Author Topic: How to Better Support my Wife?  (Read 6273 times)

Rogue

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How to Better Support my Wife?
« on: August 16, 2016, 11:43:30 AM »
TL;DR – I want to do more to support my wife; she’s 21 weeks pregnant and her mom is in hospice with days/weeks left to live.  Advice?  What support have you given or received that was appreciated during stressful times?

Situation:
Part 1: My wife is 21 weeks pregnant with our first child, due mid December.  Fortunately, she’s had a relatively “easy” pregnancy so far, mostly fatigue/sleepiness/occasional nausea (unlike a pregnant friend of hers who vomits a few times each week).

Part 2: My MIL has been on home hospice care since the start of this year, and we’ve been told that she’s likely to pass within the next few days/weeks (that was three weeks ago).  Her parents live 1.5 hours away, we’ve been visiting a couple times each week and call FIL pretty much every night. MIL is mostly unresponsive now, she’ll give a look of recognition, but little else.  MIL has been in poor health for a few years, so while this wasn’t unexpected, it obviously still sucks.

Questions:
How can I do more to support my wife, and keep a positive attitude while doing it? 
What support have you given/received during trying times that was appreciated?

Brief about us: I’m 27, my wife is 32.  We’ve been married for just over 2 years and we’ve known each other for almost 3 years.  I work full time as an HR Analyst (70k), she’s a Microbiologist working 36 hours per week (60k) and she plans to drop to 24 hours per week (40k) after returning from FMLA leave.

My thoughts: I am allowed ZERO complaints about anything.  Not only is she experiencing physical/mental changes that I can’t relate to, but she is also bracing for the impending loss of her mom.

I’ve been trying to keep that at the front of my mind, and have noticed that it does seem to be helping me to catch myself before I start dwelling on a complain-y thought.

Things I’m currently being intentional about:
  • Tell her I love her – ALL THE TIME. (I do this normally, but it’s especially important now)
  • Let her know I’m still attracted to her – ALL THE TIME.  Despite her attempts to convince herself and me that she’s “fat”.
  • Open the door for conversation regarding her stressors – ask if she needs to get anything off her chest or talk things out regarding pregnancy, her mom, or anything else that might be causing stress. (she can tend to keep things bottled up)
  • Back/foot rubs – I do this for a good 30-60 minutes at least once every 2-3 days. (this is about the same frequency as prior to the pregnancy)
  • Be there for her – I’m taking a break from playing rec soccer to ensure that I’m available.  I drive her to see her parents and help with anything FIL needs.
  • Cooking – Normally my thing anyways, sometimes she helps with the prep work if I’m doing something a little more complex or reliant on timing.
  • Dishes – I wash, she dries (so much faster together!) though sometimes I’ll just do all of it if she’s napping.
  • Encourage her (us) to stay active – Walks, prenatal yoga, etc. and phrase it as “hey, let’s go do X.”
  • Yardwork/House care – I do this normally.
  • Empty cat litter – Normally her thing; my thing since we started trying.
  • Laundry – We normally do laundry and fold together to get it done quickly
  • Vacuuming – Normally done by whoever feels up for it, so now I do it.
  • Cut back the sass/sarcasm – My timing for sarcastic humor has been poor in relation to her mood lately (she normally joins in).  I’m working on taking it down a few notches, she’s probably a few eye-rolls away from pulling a muscle. (I imagine it would also be good to be less sarcastic once we have a kid taking after us.)
  • Financials – I handle financials and "The Spreadsheet". I give her periodic updates to let her know everything's in good shape.  She doesn't care so much for the details - mostly just comfort in knowing that we didn't magically lose everything, which is unlikely with over 65k in taxable investments and over 170k in retirement accounts.  She’s on board with MMM, and we're doing fairly well, but could stand to improve on a few areas before the due date. I’ll likely do a separate thread for that side of things. (Our HSA’s are padded and ready for whatever comes up and we will continue to max them out.)

Additional things I could do that she would appreciate:
1. Give MORE back rubs! – she always appreciates more of this
2. Bathroom cleaning – she usually gets to it before I do
3. ???

