There is no way to sugar coat this. Pregnancy is tough on guys.
As the guy about the house, you will find yourself having to clean more often, cook more often, head to the supermarket late at night to buy supplies for random spaghetti & peanut butter cravings. You’ll be on constant ‘Cup of tea’ duty. You will get drawn into emotionally charged arguments with your partner over many, many things. You will probably work all week, and in your down time on the weekend, find yourself losing days in building, painting and decorating the baby room. You will most likely buy a lot of new furniture, join the Ikea ‘family’ program, and spend hours
being dragged around exploring specialist baby stores and actually questioning the meaning of life when you come across a pram worth over $6000 in the store.
To make matters worse, you will do all of this while suffering from some form of sleep deprivation – inflicted upon you by your yet unborn child as some kind of pre-emptive punishment for being a parent. Because as a foetus, nothing says “I’m the baby – Love me!” like a series of butterfly kicks to the inside of your partners ribcage & kidneys at 3am on a Wednesday night.
Yes, pregnancy is tough on guys. But while you might feel like you’ve got it tough, you’ve got NOTHING on what women go through with pregnancy.
Women have to deal with swollen feet, bleeding gums, hair loss, insomnia, forgetfulness, constipation, diarrhoea, cravings, morning sickness, food aversions, random pelvic itches, aching backs, aching breasts, aching hips, shortness of breath, reflux & indigestion, skin discolouration, sciatica, urinary incontinence – and to top it all off – they have to deal with a husband or partner that whinges about having to do the vacuuming once in a while.
So, with that in mind, let me take you through my “Top 15” things that you can expect to experience as an expectant man.
1) Your partners body shape will change.
If you’re not aware of this one, you’re probably going to need more help than I can ever possibly hope to provide.
But just so I at least pretend to be slightly helpful and somewhat specific; her stomach will grow as the baby gets larger. Often she will put on additional weight as her body builds reserves of energy that are essential in keeping your offspring alive. She will also start eating like a teenage boy.
It is never a good idea to point out either of those things.
2) Yes, the boobs will get bigger.
It isn’t for you, but it’s probably ok to mention this one.
3) Hair, nails & Skin change.
You’ve probably heard of the “pregnant glow”. With all the extra hormones pumping around the body, her hair & nails will grow faster, and her skin will glow. In some cases, a random dark coloured line (the linea negra) will develop running up the middle of her lower abdomen – directly down from her belly button.
4) Ankles, joints, hips & backs will ache.
There’s a good chance that as the baby develops, your partner will retain more fluid. Ankles, fingers, joints will swell & ache. With the little bub in her stomach, posture will change as she compensates for that additional weight. As the baby gets larger & continues pressing on her hips, there will be lower back aches. In some cases your partner will also have sciatic nerve pain, as the baby presses on nerves on her lower back.
Offer an ankle rub. It will get you some good brownie points.
5) There will be blood.
Not externally though. Thankfully really, as I get a bit queasy at the sight of blood.
The amount of blood in your partners body will double during the pregnancy. I just found this interesting.
6) Baby Brain.
It is a thing. Your partner might find it difficult to focus or remember things. There were the odd times when I’d find my wife standing in the middle of the kitchen or bedroom, without the foggiest idea as to what she was doing. Perfectly normal.
Offer to make her a cup of tea, it’s the right thing to do.
7) Mood swings.
Remember your wife has all these drastic changes happening to her body, and has a massive increase in hormones coursing around her body as she grows your offspring. With that in mind, don’t be surprised when you start to notice her being far more emotional, and perhaps subject to mood swings. It happens to everyone.
Be the best emotional support you can and remember not to take anything directed at you too personally.
8) Your partner will probably go into a ‘Nesting mode’.
This is a perfectly normal thing – don’t fight it, just roll with it. You’ll learn to love trips to IKEA & baby Home Wares stores. My top tip is to break up shopping trips with put stops at cafes and donut stores.
9) Morning sickness.
This isn’t just something for the movies, it’s a real thing. But fortunately this varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. The rumour is if you have really bad morning sickness, you’re more likely to have a girl. Very little morning sickness, you might be having a boy.
10) Food aversions & cravings.
You managed to woo your wife with Apple Crumble and chocolate? Guess what, during pregnancy she might never feel like tea, crave coffee, and don’t you dare cook an apple crumble or the smell will make her run to the bathroom to throw up. It isn’t even food. My mum couldn’t stand the smell of petrol, every time Dad would fill up the car during road trips we all witnessed Mum spinning around & grabbing the family ‘Spew bucket’ and taking it for a spin.
11) Designated driver
9 months of a designated driver for all your joint party events. Not bad.
Just remember; your wife is probably dying for a wine, so don’t rub it in too much otherwise, well… no designated driver.
12) Oh, it’s not 9 months.
The full term pregnancy is 40 weeks. Get used to counting in weeks.
13) Appointments, appointments, appointments.
There are blood tests, Drs appointments, obstetricians appointments, scans, ultrasounds & goodness knows what else.
Get used to attending lots of appointments, and ask a LOT of questions. The more appointments you attend, the more relaxed and prepared you’ll feel when the baby arrives.
Also get used to seeing a lot of people getting very, very comfortable with your partner. Literally all up in her business.
14) Pregnant sex.
It’s fantastic. Seriously, it’s wonderful.
You will hear this over, and over, and over again. From the moment you both announce your pregnancy – everyone is going to be congratulating you, and then ignoring you entirely while they focus on your partner. You’re basically riding on the coat-tails of your wife’s success for the next 6 months. Also, family you swear you’ve never met, or never knew existed are going to come out of the woodwork.
But seriously, in all honesty – congratulations & good luck.
While all your friends may be focussed on your partner, I’m here for you. Grab yourself a beer, you’ve earned it.