When I was pregnant the first time, Chris had already gone through the joys of pregnancy with Sarah's mom, Kate. But each woman is different and I was definitely not 18 years old. I was 26, soon to turn 27 years old and I was pretty established in who I was and years past the huge hormone mood swings that accompany adolescence.
I have several friends who are expecting babies and so I thought, I'd write a few words of wisdom down for men, so they can survive the joy ride coming with the months of hormones, sore feet, swollen ankles, and all of the other numerous joys that come with pregnancy.
1. Repeat this phrase after me, "Yes, honey. You're absolutely right." No matter how insane you think your wife is being - learn this phrase and repeat it often and you will survive to see your offspring make it.
2. DO NOT JOKE THAT YOU ARE A HORMONE HOSTAGE! No matter how insane she seems to you, trust me, she probably seems insane to herself and the worst part is, she's powerless to stop it. Especially if it's the first pregnancy. I was a fairly calm, level-headed woman until I got pregnant with Elizabeth. Suddenly I would cry at the stupidest things. "Oh the poor kitten on the side of the road is dead." "Oh the guy in the movie said he loves the heroine." "Oh no, what if our baby is deformed like that baby on ER and looks like an alien?" "Oh I have a hang nail." All of these things would drive me into tears, frustration would set in which made it worse. I knew it wasn't rational and I was powerless to stop the tears from flowing - which meant I cried even harder, because I was that frustrated.
3. "Honey, you look wonderfully pregnant." Do not tell her, "Wow, you're getting so huge!"
4. Do not follow your wife and quack like a duck - even if it is true. Yes, I know a man who used to do this. This is something you can only do if your wife is sane, and has a good sense of humor that day.
5. Do help her put on her shoes and even shave her legs for her if she can't reach them. I know it's not fun for you, but it's worse for us.
6. Do not share embarrassing stories about your wife. At least not if she knows the people you are telling them too or anywhere within a 1,000 mile radius. Doing so may or may not result in your slow and torturous death.
7. Don't tell her you don't care what she fixes for dinner. This isn't just during pregnancy by the way, if we are asking what you want for supper it means we are at a loss and are asking for some input. Take the ball and run with it.
8. Don't procrastinate on putting things together. If we have a stroller we ask you put together, do it. Don't wait, don't give us excuses, just do it. We are nesting and we need the peace of mind to know what is going on and that in some small way we are ready if the baby arrives early. This goes for all baby equipment that requires assembly.
9. If we are nesting, just help us, unless we tell you to go away. Yes, we know we are obsessively cleaning - go with it, since once the baby arrives we will be too tired to make the house this clean.
10. Do not refer to being intimate with us - "Scaling Mount Everest" Or compare it to trying to do yoga. It's not fun for us either, and it doesn't do much to help us feel good about our expanding bellies. And yes, my husband is guilty of this one.
11. Do double check before getting us a craving, that a) we still want it and b) you are getting us the right thing. This serves several purposes. First, it means you don't buy food, we no longer want. Second, it means you are saving money. Third, it means you don't have to eat it, so if unless you want to eat it for us, double check. Chris gained weight when I was pregnant with Elizabeth because he didn't double check first and would come home and be left to eat Chinese food by himself, since I suddenly couldn't stand the idea of whatever food I'd been craving the night before. This did not include chocolate by the way.
12. Just because we craved it while pregnant does not mean we want it once we are no longer pregnant. I can't stand KFC and yet, while pregnant with Beka I craved it like crazy. Suddenly I craved steak and baked potatoes, pot roast from Golden Corral, and yet, once I was no longer pregnant, I couldn't stand the idea of those things.
13. DO NOT PURCHASE A HUGE TRUCK THAT SHE HAS TO CLIMB INTO FROM MONTH 5 UNTIL THE PREGNANCY IS OVER AND HAS TO LOAD A BABY INTO!!!!!! It's a huge pain in the butt, she may or may not enjoy it and you may or may not live to see your children grow up to go to college.
14. Embrace that you are no longer in control and that neither is she. While she's in the throws of labor, only go if she asks you to go, but don't go too far. Do not crack jokes unless given permission, and do not act as if you would do it for her, when we all know that you would never really willingly go through child birth. Help her as she struggles to let go of control of her body. Being in labor - especially the first time, is very scary and it's hard to embrace the fact that you are not the one in control.
Have a good week.