I ask her specifically if there’s anything that she’d like me to do more or less of to help her out, and she essentially responds with: “No, you’re a good husband; you’re doing a great job.”  She’s not really one to ask for things for herself, even when encouraged to do so, so I wanted to get fresh input and ideas from people here.




snacky

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2016, 11:54:09 AM »
It sounds like you're being great. The only thing I might suggest is being proactive in planning for the changes that are coming. When her mother passes what will happen? Will she go stay with FIL for a few days? What practical things will need to happen that can be prepped for now? Ditto baby prep stuff. If for any of these events you can gather needed items so they're ready to go, pre-prepare and freeze meals, anything like that, when the time comes she (and you!) won't have to think about the necessary stuff as much.

Also, leave little snacks everywhere for her. As a person who has been pregnant I can guarantee that a little bag of almonds or some dried fruit, things like that stashed in places I often went made me very happy. Pregnant women are snacky but also tired, so something nice to munch on right when you want it is delightful.

okits

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2016, 12:16:12 PM »
Lovely sentiment you are expressing here!  It sounds like you are doing a fair bit, but here are some suggestions if you want more.

If you're not already, do some serious learning and following-along with her pregnancy.  Get a pregnancy-progress app so you get lots of updates and details about what is happening with her and with baby.  Read/participate in online discussion groups so you're tuned in to common changes/challenges.  She'll love it if she says "I'm getting that weird, brown line down my stomach" or "holding a pen is getting painful" and you know what she is talking about!

If you're excited about the baby, be sure to express it whenever you think of it.  Be proactive in getting your home ready for the little one.

If she's feeling fat, focus on the amazing thing her body is doing.  There's no need to look air-brushed perfect when she's doing the awesome work of growing a person!

If you're open to it, suggest honouring your MIL in some way with the baby's name (first/middle). Could name after MIL (her first/middle/last name), a variant, or just a name MIL would have liked.

Everyone grieves differently, but be there and ask her often what she'd like or needs (company, time alone, keep busy or nothing on her plate, friends, solitude). 

Be on the lookout if she needs more help than you, alone, can provide (a grief support group, counselling, anti-depressants).  Losing her mom is hard enough, but during pregnancy she could be even more vulnerable to a big loss like that.

Sorry about your MIL.  Glad there is a happy new addition to the family coming soon - congratulations!

hollyluja

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2016, 12:36:17 PM »
It sounds like you are doing everything right!

My three further suggestions:

1) Have a few counselors ready - do the insurance, specialty, etc research before hand.  That is tough to navigate when you really need it.

2) She'll need a tribe of women support post-partum - I'm not sure if there are any local groups (meetup, church, ?) that would also be good for you to make a short list of if she doesn't already have a good group of new mom friends.

3) Help her plan and prepare freezer meals or organize a meal train for the last few weeks of pregnancy and the first few weeks post-partum.  Or have a stash of take-out menus.  I know I stressed about that to an unreasonable degree.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2016, 12:59:36 PM »
Make sure you don't fall into the trap of "I'm doing everything I can think of and she's still sad! What the hell?" It's really easy to think this, but it's normal and healthy for her to be sad about her mother's impending death. It is your job to persevere even though not everything you do will seem to be having any effect.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2016, 01:14:03 PM »
Sounds like you have a great attitude and recognize the huge amount of physical and emotional stress and strain she is probably experiencing.  It also sounds to me like you are pretty much on top of the most important things. 

My tip:  Don't lose sight of your own needs.  When you fly, the safety video always says to put on your own oxygen mask before helping people around you-- because you are no good to anyone if you pass out yourself.  The same principle applies here.  So, to edit your suggestion: you are allowed ZERO complaints to your wife.  But you can complain to another confidant if you need to.  Don't ignore your own needs.

I imagine a time will come soon when your life is up in the air and you are making things up as you go.  Try to identify those things you can outsource for a short time without guilt.  Cooking, dishes, and yardwork are the most likely things to me.  Get a stash of disposable plates, a freezer full of frozen pizzas (or whatever your go-to convenience food is), and get in touch with the neighborhood 12 year old boy that mows lawns.  Getting those things off of your plate will help you do a better job of being there for your wife.  Sure it will probably cost more than you want to spend but you are in good shape financially.  In times like these, your energy, your sanity, and supporting your wife are more important.  You will be able to return to your properly frugal ways soon enough. 

plainjane

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2016, 01:45:01 PM »
I'm probably not the best person to reply, not having lost a parent or supported my SO through that, and we don't have kids.

