TEAM PLAYER Fathers nowadays often want to share parenting responsibilities as much as possible. But have you and your partner actually sat down and discussed your thoughts on this subject? Is it about you doing half the nappy changes? Will you be expected to assist with feeding? And what about sharing the sleepless nights? This stage of the pregnancy, when your partner is starting to feel better and more energized, is a good time to bring up topics such as this. Sit down together to compare your expectations of what things will be like once the baby is born. Make plans about what sort of support you can provide to make her life easier in those crucial first few weeks; and ask her for her own thoughts about your role as a father. Any differences of opinion - and there are likely to be some – should be resolved sooner rather than later. So don't leave it to the end of the pregnancy when your partner will be feeling tired and probably rather fed up.
PLAN AHEAD Spend the time you have together looking forward to your baby's arrival, trying to imagine what daily life will be like with the new addition, and discuss how the family responsibilities can be shared out. Get into the habit of helping out around the house more - doing the cooking and mucking in with other types of housework. Maybe offer to take over some chores that she is finding more stressful than usual (such as doing the weekly food shopping or managing the home finances). It's good practice for the future, and shows her that you're serious about becoming a father. Remember, motherhood is already affecting her day-to-day life, and while it is hard for you to share her experience of pregnancy, being sensitive to her changing needs will bring the two of you closer together. Find out more about the joys and challenges of becoming a father