Congratulations! I assume you’re reading this because you’ll soon be a Dad. That’s awesome. You’re on the cusp of the best experience of your life, and I’m thrilled for you.
You’ve got a hard slog ahead, though. Not in terms of the baby; that comes later. I’m talking about your dealings with the stressed, anxious, increasingly uncomfortable, exhausted, occasionally horny, hyper-emotional, ever-expanding psychotic slavering she-beast your previously delightful wife will soon become.
[Kidding. It’s nowhere near that bad. I just wanted to write that sentence.]
Let me say first that pregnancy is HARD and I’m full of admiration for women who endure it. I’m exceedingly glad I never have to. This article is vehemently not written to make fun of pregnant women. It aims to provide you with a rough guide to how she might be feeling and why, and how best to support her… or at the very least give you some sense of when to duck.
She’s ALWAYS thinking about being pregnant
Here’s a massive over-generalisation for you: guys are great at focusing on what’s directly in front of them and pretty hopeless with anything else, whilst girls can watch TV, read a magazine, talk on the phone and type an email… and STILL hear you open their bag of Doritos two rooms away. Imagine how that translates to pregnancy.
When we guys stop to think about our impending fatherhood, it’s a big thought. You’ll be a DAD soon! Wow! Then the red light changes or the commercials end or our phone bleeps and, whoosh, the thought is gone again.
A pregnant woman is thinking about it constantly. It affects everything she does, says & thinks. Everything. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s like having someone prod you every 10-20 seconds and saying “Hey. You’re pregnant. You’ve got a person growing in you. Don’t forget, Preggo. You’re PREGNANT”.
She’s likely also concerned about other stuff too – finances, career, house, whether she’ll be a good mother. She’s emotionally exhausted and is going to snap at you occasionally. Your main job: avoid giving her reasons to. Pick up the damn towel off the bathroom floor!
She’s exhausted for a variety of reasons
In addition to the emotional stress, her amazing body is busy building your progeny. It takes its toll. Morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the morning, fellas – it can strike any time of day and can range from 2-3 mildly queasy – weeks to hyperemesis gravidarum (intense morning sickness) which can last the entire pregnancy and be severe enough to hospitalise her.
The third trimester can get extremely uncomfortable, particularly when lying down, and sleep becomes very difficult (possibly for both of you, as there’s often a dramatic increase in snoring.) Add that to the constant, exhausting over-thinking, and you might understand why she seems – ahem – a tad moody sometimes.
She’s moody as hell
However, the real reason she’s moody isn’t entirely due to exhaustion: large doses of hormones are also to thank. Hormones mostly ease muscles & stretch ligaments but there’s enough estrogen to bring out her best and worst in spectacularly unpredictable patterns. Combined with the emotional & physical exhaustion, hormones are like an earthquake followed by a tsunami – as if being completely knackered wasn’t fun enough, nature dishes up a fresh batch of hormonal crazy. Yay!
These mood-swings can be quite unsettling. My wife is usually extremely placid, gentle & relaxed, but several times she went from laughing to crying in mere seconds, followed by laughter over the absurdity, subsiding back into crying almost immediately. Beyond being as sympathetic and supportive as possible, there’s little help you can give without actually being telepathic. Good luck to you, sir.
She’s occasionally really horny
Yep, it’s not all bad news! The rumours are true! All these factors can result, somewhat bizarrely, in a strong need for physical intimacy. And it’s actually not that bizarre when you think about it.
At times she might feel fat, ugly and undesirable. Sex is a perfect way to restore her self-confidence, especially if you emphasise how beautiful she is (and she absolutely will be beautiful; more on that below). In addition to feeling loved and desired, sex releases serotonin which helps her feel content and emotionally balanced, and possibly will help her sleep.
Not only that, but nature is for once actually kind to pregnant women in that they can have highly increased sensitivity all over their bodies. Much as I would love to go into detail here, I’ll be discreet and just give you a big wink and a thumbs up. Enjoy.
You’ll be horny too
Here’s my theory. It’s in our instincts to fiercely protect our children with our very lives, and I believe that starts before the baby is even born with our being even more attracted to our women when they’re pregnant. There’s something undeniably, wonderfully sexy about pregnant women. If it sounds creepy, I’m saying it wrong; it’s honestly quite beautiful. So it’s easy to shower them with compliments and hugs and kisses and caresses and massages with fragrant oils and whatever else you’re into. Which is GREAT, because she needs all she can get.
And guess what? So will you. Because the other rumours are true: you’ll go without once the baby arrives. Get in there while the getting’s good.
She can get weird cravings
Though it is an actual thing, this seems overhyped. It’s not Snickers smeared with mustard, it’s gorging on fairly normal things. During my wife’s first pregnancy she ate half a dozen jars of olives; during the latter stages of the second she averaged three kilos of grapes a week.
Rule of thumb: get her whatever she wants. Lots of it. As long as it’s not, you know, vodka or cigars.
Despite these many factors, genuine excitement will underpin it all throughout. Of course! It IS exciting. Your life will never change this dramatically again.
If she has a supportive, caring, understanding partner who helps her through the tiredness, the sickness, the discomfort and the mood swings, excitement will be the primary emotion. If she feels as if you understand what she’s going through and that you’ll support her no matter what, it’ll make a big difference in how smoothly the pregnancy goes for both of you. Be supportive, be understanding, be patient, be loving. Above all, be grateful she’s going through it all and you’re not!
Again, congratulations to you both. One thing I can guarantee you: no matter how much you’re looking forward to being parents, it’ll be better than your expectations. Just you wait.
Chris Gable is an award-winning musician and vocalist, part-time blogger, loving husband to a professional newborn photographer and hopelessly besotted and endlessly devoted father of two beautiful small girls. In between preparing bottles, extracting Play Dough from carpets and watching Peppa Pig (on which he is becoming encyclopedic) he enjoys reading, photography and exploring the beautiful beaches of the NSW Central Coast where he lives. We welcome Chris as our resident Daddy blogger.
Image Credits: In Bloom Photography.