But http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/opinion/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407 might be helpful?  Or not.

smella

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2016, 04:21:35 PM »
If she wants you to be an involved birth partner, start your research and reading now! Penny Simkin's book The Birth Partner is a great place to start.

If you haven't signed up for birth classes yet, do some research and look into options for a class that sounds like it suits her and your approach to the birth.   If she wants to hire a doula and hasn't done so already, start doing some research and setting up interviews.

Since this is MMM, I assume your approach to baby gear is of the Craigslist perusing variety--- so figured out what kind of car seat, stroller, etc you want, and set up search alerts on CL now so that you can nab those items when they become available.  I did this early on in pregnancy and got all my 'big' items (stroller, rocker, bassinet/crib, dresser/changing table) for pennies.

smella

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2016, 04:23:36 PM »
Also--its still a little too early for this, and I don't know if you can cook at all-- but start thinking about stocking the freezer with easy meals and snacks for when you've got that tiny baby at home.  Lasagna, muffins, easy-to-reheat frittatas, soups, etc.  Especially as fresh veggies are much cheaper now than they will be in november & december.

kitkat

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2016, 05:06:22 PM »
So sorry about your MIL, and kudos for trying to step up wherever possible.

You're already doing a lot of great things and have recieved great recommendations. I'll highlight/add:

- Someone mentioned not worrying if you do everything perfect and she's still 'sad'. This is important, and its also important that she not feel like you're expecting some performance out of her. A lot of the things you're doing may go unnoticed, and that is FINE! Don't expect applause or a huge smile to come across her face when you clean the bathroom. I'm not saying you have been expecting this -- just something to note! And yeah, if she is feeling shitty, it is nice to ask if there's anything you can do, but if she says there isn't its ok for you to just say "alright, well I'm very sorry you feel shitty". My dad (and I think many other men/people) always want to *fix* things, when sometimes we just want some sympathy and love.

- A lot of people mentioned getting baby/pregnancy books, planning logistics, etc. I encourage you to do some googling on the concept of "emotional labor", which I believe is related to these suggestions. Any planning ahead, making phone calls, coordinating appts, etc that you can do takes less of her plate. These are also probably things she won't ask you to do, as the simple fact of having to ask you to do it is part of the emotional labor. Its surprising how draining delegating can be.

Best of luck.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 05:08:15 PM by kitkat »

Primm

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2016, 05:31:05 PM »
Sounds like you have a great attitude and recognize the huge amount of physical and emotional stress and strain she is probably experiencing.  It also sounds to me like you are pretty much on top of the most important things. 

My tip:  Don't lose sight of your own needs.  When you fly, the safety video always says to put on your own oxygen mask before helping people around you-- because you are no good to anyone if you pass out yourself.  The same principle applies here.  So, to edit your suggestion: you are allowed ZERO complaints to your wife.  But you can complain to another confidant if you need to.  Don't ignore your own needs.

I imagine a time will come soon when your life is up in the air and you are making things up as you go.  Try to identify those things you can outsource for a short time without guilt.  Cooking, dishes, and yardwork are the most likely things to me.  Get a stash of disposable plates, a freezer full of frozen pizzas (or whatever your go-to convenience food is), and get in touch with the neighborhood 12 year old boy that mows lawns.  Getting those things off of your plate will help you do a better job of being there for your wife.  Sure it will probably cost more than you want to spend but you are in good shape financially.  In times like these, your energy, your sanity, and supporting your wife are more important.  You will be able to return to your properly frugal ways soon enough.

So much this. You are doing an amazing job by the sound of it under trying circumstances for your family. Don't forget to look after you too. xxx

little_brown_dog

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2016, 07:53:26 AM »
Wow. You rock.

