10 weeks left. That’s all that separates my wife and I from meeting our sweet daughter. And that 10 week timeline is really just a best guest, because if she is anything like her mother, she’ll make her grande debut whenever she dang well pleases.
We’re in the final stretch, and along with this portion of the pregnancy comes other responsibilities and to-do list items. So dads, listen up – there’s plenty to do and not too much time to do it.
1) Get that nursery done. The nursery is an awesome opportunity to do something, to create something, for your soon to be child, and it also serves as a great moment of bonding between you and your partner. Painting, decorating and getting the crib put together are some a few examples of how you will be determing the environment that your little angel will grow up in.
2) Rub your partner’s feet. For some women, swelling hardly happens. For others, it sucks, a lot, and causes a tremendous amount of discomfort. Be the sweet man she needs you to be and give her a good foot rub to try to relieve some of that pressure.
3) Cook more. Time to learn how NOT to burn everything you touch. Look up some easy recipes, or just throw together a good salad and grill some chicken. Little things really add up, and especially if your partner just got home from a hard day of work, let her relax and put her (potentially swollen) feet up and make her dinner.
4) Clean. Dishes. Laundry. Tidy things up. I don’t care how much you hate dishes – and lets face it, nobody really likes doing dishes – it’s time to suck it up and get it done. Make sure things are clean. Make sure she has clean clothes to wear. And just pick up around the house so she doesn’t have to stress about the clutter. (Still working on that one…. sorry baby.)
5) Register for birthing classes. Are you ready for child birth? Because I’m definitely not. Lets face it, it’s terrifying for us men and we aren’t even the ones doing the work. For you and your partner both, it’s an excellent idea to take a class that will help you both learn what it’s going to be like and help you mentally prepare. Check with your OB or the hospital where you will be delivering to get a handle on your options.
6) Start checking off big ticket items. Crib. Car seat. Stroller. You know, the BIG stuff. If you feel you don’t have enough blankets or “oh he/she would look so cute in that” pop into your head, make sure you have those big ticket items in place. Babies aren’t cheap.
7) Put away those baby shower gifts. If you’re having a baby shower, you’re going to end up with stuff. Some of the stuff you will love. Some of it you will absolutely need. And then, sometimes, you’ll get something that quite frankly you just don’t want. Go through those gifts with your partner, decide what’s going where (and what’s getting returned).
8) Time to find a pediatrician. So, your baby is going to need a pediatrician. Save yourself some stress and find one now. Ask friends or family for suggestions of good pediatricians in the area and feel free to interview them. It’s a great idea to know where they stand on certain issues, how they approach things and what you could expect from them.
9) Start thinking about childcare. I know guys, that word is scary enough to make your skin crawl, but you have to tackle it. Talk it out with your partner. What’s the plan? Is your partner working? Will she be returning to work? Will you hire a nanny or go public child care? There are a lot of options, and quite frankly, hardly any of them are cheap. It’s an expensive process. Start talking about it now so you and your partner know exactly what to budget for.
10) Validate your partner’s fears. Fellas, you need to understand that as overwhelmed as you may be, your partner is going to be giving birth. And I have no idea how they do it. Your woman is stronger than she even knows, but she’s likely absolutely terrified right now at the prospect of giving birth. You need to validate those concerns. Talk it out with her. Come up with solutions. Figure out a plan. But don’t tell her just to “get over it.” In no way am I perfect – I’m definitely guilty of saying things of this nature at times. But I have to remind myself how big of a deal this is and how daunting the delivery is on my wife. It’s crucial to support her and be there for her, calming her nerves while still validating that her fears are very real.
So, there you are. 10 weeks left and a bunch of stuff to think about. Things are really starting to ramp up to D-Day now….