A qualitative Arabic study of 19 husbands of pregnant women explored their thoughts and feelings. The study found a number of consistent themes:
Childrearing is a joint responsibility. But there were different ideas about how this was shared. Some felt that both parents are equally responsible and others that it is the responsibility of the female in the family while fathers should only provide support and finance.
Fathers should be strong is supporting their pregnant partner. The men talked about sympathy, patience, compassion and the importance of listening. Many escorted their wives to clinics (but most did not go in, according to cultural constraints), helped her to eat healthily, did additional exercise with her, and made sure she had time for more rest. Many of the fathers believed it was right for her to do less housework, but few did any additional housework themselves, rather getting others in to help or just not doing it at all.
Fathers should pray and give thanks to Allah (God all mighty) as pregnancy is considered a gift from Allah in the Muslim faith.
Interestingly, not one father mentioned anything about their own wellbeing, focusing exclusively on the needs of their wives.
The study was carried out by Dr Hala Bawadi of the University of Jordan in Amman. The fathers were Jordanian (10) or Saudi (9), aged 22-41, all living together with their wives.
Bawadi HA et al. (2015), The role of fathers during pregnancy: A qualitative exploration of Arabic fathers’ beliefs, Midwifery
Photo: Children’s Museum Jordan. Creative Commons.