback shows that you care and are willing to be as involved as possible.

Share excitement!

If you’re like me, it’s hard to get excited over things that you can’t yet see. It may not thrill you to know that the baby is now the size of an olive, but if your partner’s excited, then you should join in on that. Though the changes aren’t happening inside of you, the pregnancy is still a journey that you’re taking together.

As the waiting game comes to an end and reality sets in, I’ve noticed an increase in my emotions. Though I know Baby #2 will bring more stress and less sleep, I’m excited to meet her and get my turn at being a part of her life.

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About Z. Andrew Jatau, LPC

About Z. Andrew  Jatau, LPC

Z. Andrew is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the founder of Mylemarks, an online company that develops social-emotional resources to use with kids and teens. Through that company, he creates content such as digital downloads, workbooks, and children’s books. He’s an adjunct professor in the Human Services department at Old Dominion University, and serves as the Fatherhood Consultant for CHKD’s Dads in Action program. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, and listening to music.