There are several things that I just wish that somebody had sat my husband down and explained to him before I was pregnant. In the early stages of pregnancy there are so many new changes that since they are not yet physical, it can seem almost impossible to explain this to your partner. It wasn’t only until the end of the second trimester that my husband could physically see that I was getting bigger and therefore he was more understanding. I think this is such a typical thing to happen in relationships when expecting your first child and I would love that more men get involved in the process of understanding how to support their partner throughout her pregnancy.
At the start of my pregnancy I was so hormonal and emotional that I wanted to be alone most days but there were other days where all I needed was a hug from my husband and to feel that he was well and truly there for me and our baby. A woman is so delicate during her pregnancy since we have so many new hormones rushing around our bodies, not to mention the pains and aches and worries we feel as we enter the second trimester.
Here are some of the things I wish that somebody explained to my husband:
Some days I just want to lie in bed and not do anything
Particularly in the first trimester, I felt like I had zero energy to go anywhere or do anything. I felt pretty crappy about my appearance and the hormones were starting to take over. My husband would ask me every single day what I wanted to do and in hindsight he was just trying to keep me occupied and take my mind off of things, but it was the last thing I wanted to hear.
This sounds like an odd one but I really did feel so protective and sensitive over my body. I’m still not quite sure if I was just being over sensitive or I genuinely did feel a lot more pain on my stomach or perhaps it was the combination of the two. I just remember getting so upset and even crying when he would be too rough with me, this would make me feel like he didn’t understand what I was going through which made matters worse.
Let me eat what I want (but encourage me to eat healthy)
Don’t judge me when I want to eat chocolate at breakfast or drink milkshake and watch Netflix all day. Don’t ask me if I’m sure if I want a pizza but go ahead and cook us something delicious and healthy. Don’t ask me just do it. I will appreciate it more than you know, even if I don’t tell you.
Tell me you’re excited about having a baby
I know you are. But remind me. I feel exhausted and tired and the thought of you even saying these words would momentarily make everything better. Remind me that this is the best thing to happen to you and that you can’t wait to meet our son and take him home from the hospital.
Offer massages (sometimes do it without offering)
There is nothing better than getting a foot massage during pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimester. This is a great way for you to show your wife or partner that you are really there for her and you understand what she is going through. Don’t always ask – sometimes just do it – we always want a foot massage.
Remind me that I look great
Some days I feel like crap and I look in the mirror and I look worse than ever before. I can’t seem to even comprehend what is a “pregnancy glow” most days. My skin looks dull, my eyes look tired and my hair is already falling out (I thought that was supposed to be after I gave birth?). Remind me that I look great and my stomach looks amazing.
Know that I’m sorry even if I don’t say it
I know that I’m difficult right now. I know that sometimes I may even be difficult to love. I know that sometimes I have moments of rage and burst into tears over the smallest things. Just know that I’m sorry (even if I’m too angry in the moment to say it) and I am so happy to be on this journey with you.
One thing I absolutely loved that my husband did was bring home flowers or surprise me at the hairdressers with flowers to “celebrate our X week of pregnancy”. Make me feel special and loved – pregnancy only lasts nine months. Make me remember it as a positive experience and remind me that I am the woman of your dreams.
Talk openly about my worries
Perhaps they seem absolutely ridiculous – now you want to move apartments in your last month of pregnancy? Now you don’t like how our bedroom looks? You want to redo the kitchen? Go with it. Don’t encourage any drastic changes that would be harmful for her and the baby (painting / moving heavy furniture etc.) but it is very normal to feel like “nesting” in the last stages of pregnancy. Talk openly and encourage your wife or partner to express how they are feeling and try to accommodate them as best as you can.
Don’t remind me of the last time we were intimate
Every woman is different. In fact, every pregnancy is different. My goodness, every day is different. If I was up for it at the beginning or even as recent as last week, please don’t push me or even make me feel like sex has to be on the table to make you happy. Remember that I am extra sensitive and emotional – don’t keep going on or mentioning the prospect of having sex. If she wants it and feels like she can, she will.
Please be open with your wife / partner during this most precious time of your lives – enjoy pregnancy and encourage her to be as open and honest with you throughout the journey. Pregnancy is full of pains and aches and physical changes but it is also the most beautiful time of your life that brings you closer to your loved one. Cherish her and remind her that she is the most beautiful woman you have ever seen and you can’t wait to see your child share her wisdom and beautiful eyes.
Good luck, Papa!