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Pregnant Fathers: The Second Trimester
by Robert G. Rodriguez

In the second trimester you will have a chance to hear your baby's heartbeat and possibly see your baby through ultra sound. These experiences usually bring a heightened sense of reality...we are really going to have a baby!

In our society we tend to value men's financial contributions to our families more than our emotional contributions. It is understandable then why concerns over money or financial security become the focus of many expectant fathers. It may also become an acceptable "male" way of expressing concern for your partner and unborn child. It is usual to begin to think about how your finance will be changed by having a baby, but if you become preoccupied with money concerns, something deeper may be troubling you. If you feel that dealing with "the money" is all your responsibility it may be touching on deeper issues of competency or security. It is important in this second trimester to discuss your finances with your partner but also to keep them in perspective. Developing a little "tolerance for uncertainty" is a useful skill both in pregnancy and parenthood.

Many expectant dads report that during the second trimester there is a change in the sexuality with their partners. Each expectant mom will respond differently to the hormonal changes her body is going through. For some women it pregnancy can intensify their sexual arousal, while for others it appears to diminish it. As a father-to-be it is important to see that in this second trimester many of your partner's responses may be driven by the changes her body and hormones are putting her through. At this point in the pregnancy you may begin to feel concerned about how your relationship with your partner is fluctuating. You may begin to notice how the routines you have taken for granted are changing.

Couples often share basic routines around meals, leisure time and household chores. A simple habit, like a Sunday morning breakfast may no longer be desirable to your partner if she has morning sickness. If you both use to enjoy going out weekend evenings and now she feels too fatigued, how are you going to respond? You may feel disappointed to discover the partner you felt you knew and understood and depended upon is not quite the same person.

Every couple experiences these changes differently. Try and talk with your partner about the changes your feel the relationship is going. Try and be understanding with each other about all the happiness, guilt, anticipation, ambivalence and frustration that is now going on in your lives. Establishing a pattern of "open communication" with your partner at this time in the pregnancy will allow the both of you to move toward the birth in a more supportive and positive relationship.

Here are here are a few practical tips that pregnant dads have shared with me during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

For your wife/partner:

* Start to take-on more of the chores around your house or apartment.

* Let your partner know she is going to be a great mom.

* Let your wife know that you and her can talk about both the positive and negatives about being pregnant.

For yourself:

* Talk with two other new fathers about how they are feeling as parents.

* Begin to visualize your life with a son or daughter. Picture you, your partner, and your child as a family, doing things together.

*Go for a walk with a friend who will listen to you talk about how you feel
about being a "pregnant dad."

* Remember that you'll be experiencing different anxieties, wishes and fantasies as your relationship to your partner begins to change. Support the change and know that all expectant dads experience this same sense of new territory.

Robert Rodriquez, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a psychologist and research expert with over 30 years experience working with expectant couples. Dr. Rodriguez is available for conference speaking engagements, seminar presentations, and training sessions, including Continuing Educations Unit programs. For more information, visit: www.DrDad.info


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