How do I help others see my partner as an equitable and true parent?
January 22, 2013 7:04 PM Subscribe
I am currently 21 weeks pregnant and my wife is not getting the attention, congratulations or support I get from others. How can I help others see her as a parent now and when the baby comes?
posted by livlab to human relations (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We've have been together for 10 years and have had a truly wonderful equitable relationship where we work hard to balance our home and personal obligations plus our professional careers, and since becoming pregnant that has not been different. We see this moment as me taking some physical/emotional responsibilities/unknowns and her taking on some other emotional/practical responsibilities/unknowns. This is a gross simplification of course - my point is, we consciously make an effort to be supportive of each other.
While each of us represents 50% of the parenting equation, this is not how the world sees HER. She’s a mom to be, and I expect people should act towards her no different from how they act towards me. I have asked friends who are fathers about how they were treated and perceived while their partners/wives were pregnant and many indicated a feeling of being “lesser than”. Some indicated that feeling/treatment carrying over beyond pregnancy and really framing what the fatherhood meant for them.
I try to do things to make this journey special for her — I leave her cards and notes asking how she’s doing/thanking her, talking about her/our child, when we are together in the doctor’s office I refer to her as mama (which is what she wants to be called) and talk about her/our baby in those terms. I ask her to sing and tell stories to the baby in the belly to have it get used to her voice as much as mine. Ultimately, I feel like that is not enough because it’s just me and nobody else, and her experience of this pregnancy (and upcoming motherhood) could be much better. I love my wife dearly and want her to be deliriously happy all the time; right now I’m just trying to make it suck less. I feel helpless.
Please note anything you might have done as a mother/father to include your partner/spouse, and what your impression was about how they were treated during pregnancy and childhood. Thanks in advance!