As I’m sure you know by now, MDW is pregnant with our second baby. Since I’ve seen plenty of pregnant women in my lifetime (friends, family members, etc.) I feel that I needed to create a Guide To Pregnant Women to help men out. Here goes nothing.
Before I begin, let me say that I’m sure 90% of men already know (and are following) the tips I’m going to lay out here; however, if you know of some dudes who need to read the information I’m about to share, don’t hesitate to send this to them.
#1 – Morning sickness: I’m not quite sure why they call it morning sickness, because the feeling of misery goes on all day and all night long for many pregnant women. When I come home after a good workout at the gym, the smell of my sweat makes MDW want to vomit all over me (Editor’s Note: In fairness, the smell of my sweat always makes MDW want to vomit all over me, but her desire to do so is much more powerful now). Even when a pregnant woman isn’t making out with her toilet, she still feels like she’s suffering through the “Flu on Steroids” pretty much every minute of every day.
What Can Men Do? - For starters, don’t walk around your preggo wife smelling like sweat (that memo is intended for me, by the way). Also don’t trivialize it by saying, “It’s not that bad” or “You must be faking it. Nobody can be this sick all of the time.” That would make you an asshole of the highest order. In college, you would hold the hair back of some girl you met at a fraternity party while she pukes into a nearby toilet or trash can, so doesn’t it make sense that you’d do the same for the woman who is carrying your child?
The bottom line is to be as empathetic as you can, because hurling your guts every day is no fun for anyone.
#2 – Dietary restrictions: Want a beer? That’s probably not a good idea. How about some caffeine to help you stay awake? Yeah, that’s not a good idea, either. There’s an excellent sushi joint that just opened. Wanna go there? Nope, can’t eat that stuff. How about some cheese and crackers at friend’s party? Well, if the cheese is made with unpasteurized milk, you better stay away from it too.
Can some of these dietary restrictions be dismissed as myths? Maybe. But are you willing to use your unborn child as a guinea pig to find out? Highly doubtful.
Analyzing every piece of food or drink you put into your mouth for nine months gets old…quickly.
What Can Men Do? – If you know that your pregnant wife/girlfriend craves something that she can’t eat or drink, don’t be a dick and consume it around her (eating sushi or drinking beer, for example). However, when her cravings for peanut butter and marshmallows hit, don’t ask questions. Just go to the store with a smile on your face and pick that shit up.
#3 – Extreme fatigue: My wife is a very energetic woman, but pregnancy absolutely saps every last piece of get-up-and-go that she has, and many other pregnant women are the same way. Who knew that a baby the size of a golf ball could turn a grown-ass human being into a zombie? Well, it happens.
What Can Men Do? – You have to institute the “45-minute clock.” In other words, when a pregnant woman tells you she’s going to do something, you need to tack on 45 minutes in addition to the time she gives you. For example, if she says it’s going to take her 30 minutes to get ready to out to the movies, it’s really going to take her an hour and 15 minutes (and when she’s at the movies, she’ll get up to pee no less than six times). The 45-minute clock is a tool that will save your sanity when dealing with your slow-moving pregnant wife. Just be patient with her and keep your frustrations to yourself.
#4 – Inability to get comfortable: When Little DDW plays “horsie” on my back, it isn’t very comfortable. The good news for me is that I can tell her, “Daddy has had enough, baby. Let’s take a break,” and then she’ll run along and find something else in our condo to destroy. Unfortunately that isn’t the case for pregnant women who have tiny humans playing “horsie” on their bladders and other internal organs 24/7. Sleeping is difficult, walking is difficult, sitting at a desk is difficult, and in some instances – even breathing is difficult.
What Can Men Do? – Not much, really. She’s going to squirm and complain, but that’s all par for the course. Every woman is different – some will want you to massage their feet and others won’t want you to be within ten yards of them. It’s up to you to know how your spouse deals with discomfort and accomodate her in any way possible. One thing I’ve learned is to not offer suggestions (like a dude would have any idea how to make a pregnant lady comfortable). Don’t do that shit.
#5 – Short fuse: Many of the pregnant women I’ve come across have short fuses and can be extremely emotional. For example, you can be at Babies R Us and comment on how you really like a certain baby stroller, and your wife/girlfriend will get pissed because she thinks you like the stroller due to the “attractive mom model” on the box. Maybe your wife will make you sleep on the couch because you wore a blue T-shirt instead of your lucky red T-shirt, and that’s the “main reason” why her favorite sports team lost the game (this happened to a friend of mine).
What Can Men Do? – Nothing, except to grab a straw and suck it up. No offense ladies, but some of the stuff you say when you’re pregnant is bat-shit crazy…and there’s no arguing with bat-shit crazy. Fellas, be supportive, nod your head, and do whatever she says. The lady is carrying your child, for crying out loud. She deserves a pass to act however she pleases.
#6 – Strangers touching you: I never understood this. Ladies, let’s say you’re not pregnant. What would you do if a random dude stopped you on the sidewalk and put his hands on your stomach to say, “Wow! How cool!” You’d slap the shit out of him and call the cops, right? So why do people think that it’s OK to touch a woman’s body just because she’s carrying a baby? My wife dealt with this, and if you’ve been pregnant, I’m sure you have too.
