A: My husband doesn’t seem to be very interested in my pregnancy, he doesn’t read the magazines or books that I ask him to, he’s reluctant to go to a childbirth class and I am worried that he might not bond with our baby. What should I do?
First, you are not alone. Many expectant mothers feel this way. Your brain is releasing hormones that are designed to make you feel connected to your baby from very early on in pregnancy. Father’s brain’s are wired differently. The hormones responsible for bonding with his baby (oxytocin and vasopressin) are at their highest levels after the baby is born, not during pregnancy. Don’t be too alarmed if he isn’t as excited about your baby shower as you are. His lack of interest doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you and the baby. During pregnancy, fathers are preparing for the baby but in a different way than mothers. Fathers tend to focus on the family’s financial stability, completing their ever growing to-do lists, and the mother’s health.
What can you do? You can share your feelings about why you want him to go to a childbirth class with you. Be sure to listen to his feelings, as well. Find out what his reluctance is about and problem solve together to ensure that you both have your needs met. To help your husband bond with the baby, you can encourage him to be with you during the baby’s birth, have him hold the baby skin on skin as much as possible, and ask him to cuddle with you when you feed the baby. All of these activities will increase the release of his own bonding hormones. The absolute best thing that you can do to ensure a healthy, happy, bonded family is to make sure that you and your husband stay connected and close. Be sure to take time during pregnancy to enjoy your relationship and strengthen the bond that you have as a couple. Try not to worry about his lack of interest in the color of the nursery walls and rest assured that he is preparing to be a father in his own unique way.
Laurel Wilson and Tracy Wilson Peters have over 35 years of combined experience as pregnancy experts. They recently authored the best-selling book, The Greatest Pregnancy Ever: Keys to the MotherBaby Bond, which offers tools to help families feel deeply connected to their pregnancy and their baby.