Pregnant women can be more emotional than normal, and irrationality can spike in the 3rd trimester as we get more uncomfortable/anxious about the birth/etc. When she does seem like she is getting pissed or worked up over something kinda silly, do not fight or use sarcasm. If it's a small thing she wants that doesn't really matter in the long run ("we HAVE to do this chore NOW!"; "I want to buy X for the baby 15 weeks in advance!" "I really want to buy this pint of ice cream!") just do your best to accommodate the request as quickly and happily as possible. It will make your life so much easier, and it will make her feel like you support her and understand her.

Here's why: My husband was great during my pregnancy but once we were in the grocery store and I REALLY wanted some dark chocolate. I'm not big on splurges and always shop with a list, but I just decided I really wanted some. I grabbed 2 bars to put in the cart, and my husband said "we don't need those, why are you grabbing chocolate?" I repeated that I just wanted some, but he stupidly decided to fight me on it in the grocery store because he thought I was being silly (we had some chocolate at home already). This resulted in me putting the chocolate back, and promptly crying in the car. He thought he was just making a very rational point, but to me it felt like he was telling his 30 week pregnant wife that she SHOULDN'T have chocolate for some reason (because buying something I wanted would be a waste/I didn't deserve it/I was fat and didn't need the extra calories/etc). I am very level headed but in that moment, he really hurt my feelings. He had to run back inside and buy the chocolate anyway. So moral of the story, just let her buy the damn chocolate :)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 07:57:36 AM by little_brown_dog »

Ceridwen

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2016, 08:09:15 AM »
I think you're already doing so many wonderful things for her.  One thing I would suggest is to start thinking of a thoughtful gift to memorialize her mother when the time comes.  Maybe a framed picture of your wife as a baby with her mother that could be kept in the nursery? Or a beautifully scripted and framed poem about mothers? I'm sure etsy has some great ideas.

If you're having a girl, you could also discuss naming the baby to honour her mother (middle name, perhaps)?

Keep up the good work, and I hope you have a safe and easy delivery and healthy baby.

crispy

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2016, 08:11:32 AM »
I lost my dad to cancer when I was 9 months pregnant with my second child.  I was so focused on the pregnancy and birth that the grief part didn't really hit me for probably six months after my daughter was born.  It was a really, really low time for me, and I look back and realize that I needed some counseling and probably medication.  Everyone grieve differently, but I just encourage to watch for signs pf postpartum depression a few months down the line.

Nick_Miller

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2016, 08:25:30 AM »
Rogue,

Others have provided some good ideas. I just wanted to say you are doing a great job and I think your wife's response re: "You're a good husband" says it all.

And as someone else mentioned, you ARE allowed to complain and vent. That is totally healthy. Just vent to buddies, brothers, other types who may have "been there, done that," and who will understand.


purple monkey

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2016, 08:29:18 AM »
If she wants you to be an involved birth partner, start your research and reading now! Penny Simkin's book The Birth Partner is a great place to start.

If you haven't signed up for birth classes yet, do some research and look into options for a class that sounds like it suits her and your approach to the birth.   If she wants to hire a doula and hasn't done so already, start doing some research and setting up interviews.

Since this is MMM, I assume your approach to baby gear is of the Craigslist perusing variety--- so figured out what kind of car seat, stroller, etc you want, and set up search alerts on CL now so that you can nab those items when they become available.  I did this early on in pregnancy and got all my 'big' items (stroller, rocker, bassinet/crib, dresser/changing table) for pennies.

Consider suggesting a midwife, as you could have some good health outcomes for the entire family.

Ditto to support after the baby comes for you and her.  Both of you will be sleep deprived.

Let as many folks as possible make you meals, etc.

So sorry for your trials.

Doing a lot already and hope you are getting some support too.

FLBiker

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2016, 08:40:06 AM »
It sounds like you are doing everything right!

My three further suggestions:

1) Have a few counselors ready - do the insurance, specialty, etc research before hand.  That is tough to navigate when you really need it.

2) She'll need a tribe of women support post-partum - I'm not sure if there are any local groups (meetup, church, ?) that would also be good for you to make a short list of if she doesn't already have a good group of new mom friends.

