Men and pregnancies. How are we dealing with our partners who are carrying our children? Are we present through out the journey or we only appear when it suits us and expect it to be business as usual?
I never used to understand when a couple said ‘we are pregnant’ I understood later how it also affects the man in a big way as he has to make adjustments in his life too. Thats why its important for fathers to be in the same house as their pregnant partner.
We also need need to come to the maternity clinics with our partners for the monthly checkup. If you attend with your partner you can get a letter from the doctor to take to work. The clinics always encourages men to come with their partners and also take HIV/AIDS tests together.
SA has a provision for 10 days paternity leave for fathers. To be with their partners during the birth period. How many of us are aware of this so as to take advantage of this?
During our monthly clinic visits I saw some really young girls & I can only imagine what they are going through. Almost always unplanned. 1st impression is always that of respect for choosing to have these children in a society where its easy to chose to terminate the pregnancy
My second impression is a hope that the father has taken responsibility. Too often these young girls are left to face the consequences. These young boys begin a life of not taking account of their actions. We see the results of this daily.
Us men and boys who make women pregnant out of wedlock and are not there in the day to day of your partner’s life in carrying the child are the ones who eventually don’t end up valuing these women, leaving them and being absent in the lives of their children. Its starts there.
Don’t judge your partner based in what you’ve heard from your mom or sister about pregnancy as each is different. Pregnancy affects women in very different ways. If you’re at your flat, worse still at your parents home how are you going to empathize with your pregnant partner.
You only want to be there in the good times but don’t want to go through the tough times of the pregnancy. tTo see your partner go through the various changes that take place in her body and emotions as well. To be there through it all builds character and strengthened the bond.
Patience with your pregnant partner is also necessary especially if its your first times for both of you. You both don’t know how to deal with the physical of emotional changes and this can strain a relationship.
With my second child it was easier for me to deal with the cravings & pet peeves and understanding that its the ‘child in her womb’ that is ‘acting up’ not her! Once the baby’s delivered everything’s back to normal. I always laugh with my wife and say finally my chick is back!
Risks with pregnancy
With pregnancy comes the risk of miscarriage. A topic that is taboo to discuss or even announce in our Shona culture. In fact announcing that #WeArePregnant is taboo. Reasons varied. Dealing with a miscarriage was one of the scariest things I had to deal with.
After my first experience I found out they were more common than I expected. But after getting used having ‘a child’ around the loss affects you and once again these are things you want go through with your partner.
A random observation by a midwife on the night my wife gave birth was that Zimbabwean women were in labour for a much shorter time. Just her observation, she attended to the birth of my first child 11 years ago.
This is just a call to us men roll up our sleeves and to join the pregnancy journey with our partners and to be with them through it. It prepares us for the time after the baby arrives and we raise those children together.