When it comes to babies, my husband thinks I’m insane, obsessed, OCD. He wants nothing to do with my books, my blogs, or the birth movies I bring home from work. We’re getting close to go time, and his lack of interest is starting to get worrisome. Not only does research point to positive health outcomes associated with paternal involvement; the bottom line is, I need him.
I don’t expect him to pick up Taking Charge of Your Fertility and mark it up with post-its and pen scratches in the margins. That would actually be worrisome in a different kind of way. I just need some sort of activity to show that he’s not delusional–he can’t expect to just flip on the daddy switch when the baby pops out of the va-jay-jay.
Here are my ideas for encouraging more participation in our preconception months:
- Talk about babies. I’ve been using this approach since November. It’s less of a strategy and more of an I-can’t-help-myself kind of thing. Usually he listens, often he says “I’m sick of baby talk!” and sometimes he engages in thoughtful discussion with me.
- Encourage him to schedule a physical. Men need preconception care, too. I’ve been encouraging my husband to schedule a visit with his primary care provider to make sure his physical and mental health are in top shape. Sperm take 75 days to mature, so if we’re planning to try conceiving in one to three months, now is the time for a checkup. He has independently said he wants to do this as soon as his insurance card arrives in the mail.
- Reduce stress. Before my husband accepted his latest job offer, I asked him to consider if he could work at this job and be a good father within the next year. He said yes. Now he telecommutes all but one day per week, and I’m seeing much more of him these days.
- Enlist his or her support. In the past month, I’ve significantly reduced my red wine consumption. How did I do it? I verbalized my intention to my husband and asked for his help. He turned out to be quite helpful.
- Socialize. We plan on setting up a dinner date with a couple our age who are on their second pregnancy. I have questions for the mom, and I know the dad would have advice for my husband. I still remember the deer-in-the-headlights look he had when they first announced their pregnancy. He’s turned out to be an awesome dad.
I fully anticipate my husband stepping up his involvement once I actually have a baby on board. I also think it’s never too early to start. Anyone else have good ideas for getting significant others involved during the preconception phase?