What Can Men Do? – Start by not approaching women and touching their pregnant bellies. These ladies aren’t zoo animals and they have boundaries that must be respected. However, if you’re out with your pregnant wife/girlfriend and some random dude is dumb enough to put his hands on your wife’s pregnant belly in front of you, then you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m just going to leave it at that.
#7 – People asking dumb questions: I’m sure you heard them all.
- Wow, you’re HUGE! Are you having twins?
- I heard it feels like butterflies fluttering when a baby kicks. Is that true?
- Does puking during pregnancy feel any better than puking when you’re not pregnant?
- So how do you have sex with your husband being so big?
- (The all-time favorite) Congratulations on your pregnancy!! How many months along are you?? (You guessed it, she’s not pregnant.)
What Can Men Do? - I’m a dude, so I have no effing clue on what it’s like to be pregnant. But I do know this: People don’t like to be asked the same questions over and over again. Also, people don’t like to be asked dumb questions. So, if you feel the need to ask a pregnant woman something – just take your ass to Google to see if you can find the answer there first. I can almost guarantee that the last thing she wants to endure is watching you channel your inner Barbara Walters with your line of questioning.
#8 – Not feeling beautiful: I never understood this one either, but I know plenty of pregnant women who felt ugly while they were pregnant. I’ve heard it all:
- I’m disgusting.
- I feel like a whale.
- I’m so fat.
- I can’t wait until this is over with so I can look like I used to.
Personally, I can’t think of anything more attractive than a woman you love who is also carrying your baby. Not to sound overly cheesy, but pregnant women have a glow about them that just makes them really good-looking in my eyes, and I know that I’m not alone when it comes to this. If you’ve experienced pregnancy, I hope that you’re not one of those ladies who felt ugly, because I promise you that you’re not.
What Can Men Do? – If there’s ever a time to tell your spouse how beautiful she is, now is the time. Sure, there’s a good chance she’ll respond with, “Stop lying to me, asshole. I’ll cut your penis off if you say another word to me,” and that’s OK. Editor’s Note: It’s not OK that she wants to cut your penis off, but you know what I mean. Don’t stop hugging her, kissing her, and offering sincere compliments to let her know how much you love and appreciate her. Whether she thanks you in return is irrelevant. Just know that deep down she appreciates your love.
#9 – Dealing with all of the aforementioned shit in addition to your daily responsibilities: Think about the eight things I listed above.
Now think about all of those things happening while you’re cooking, cleaning, working a full-time job, and trying to wrangle your other wild-ass children.
What Can Men Do? - You have to step your game up and help around the house, because whatever you were doing pre-pregnancy isn’t enough now. If you cook dinner once a week normally, you’ll have to cook three times a week now. Is giving the kids a bath your wife’s job? Well, it’s not anymore. Do you hate doing laundry and dishes? Newsflash: EVERYONE hates doing laundry and dishes, but now you have to man up and take care of business.
Put simply, she needs your help more than ever during the months she’s carrying your child. Don’t let her down.
#10: Delivering the babies: There are a lot of things in life that are difficult – such as juggling chainsaws while yodeling, or being the keynote speaker at the annual Ku Klux Klan convention as a black man – but I would put “pushing an 8-pound human through your vagina” (or two 8-pound humans, if you’re having twins – like my mom did) at the top of that list. Editor’s Note: Having your belly sliced open to deliver said 8-pound human(s) is also extremely difficult.
I’m not going to begin to pretend as if I know what it’s like, because I don’t. I’ll just go out on a limb and say that it probably isn’t very comfortable.
What Can Men Do? – Well, I’ll tell you what not to do. Don’t get drunk at a holiday party and tell your female boss (with three children) that delivering a baby is no different than taking a dump when you’re really constipated.
About seven years ago, a co-worker of mine did just that. According to him, “They both include a lot of pushing, pain, and blood, so what’s the difference?”
So, yeah…don’t say stupid shit like that.
Also, I know it’s not the most pleasant thing for a dude to do, but you gotta be there during the Grand Finale. And by “be there” I mean witnessing everything. Hell, I was crouched down like Mike Piazza in full “catcher’s mode” when MDW gave birth to Little DDW.
Make no mistake about it, the act of childbirth is NOT beautiful – as a matter of fact, it’s easily one of the most disturbing things I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. As I was holding my wife’s hand when Little DDW’s cone head came out, all I could think about was the movie Alien.
However , my wife never would’ve known because I kept myself together on the outside, even though I was repeating happy thoughts to keep myself from puking on the inside. When I told her afterwards that I almost fainted eight times during the delivery process, she said, “Do you think for a second that I really gave a damn about your feelings while I was trying to push our baby out?”
Well played, wifey.
That said, the act of childbirth is not beautiful – but when the child is born, it is truly God’s coolest miracle. A living, breathing, crying baby who you would instantly trade your life for if it meant protecting him or her from harm. Now that is beautiful.
In closing, I’m man enough to admit that I’m not man enough to deal with what women go through in regards to pregnancy. It’s grueling, painful, frustrating, and quite thankless (until the end, of course). My main motivation for composing this post is to let my wife, my mom, and every woman reading this that I give you a TON of props in regards to how you handle an extremely delicate and important job.
Kudos to all of you, and I’m sure MDW will print this up and wave it in my face if I ever slip up between now and July (and I’m sure I will). And to be honest, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.