Remember + repeat: she is feeling things that I won’t feel.
The journey of trying to conceive can be emotionally overwhelming for both partners. Often men want to make sure they are able to perform and produce. Meanwhile, women are using ovulation strips, taking their temperature and mentally and physically preparing their bodies for pregnancy.
It’s a lot to take on.
In fact, an Ohio State study found that women who had high levels of alpha-amylase, a biological indicator of stress, were 29% less likely to get pregnant each month.
Of course, “just relaxing” is easier said than done. But men, you can help!
Here are 5 ways you can support your partner while trying to make a baby, according to a few men who are owning + rocking the #dadlife.
1. Focus on 1 area where you can be super helpful.
“We had a difficult time conceiving, so I tried extra hard to be as supportive as possible, whether that was in prayer, nutrition or even comic relief. One thing I really focused on was our mutual health and fitness. We went to the gym together a lot and got significantly stronger. We figured getting in the best physical condition would help with the body and conception.”
“I began a very diligent vitamin and supplement program (all natural), and she began eating an even wider array of foods. This, plus a magical night that began on our (thankfully carpeted) stairs, resulted in our amazing son, Myles.”
2. Celebrate along the way.
Chris Pegula, aka The Diaper Dude—creator of an awesome diaper bag line for dads—says that appreciating his marriage and enjoying the time he and his wife had together as just the two of them helped them during their conception journey.
“Celebrating partnership in everything you do is so important along the path to parenthood,” he says. “Being present, enjoying marriage and viewing conception less as a task and more of something that happens as an outgrowth of the love that is shared is key.”
“Too often, we hear that couples put so much pressure on themselves to conceive. Enjoy the time you have together and children will join the fold.”
3. Be positive, even when it’s really hard.
Cody Haines, who formerly blogged about early fatherhood at Dad’s Daily Diaries, tried to keep things upbeat on the roller coaster that is trying to make a baby.
“Being aware of the fact that you might not conceive right away is the most difficult thing to accept, but it is also crucial in order to get through those moments when the stick says ‘no,’” he says. “You have to convince yourself that there’s always next month. If you don’t have this mentality, it’s so easy to get upset when you find out you’re not pregnant.”
“That being said, it’s a difficult mentality to actually stick with. Which is where being a supportive husband comes into play—you’ll be able to remind your wife that there is always next month to have a chance at getting pregnant,” Haines explains.
“As a husband, you should know that your wife will most likely be devastated when she finds out her friends are pregnant while you’ve been trying. You can’t really cheer her up with words. You just have to be there for her. Be a shoulder to lean on and be there to help (gently) remind her that they’re our friends and this is an exciting time for them.”
“It was only a couple of months before we found out we were going to have a baby, and we got a lot closer to each other during those months.”
4. Put yourself in her shoes, especially when she’s pregnant.
John Jenkins, artist and father of two, tried to keep an understanding mind and empathetic heart while his wife was pregnant. (Which sounds very smart, if you ask us.)
“Throughout our pregnancy, there were times when there seemed to be a completely different brain running the mind and body of what once was my wife. I had to remind myself, She is feeling things that I won’t feel. She has had a rush of hormones that are creating so many changes in her body—nothing of which I will ever know anything about other than what I’m told.”
“Her body is creating a human being, which is CRAZY! So, if the dinner I just made ‘isn’t right,’ or if we’ve taken 12 trips to Ikea to try and get our 500-square-foot cottage ready for a baby, I would try to remind myself that these things come from a biological change in my wife that I cannot relate to and cannot fully understand. So it’s best for me to be as calm as I can.”
“That’s what I tried to do, at least—I tried to put away my anxieties about my career, our financial status, our home. I wanted to be able to listen to my wife and be the calm, rational side of both of our brains if I needed to. To be able to say, when my wife couldn’t, ‘This isn’t working, and that’s okay. We will find another way. We will find our way,’” Jenkins says.
“I’m not saying as a man to repress yourself emotionally. What I am saying is that you both can work through this stuff together. It’s all a balancing act.”
5. Educate yourself.
Jamie Day, blogger at A Day in the Life and father of two, says he threw himself into learning all there was to know about the process of making a baby.
“Trying for a baby is an exciting time, but can easily become pretty stressful. What is supposed to be a happy and natural experience, let’s face it, sometimes isn’t. When we started trying and things didn’t happen as we anticipated, it was important that I was a supporting voice to my wife,” he says.
“Whilst my main aim was to support her with positivity and terrible jokes, there were also a few practical things I did to help us out. I threw myself into knowing the ins and outs of baby-making, from reading countless sites covering ovulation and best practices to keeping track of my wife’s menstrual cycle via apps on my phone. Yeah, it might sound a bit robotic and unromantic, but guess what? I’m glad to say it all helped. Twice.”