3) Help her plan and prepare freezer meals or organize a meal train for the last few weeks of pregnancy and the first few weeks post-partum.  Or have a stash of take-out menus.  I know I stressed about that to an unreasonable degree.

+1 You're doing great in a tough situation.  Post-partum is legit, and having counselors and ideas for ways for her to meet other recent moms is a great suggestion.  My wife did La Leche, baby wearing zumba, baby time at the library, and some cloth diaper / baby wearing facebook groups.  I did my best to encourage her to go to events (offering child care, offering to drive, etc.) without being a pain about it.  At the very least, I'd ask her to take a walk with me.  Getting out of the house everyday is essential for her (and me, for that matter).

And we also did a meal train.  I forget the website we used, but it was great.  We had 3 meals per week for the first 6 weeks or so.  Almost all had leftovers, so it really took care of about half of our meals.  It was also a nice way for folks to meet the baby, in ones and twos, rather than having a big party.

dkaid

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2016, 08:42:09 AM »
The fact that you are thinking and doing so much about this warms my soul.  You rock.  Carry on. 

MrsDinero

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2016, 09:20:04 AM »
I think you are doing a great job as far as supporting your wife.  If you think your support is lacking somewhere, just ask her what she needs you do to.  One thing my husband has learned about me, is the further along in pregnancy I get the more important it is for me to do some things on my own.  For me it is a mental thing.  I need to feel like I am being somewhat productive even though in reality he is now carrying the majority of household duties.

Post-partum issues can be a big problem and they can also sneak up on you both.  I would read about watching the signs for post-partum depression.  Depression can also start to occur toward the end of pregnancy.

I second the suggestion about having a tribe of women your wife can lean on.  You might consider looking at doulas.  I have never had a mid-wife, but all the OBs and labor and delivery nurses have the same philosophy to do a few interventions as possible and encourage the woman in labor to listen to her body.  The hospital has the lowest rate of c-sections in the state.  All this aligns with my birth plan to just make decisions as I need to and listen to my body.

I recommend a doula because child birth is scary as hell.  Even if you've been through it.  Doulas are basically professional birth coaches, but really provide so much more. They will meet with you before the birth the talk about birth plan and different labor/delivery options.  They will be on call as your due date approaches but they are also someone you and your wife can go to if you have questions and will be there in the delivery room with both of you.  Depending on the type of doula you have there can be a lot or a little post-partum visits.  Just a note insurance typically does not cover the cost of doulas, because they are more of an emotional support and not medical.

Aelias

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2016, 01:51:39 PM »
You're doing awesome, and the fact that you're even asking this show's your focus is in the right place.

One thing to add: if your wife is planning to breastfeed, start planning now for breastfeeding support.  Look into a lactation consultant now--your prenatal care provider can probably recommend one.  Most will do a prenatal consult, and then be ready if you run into problems after the baby is born. Talk to your insurance company about coverage for the consultant--it should be covered by your insurance under the ACA--and be prepared for them to have no idea what you're talking about.  Your insurance should also cover a breast pump. Get it early if possible, so your wife can figure out how to use it and, maybe, pump a little colostrum in the final weeks of her pregnancy.

Seriously--with my first pregnancy, I spent way more time thinking about pregnancy and birth than I did about breastfeeding.  Should have done it the other way around.  Pregnancy and birth are, to a large extent, biological functions that happen on their own.  Breastfeeding is a skill you actually have to learn--when you're tired and hormonal and otherwise a mess.  Good to get supports set up now. 

Landlady

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2016, 03:58:40 PM »
Sounds like you're doing great, but only she can really tell you that! :)
One thing to note after the baby comes is the severe drop in hormones that can cause a brief (sometimes long) period of depression which peaks about 3-5 days after delivery. They call it the baby blues. Almost every mom gets it so it's good to have a conversation beforehand with her about it so that when it comes you can remind her that there is a physical, hormonal reason she's feeling this way. And reminder her it will pass too. I think the worst case scenario is if the baby blues coincide with her grief. Also just stay by her side during this time.

Basenji

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2016, 04:11:25 PM »
The fact that you are thinking and doing so much about this warms my soul.  You rock.  Carry on.
+1

Rogue

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2016, 02:49:37 PM »
Thank you everyone for your comments and thoughtful suggestions! 
There’s a lot of great stuff here and I really appreciate the input, it’s all very helpful.  There’s a lot to respond to so I’ll try to address the points that were raised.

