I confess: sometimes, I’m still blown away that we have a kid. I watch our son toddle around the room, and I’m amazed that he exists. I’m a parent!
I felt this way during pregnancy, too. As a soon-to-be first time dad, I had a hard time processing that my wife’s bump was hiding an actual human being. Although I was excited about our future, I also couldn’t believe it was happening. Between the nausea, the kicks, and constant hunger, my wife was constantly reminded that she was pregnant. I was busy with work and settling my family into a new house.
I imagine that a lot of new dads feel this way, too, but don’t want to admit it. But if it wasn’t for Caitlin’s giant belly, there were days that I might’ve completely forgotten I was a dad-to-be!
It was very important to me that I take time from my busy schedule to bond with my baby-on-the-way. Pregnancy goes by so quickly, and I wanted to stop and savor the moment with my wife and future son. It was in these quiet moments that I could truly process and appreciate what was happening to our family.
Here are four ways that I connected with Henry before he was born:
1) Massage: I’d rub lotion or oil into my hands and lightly massage my wife’s belly. She said it felt great, and I could feel Henry underneath my fingers. Sometimes, I’d even be able to identify body parts, like an arm or little butt! Henry liked the massage as much as his mom did; he’d often press up against my fingers.
2) Photo Diary: Caitlin and I took photos of her growing baby bump every week beginning at Week 10. We loved looking back through the images as we approached her due date.
3) Music: After I read that the baby could hear sounds while in utero, I began to play him music. When my wife was relaxing on the couch, I’d pull up my favorite songs on YouTube and put the speakers close to the bump.
4) Birth Classes: Caitlin wanted a drug-free childbirth, so we took 12 weeks of Bradley Method classes together. The weekly meetings were educational and great conversation starters. My wife and I had many talks on the drive home from class about our beliefs about parenting. The classes also made me more understanding of what Caitlin was going through with pregnancy, and I knew exactly how she wanted me to support her during delivery. It’s great to be as involved as possible during the pregnancy; it helped me feel connected to my little boy before he even arrived!