How long is pregnancy for a man?
Most pregnancies are about nine months long. For a woman, those months are marked by continuous physical and emotional change and preparation. She is almost constantly aware of the fact that she is carrying and growing new life inside of her. The changes in her body (in the first trimester nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness), and later on the movement and weight of the baby in her belly are daily (and nightly!) reminders that eventually she will be giving birth.
Women focus on many issues during their pregnancies (for instance, getting a good diet, their baby’s growth, their own weight, getting baby’s room ready), but a deeper and more persistent preoccupation for many women is how they are going to get through labour.
For a man, the process of pregnancy is different. He’s not carrying the baby in his body. He’s carrying other, less tangible things, like his concern for and curiosity about what is happening to his partner, and thoughts about his growing responsibilities.
For him, the process of preparing for the actual birth takes up far less of the pregnancy…more like the last two months before the due-date. This, luckily, is around the time that most couples attend prenatal classes.
Paths to Parenthood
This difference in approaches can cause some conflict in relationships. Mom is frustrated because Dad doesn’t seem interested in actually preparing for the birth. Dad is frustrated because his partner seems to be making unreasonable demands. He can understand that being able to give birth is important to her, but in the end, isn’t the most important thing that the baby be healthy?
It can help to talk openly with each other about your concerns, keeping in mind that you are two different people, and thus your experiences are going to be different. Sharing respectfully can bring understanding. Understanding can help you become closer as a couple, and will empower you both to parent your child lovingly together.