What is the role of Dad in pregnancy, birth, postpartum? A few years ago, Anna and I began to ask that question during our annual Pregnancy Awareness Month LA Event; we had our 1st Dad’s Panel at our 5 year anniversary, and thus began our 411 for Dad’s Twitter Party, and a strong partnership with sponsor Daddy & Company. The response has been so overwhelming that we made a commitment to always include the presence of Dad and his unique role during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum at our events, in our social media, and blogging. Do you know what Dad’s role is?
For the heterosexuals in the group, we know that the sperm swims to the egg and voila, the life of the fetus begins. Actually whether you are a hetero couple or a LGBT couple, pregnancy always involves a sperm and egg…duh! OK, but dad is so much more than sperm! Right? How qualified am I to speak to dad’s role? Yes I’m a licensed therapist, but I’m not a man, I’ve never been a dad – but from this mom’s perspective, you are crucial to my success.
My Ode to my baby’s Dad:
During pregnancy I wanted to share my excitement and joy. You were there the 1st time we saw the ultrasound and heard her heartbeat, it brought us closer. You also rubbed my back and my aching feet during that last trimester, wow that was a really uncomfortable time for me physically. You tirelessly helped me move through every food craving, did I say EVERY craving, yes you did, even when they didn’t make ANY SENSE at all. Together we created our birth plan and you supported my belief, which was that this pregnancy was happening to MY body, and the decisions were all ultimately mine. That respect for my role, it made me want to make sure that you had a voice too.
Let’s face it, postpartum was pretty chaotic. We were the blind leading the blind. Who let us be alone with that newborn? Seriously! But we did it, we figured it out. You told me you believed in my ability to nurse. You changed the diapers every chance you got. You figured out how to put the car seat in safely, and assembled the stroller. Who was constantly feeding my OCD about, “do we have enough diaper wipes? Hon, can you run to Whole Foods?” Yep, that would be my baby’s dad again.
Together we are truly a team. Let’s admit it, as mom, I have you trumped in the day to day operational responsibilities of the household. Even when I went back to work full time. But yes, I know you only took that 1st week off. Still today you listen without comment as I complain that women in our country are mistreated by being forced to return to work with such a short maternity leave. During those 1st 3 months you were the provider, paid all the bills, and gave me the space to be in newborn babyland. Thank you.
Play. I almost forgot. You play with her, in the most amazing way. Now she is older, no longer a baby, and the 2 of you still play. It is different than how she and I connect, yours is more silly, dare I say more fun! Her laughter both as a baby, toddler, and little girl says it all.
A partner is crucial. And parenting well, some believe it takes a village. I reach out to so many people for advice and information, heck, why do you think Anna and I started PAM? I am so grateful that I have my honey to walk, run, cry, and laugh through all of this with!
Alisa B. Donner, MSW, LCSW, Co-Founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month, Mom to an amazing wonder.
*Thank you again to Ingrid Franz Moriarty for the AMAZING photo!
***REMINDER – Pregnancy Awareness Month’s blog post is for moms and expectant parents by moms (and of course some experts sprinkled in – some moms’ are licensed board certified experts!). HOWEVER, we are not giving blanket ADVICE on what you should be doing, eating, how you should be exercising, parenting, etc. These are opinions , food for thought…think about it all, talk with your mate, and when it comes to diet, exercise, and health questions, ALWAYS discuss and seek advice from your medical health provider.