Cooking/Meals
I’m good with cooking on a day-to-day basis, but don’t do quite as well with meal planning and I have little experience with freezing meals.  The extent of my meal planning and freezing is essentially limited to cooking a large amount of meat and then using it in different dishes and/or freezing 1lb portions.  I’ll buy more meat when it’s on sale and freeze some, otherwise our freezer is mostly stocked with fruit/veggies and occasionally frozen pizzas or one-bag frozen dinners if we’re ever particularly unmotivated.

We have an average sized refrigerator with a top freezer.  From all the feedback it sounds like it would be worth acquiring (probably Craigslist) a small chest freezer, and once things start to settle down either unplug it, sell it, or continue to use it with my newfound menu planning/freezing skills.

I like the idea about having conveniently located snacks, I’m sure that she would appreciate that.

Pregnancy Prep
We’ve been following the week-by-week developments together on The Bump.   We’re signed up for a few pregnancy classes and a tour of the birth center in September/October.  (Bonus: the classes are reimbursed through work.)

We nabbed a decent crib/dresser/changing table set on Craigslist and we’re keeping an eye out for a stroller, car seat, and rocker as well as baby sales/giveaways on Facebook.
 
We have a daycare spot reserved with the program through our church, we know the people and it seems like a good setup, and is still in the average cost range ($1,430/month), and the location is mostly on the way to work.  Once the baby is past 18 months, there would be the possibility getting part-time day care costs, but it’s not a guarantee.

She wants to breastfeed, and is aware that difficulties can happen.  I’ll bring up the lactation consultant as something to get into now, prior to delivery.

We also need to establish a will.

Pregnancy Support/Tribe
There are a few couples with kids from church that we’re friends with that we can get support from, contact with them has been spotty over the summer with others being on vacation and us being at the in-laws most weekends.  This should pick up again after summer.  We also recently met one of our neighbors a couple houses down who is a SAHM with 2 young kids, she’s approachable and seemed genuinely willing to talk/hangout/etc.

My parents are 30 minutes away; they have expressed interest in helping leading up to and after the delivery, but also don’t want to be overbearing.  At the same time, I’m not sure what would be appropriate to ask of them for help, so we’ll need to sit down and work out specifics of what my parents are comfortable with and what our limits/boundaries are.  My mom likes to cook and would almost certainly be up for contributing to the frozen meal stockpile.

I think we will have more help available than we realize, it’s just a matter of asking for it.

We’ve briefly talked about a Douala at one point. She seemed indifferent at the time, but it would be worth mentioning again now that it’s becoming more “real”. 

At her last check up, the doctor told me to let them know if I notice signs of depression.  She’s already taking some mild anti-anxiety mediation from pre-pregnancy, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for any changes as situations continue to develop.

Parenting
Admittedly, neither of us have spent much time with in-depth reading up on how to actually raise a kid as opposed to how to initially keep him alive.  We’ve discussed some generalities with each other, but not much else.

Grieving/related
We found out that we’re having a boy, so that rules out the naming possibilities.  But I really like the idea about having something to memorialize her mom.

Our plan is to go as soon as we hear that MIL passes.  Good call on the Go-Bag, we now have the basics packed, so we’ll only need a handful of things to add when we need to go.  Both of our managers are aware of the situation and we’re already clear to leave at a moment’s notice.  We will each have three days of bereavement leave as well.  I’ll be able to be with her for that, though she doesn’t know if she would take additional time off and whether she would stay with FIL for longer.

My default reaction does tend to be on the more on the side of “how can I fix it or make it better?”  It definitely takes deliberate effort for me to say “Yeah, that sucks” and suppress the feeling that I need to do something, but I’ll keep at it!

