Guys, we know you don't know. We know you can't understand the way having a tiny being pressing on all the corners of your abdomen from the inside can feel. We know you don't get rushes of inexplicable emotions, or food cravings so intense that you're tempted to recreate the World of Warcraft freak out. And we know that it's hard for you to understand why we might not be as frisky as usual.
Ladies, even the most pleasant, levelheaded of us can become stark raving mad biznatches during the miracle that is pregnancy.
I'm far from a relationship expert, but I'm really good at getting knocked up and the Captain's still hanging around, so I'm here to give a few tips, for both ladies and guys, on how to deal with pregnancy issues without becoming little more than resentful roommates before your tiny poop machine makes its debut.
|Photo credit: Trish Andrus|
1: Morning (read: 24/7) sickness- Guys: When your lady is spending most of her day dry heaving into the sink or making out with the toilet, spend some of that time with her. Get her a hairband, bring her a glass of water, just sit there and rub her back. When she's done and has cleaned off the goop that was ricocheted back into her face, hug her for a minute. Don't speak. And most importantly, don't ask if she's okay. She's not okay. Her body is trying to turn itself inside out. Just let her know with your actions that you're there for her in her most vulnerable and potentially embarrassing* moments without judgement, and you'll be raking in the brownie points. *Ever puke so hard you pee yourself or fart unintentionally? No? Then no complaining if she does. Yes? Then you'll know the feeling and keep your trap shut.
Ladies: After you're done heaving and your guy has been sweetly and silently doting on you, brush your teeth (or at least gargle with some mouthwash) and wipe the snot off your face before you show your gratitude with a kiss. You don't have to get into a full blown make-out sesh, but make sure you show him that you noticed his silent support and that you appreciate it. No one likes hanging around someone who's puking like they're possessed by a demon.
2: Exhaustion- Guys: Don't complain that your lady seems to be utterly exhausted by the most menial tasks. She slept for 10 hours, made herself barely presentable for work, took a nap on her lunch break, and now she's on the verge of tears because she's out of clean underwear and is still just. so. tired? Now's the time to tie on your super-hero cape and offer your skills as a domestic helper. Ask her what she needs you to do, and do it without grumbling. Within earshot. Let's be real. No one likes extra chores.
Ladies: Let go. I'm no June Cleaver, but I admit that I like things to be done a certain way. If your guy is making your life a little easier by picking up a few of the chores around the house, don't nit pick about how it's done. Thank him as often as you can while he's helping and once he's done, let him know how much you appreciate it. You'll have plenty of time for fretting and doing it yourself during the feel good trimester, and if you gripe about how he's helping, he's not going to do it anymore.
3: Food- Guys: We can't explain it. Sometimes there are just things our body won't tolerate. Like vegetables. Or the smell of cooking meat. Or anything that doesn't have sugar in it. It's a crap-shoot. One day we could be dying for Indian food and the next day just the idea of curry makes us nauseous. We're just as perplexed and frustrated by it as you are. So, if you're the cook in the house, ask what your lady wants to eat, and always have a backup plan, lest all your cooking go to waste. And if your lady has a particular craving while you're out and about, get it for her! You will earn some major brownie points for assisting her in her random indulgences. Sometimes, there is nothing sexier than a man coming home with a take-out box full gyoza and chicken katsu. And when your lady proceeds to stuff her face full of the desired food so fast you're positive she isn't even chewing it, just ask if she'd like something to drink, too. Or, make a joke about it. Captain's favorite line to say at meals with me this pregnancy? "Yes, I want you BIGGER!" in a totally creep-tastic, evil geniusy voice. Nearly makes me choke on my gyoza.
Ladies: If it is within your power to get your craved-for food yourself, do it. If it's 3 a.m. and you just HAVE to have a McChicken, don't pester your guy to give up his sleep to fetch it. Either slap on a robe and hit the drive thru, or find something that will satisfy your taste buds until lunch tomorrow. Whatever you do though, don't beat yourself up about what your body is craving. Just make good decisions where you can so that if you do have a day during which that slutty bitch Little Debbie won't stop harassing you, you won't feel guilty for eating the entire box of her Oatmeal Creme Pies in the car on the way home from the store. You know, for example.
4: Personal hygiene- Guys: Here's the deal. Our bodies change a lot during pregnancy. Our chemicals change so we smell different, our bodies produce more icky things than we care to admit, hair grows in thicker, darker, and faster, we break out like Argus Filch getting the side effect of Weasley's Fever Fudge, and we get stretchmarks on top of just plain not feeling good. It is generally pretty hard to feel sexy during pregnancy knowing that your body has become a completely different animal. If we aren't feeling sexy, then we sure as hell don't think you find us sexy. If your lady has a hard time shaving her legs and complains about it? Offer to shower with her and help. And don't expect that bikini line to look very nice until she gets more than 5 minutes to shower after baby arrives.
Ladies: It sucks, but don't gripe about it. Do you want to hear details about your guy's sweaty package after a long day? He doesn't want to hear about the nasty things your body is doing. Hair on your nipples? Quietly pluck it. Pee when you sneeze? Just go change. Deodorant not up to par anymore? Hit the store and get something better. It's kind of like the poop rule: Everybody does it, but people aren't too keen on seeing it, smelling it, or hearing about it. Unless it's theirs. Like the saying goes: Everyone likes their own brand best.
5: Becoming as big as a house- Guys: In our fat-shaming, thinspo pushing culture, pregnancy weight gain is just about the most confusing thing ever. Medical experts don't help either, by putting out general limits on how much we should be gaining at certain points during pregnancy. Even when our bodies are in the midst of doing the most amazing thing ever, we are critical of them for not fitting in with the norm that is portrayed by Photoshopped advertising. Whatever stage in the pregnancy, there will be hitches in your lady's self esteem. First trimester bloating, ensuring our regular pants will see the closet sooner than we'd hoped. Second trimester showing barely enough that you just look fat. Third trimester you-must-be-having-twins belly. Other people assuming that our pregnancy is open to the peanut gallery's 2 cents, telling us we're too small, too big, carrying too high, too low, etc. Make your house a place of zen and acceptance. This woman is carrying your baby, and even if you may not think she's beautiful or sexy in the conventional sense, shower her with your affections. Find reasons to compliment her. Tell her that her bump looks cute in the outfit she's wearing. You're half the reason she's going through this. Rub lotion on her stretched belly to show her that you want a better connection with her and the life blooming inside her. Strive to be at least half of the reasons she smiles every day.
Ladies: Quit with the self depreciating remarks about your changing body. This is what your body was designed to do. Marvel in the way it changes to accommodate the rapid growth of your baby rather than despair at the numbers on the scale. Share the things that make you feel good with your guy. If you only point out the bad things, they will become the only things that you see. And try to make light of it. For instance, I felt like I had my own gravitational pull a few days before my due date with Cabin Boy #1. So, I made a Halloween costume to showcase it.
In a nutshell, love each other, help each other, appreciate each other, don't say stupid things, and, when in doubt, bring home some gyoza. Or ice cream. Or pickles.