*This post was originally published on Go Team Duncan in 2011.
Pregnancy is an interesting and emotional time. Hopefully, both parents get to experience it together. It is truly a miraculous experience. Although, even if daddy is there throughout the process, its still rather one-sided. Guys do experience certain stages, but even with mommy’s best inclusion attempts, we get left out of a lot.
Some of the more subtle nuances, however, are probably better left to women. I can’t imagine a guy with hormone imbalance and morning sickness trying to nest. Not a pretty mental picture for one. For two, nothing would get cleaned, but we’d end up with one hell of a man cave. At any rate, if you’re truly in tune with your mate, you’ll still have a few sympathy pains. I can’t describe it, but you’ll know when it happens. And the sympathy thing? You’ll get none from mama, but its similar to the funny bone concept. Smack it and you won’t laugh, but everyone else will. Have fun with that.
So the question is this:
What can you do as a daddy to be more involved?
Guys, what I’m going to tell you works, but don’t be so naïve to think that bonding doesn’t come with repercussions. Try this at your own risk. You’ve been warned.
The unborn are very aware of their surroundings. Their nervous system kicks in when they still have tails and they can hear pretty well a few months in. Try this little experiment when they start kicking around.
Definitely get hands on.
When mommy tells you she feels them moving, be there. The quicker your little lizard feels your presence, the better. They will become much more responsive the more often you feel for them. Don’t be afraid to push back a little. They like the interaction. Think of it as sparring. Mommy will love you for being so loving and excited.
Switch up the game a little.
Once they start actively responding to your touch, start working on target practice. When they kick at you, move your hand around. Keep doing this until their aim starts getting good. Mommy will still be starry eyed that you love your baby so much. She doesn’t need to know what you are really up to, though. Don’t mention MMA training in any conversations.
Step it up a notch.
After the little one can hit more than half of your targets, move to the music! Music is inspirational for all athletes. Your little bundle of joy is no different. Play music often and take note of what really sets them off. For my daughter, high-energy dance music and techno really got her butt dancing. This is when the fun starts—just not for mommy. Be aware that the child now takes up a decent amount of space and it probably within point blank range of certain organs. Cranking up Eye of the Tiger during a road trip can cause several unplanned pit stops. Mommy may not be so receptive to your gentle touch anymore, and she has likely caught on to your musical experiments.
Baby now loves you. Mommy, on the other hand…
By the time you are in the 7th or 8th month, all of your bonding time is really going to have paid off. The kiddo has now become accustomed to using its little limbs. They are putting gusto into their Tae Kwon Baby moves. Now is when you will start having bad weeks.
By all means, don’t stop the interaction, just don’t expect mommy to be in such a good mood after your little NFL kicker nails a 40 yard attempt for the win straight into her bladder. Not only will she be up in the middle of the night and miserable, but she will have cleaned up at least one embarrassing mess on the bathroom floor. She will absolutely not want to talk about it or appreciate you and your ‘bonding’ anymore, but you and your baby are now one.
I am lighthearted about all of this, but it does work. The slate doesn’t get wiped during birth. Your baby still knows who you are and will be close to you from the start. They already know mommy from heart beat and sound, but if you don’t interact early, you could face some pushback when they are born. It is going to get challenging as soon as the baby comes, so every little thing you can do to ease the tension helps.
Have fun. Its going to be great. You are going to love it.
Kicking baby image used under Creative Commons guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.cafepress.com/+baby_kick_throw_pillow,334472790