Self-Care
Good points! I do have some family and friends that I can vent to when I need to. Physically, playing soccer was pretty much the only thing I did to keep in shape, so I’ll need to make an effort to do something above what my wife and I do together in order to maintain a similar level of physical activity.  I get pretty antsy if I don’t get some form of exercise for an extended period of time.  In contrast to physical activity, I also enjoy video games and books to clear my head.


little_brown_dog: I laughed when I read your chocolate story, I already had a pretty similar experience. We were at the store and she spotted some fancy chocolate and went “chooocolate” (in the style of Homer’s “Dooonuts”). I blurted out that we had some at home, to which she stopped, turned, locked eye contact with me and said “I want THIS chocolate” followed by the ever-so-slight eyebrow raise. 

We got the chocolate.

1967mama

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2016, 03:34:04 PM »
We’ve briefly talked about a Douala at one point. She seemed indifferent at the time, but it would be worth mentioning again now that it’s becoming more “real”. 

Just a plug for doulas ... I went through my first birth experience without one and have had several babies since. I LOVED having a doula there.

The thing that tipped the scales for me, before the 2nd baby, was reading that a doula frees up your husband/partner to be freely available for you emotionally. The doula takes over as mediator between the partner and the medical staff, gets the ice chips, refreshes the cool cloths, etc.

You can interview doulas .. don't give up if the first one isn't a good match, personality-wise. They'll either click, or they won't.

The post-partum visits by the doula are wonderful, also for baby care lessons and reassuring you that all is well,  and debriefing the birth for your wife from the perspective of someone who was there, but not emotionally going through the ringer like you and your wife were:-)

ahoy

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2016, 05:41:35 PM »
You are doing an awesome job.  Take a little time for yourself also. 

My Dad was in the hospice unresponsive for 4 days 7 years ago.  I have a large family and it honestly felt like a family reunion.  It was a surreal moment in time and can't believe that I got though it.  I was way better than I ever thought I would be.  At the time I had a  a 6 and 3 year old.  The one thing that got me personally though this time was my faith.   However, to go though this while pregnant, I can't even imagine.  Keep on doing what you are doing...


woopwoop

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2016, 06:14:51 PM »
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is a baby shower. Not every woman wants or cares about one, but if she does, then I would contact some of her close friends about making sure the timing works out okay so that she doesn't get a party thrown for her right in the middle of her grieving period. It's not something I ever really thought about until my friends/family threw me one, but a lot of the apps and websites she's probably going to will be talking about showers and if she wants one, it'll be hard for her. Same for maternity photos.

edmundblackadder

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2016, 06:20:42 PM »
Yo can definitely still name the kid after your mother-in-law even if you're having a son. (Congratulations, by the way!) Caroline is the feminine form of Charles, for example, and a lot of other women's names are related to men's in a similar fashion. Or you could do what my people (Ashkenazi Jews) do and use the initial letter as a starting point, so if your mother-in-law is named Amanda, you'd think about names starting with A: Atticus, Aiden, Alec, Andrew, and so on.

With This Herring

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2016, 09:24:36 PM »
Bathroom cleaning:  Is this something that's on a set schedule in your house, or is it whenever it looks necessary?  I know ours can use it once a week (darn hard water), but it often goes longer.  If you start cleaning it on a set schedule, she won't get to it first.

You talk about you and your wife going when MIL passes.  Would it work out for your wife to additionally go and spend a few days or a week now, while MIL is still here?  Maybe as unpaid leave?  She might feel bad about not spending more time with her parents in her mother's last days.

If your wife is the only child, funeral arrangements may fall to you two as well, if FIL isn't up to dealing with it.  You might be able to make some arrangements ahead of time.

This is so sad.  It sounds like you are doing a great job with being supportive.  Good luck to you both, and I hope for a peaceful passing for your MIL.

athomeintheworld

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Re: How to Better Support my Wife?
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2016, 01:00:19 AM »
Wow - how hard! And how wonderful of you to be so mindful. My husbands mom passed away after becoming sick very unexpectedly when our daughter was about 8 months old. It's a rough time for sure.

Remember to take care of yourself. You can take better care of your wife/family when you do.

Pregnancy support/labor prep. Be as involved as possible, assuming she wants you to. Birth and death. A lot to deal with. She needs a lot of solid support for delivery. Focus on helping her get excellent nutrition and stress mgmt.

Know that things will get easier and then get harder again. And again. Hang in there.