No matter how hard you try to do it together, in reality, pregnancy is a one-woman show. The mother of your child will have to endure hormone induced mood swings, cravings that will drive her to distraction, rapid weight gain and a myriad of other downright unpleasant unmentionables. She’ll need all your support, and you’ll need all your strength and patience to make it through.
1. If You’re Not Excited, Fake It. For the sake of your relationship and not having it thrown up to you for the rest of your natural life, be sure to react enthusiastically when given the news of impending fatherhood. Even though you may be happy, even a delayed reaction may be cause for panic on your wife’s part. This tactic plays equally well when you’re not excited about: the color of the nursery walls, the names your wife has chosen, the $600 stroller she just bought. Unless it really matters to you, go along with it with a smile on your face.
2. You’re the most beautiful pregnant woman,ever…This tip works the same as tip #1. When your wife is pregnant, you’ll see things you never thought you’d behold on your beloved: unsightly stretch marks that pop up over night, nipples the size of saucers, cellulite, hair growth in strange places and skin tags. And even though the birth of your new child will be the best day of your life, chances are there will be some aspects of labor and delivery you’ll wish you could burn from your memory.
3. Hormones. Prepare yourself for the roller coaster ride ahead. Mood swings are an unfortunate part of pregnancy, and need to be handled carefully. There will be crying. There will be screaming. Your wife will reach euphoric highs and depths of despair — you need to be her rock. Don’t worry, she’ll still have the ability to be reasoned with, so gently tell her if you’re having a hard time dealing with the multiple personalities. Which leads to.
4. Walking on Eggshells. Pregnant women, though still intelligent, capable and thoughtful people can get a little self centered. And why shouldn’t they? They’re a baby-making factory 24/7 — an undertaking that inspires martyrdom. Think twice about what you say, and don’t fall for the obvious traps. Example: “Do I look fat in this maternity dress?” Even if you think she looks like a walking tent, answer wisely. Same goes for food. “Did you eat the last piece of cheesecake?” Answer carefully — if necessary make something up, and run as fast as you can to the nearest store for another piece.
5. Indulge Her. Think about her needs, whether it is a quart of ice cream or an offer to make dinner. Massage her feet. Draw up a hot bath. These thoughtful gestures go a long way. She’ll only be pregnant once (well, per child) and if there’s anytime to spoil her, this is it. She is after all, giving birth to your child, a gift you should be eternally grateful for.
6. Intimacy. Due to the aforementioned hormone swings and strange pregnancy accompaniments, your wife may not be interested. Or she may be really interested. Yes, it’s not fair, but it is what it is. Take it when you can get it or wait for things to get back to normal. In about 18 years.
7. You Can’t Take it With You. You only have your first baby once, so let your wife go a little hog wild with the baby stuff. If you’re on a budget, be nice about it and help her find some good deals. Women like to feel prepared, and although you might not need a Boppy or a Bumbo, it’s fun to have all the latest baby gear.
8. Baby Names. If life was fair, she who gives birth names the baby. Unless you feel really strongly about a name one way or the other, would it be so bad to let her choose? Most men fold anyway after their wives endure a million hours of labor, so avoid the tears and fights and just let her have her way.
9. Daddy Boot Camp. Unless you grew up in a family of more than 3, you most likely have little to no experience with babies. Feeding, swaddling, diapering and soothing are all learned arts which you should prepare for. Be a good sport, and read the books she brings you. Cheerfully attend the childbirth education classes, and if you’re feeling really altruistic, sign up for one of those daddy boot camps — your wife will love you just a little more, if that’s possible.
10. Have a little patience. Being the husband or partner of a pregnant woman requires a lot of patience and understanding. Just remember, once you’ve made it through the fog of hormones, the sympathetic weight gain, the third shade of blue for the nursery, you’ll have the baby of your dreams. And a wife who will be eternally grateful to you for being such a good sport.