Oh man. Pregnancy. You finally slipped one past the goalie. You’re probably experiencing some combination of excitement, nerves, and curiosity about which countries don’t honor extradition treaties.
There’s a lot you should know about relating to your pregnant partner, none of which will help. But I figure it’s reassuring to know that whatever you and she are going through is typical.
A few lucky women have those pristine pregnancies where they gain weight only in their bellies. They radiate that fecund glow. They may even claim being pregnant feels great, as though sperm were some multivitamin. Their biggest concern is whether to compete in that triathlon scheduled for late in the second trimester. Fuck them.
For the majority of the female population, being pregnant is a bloated, blotchy, gassy affair, rife with swollen joints and loss of equilibrium. None of their clothes fit. And what’s worse, they may never fit again. If that sounds like your woman, read on.
I’ll spare you the advice on morning sickness, or on what foods your partner should avoid. Such information is easily acquired. Herewith, a dime-bag of pregnancy pro tips that you will not find elsewhere:
- The Messiah Complex: In the back of their minds, all women wonder if their baby might grow up to redeem humanity. Or at least be the next Ryan Gosling. Accordingly, any request that is “for the baby” carries a special urgency. While you and I recognize this as irrational, ignore it at your peril.
- Sex: With each trimester comes new logistical hurdles. At first they’re little things like nausea or feeling bloated. By the final weeks, mounting your wife can be like trying to clamber back into a capsized canoe. And after your baby is born, your wife isn’t going to want sex for awhile. Possibly forever. My advice is to get it in while you can.
- Hormones: Pregnancy causes women to experience crazy-ass mood swings. There’s really nothing you can do about this, except maybe harnessing the crazy for good. Take advantage of such moments to redirect the crazy away from you, and towards getting that hotel room upgrade.
- Nausea: Okay I said I wasn’t going to address this but there is one trick I know of (no joke): Preggie Pops. They’re basically placebos in the form of lollipops. No harm there. And you will be a hero if they help.
- Cravings: Your partner could be a gluten-free vegan with a nut allergy. But while pregnant, she may develop a sudden craving for a peanut-butter and bacon sandwich. Remain calm and don’t show fear. Make the sandwich and carry on as though nothing happened.
- Gas: Pregnancy makes women gassy. This poses a dilemma, because women hate to acknowledge that they farted. Take one for the team and claim responsibility for all flatulence – even when it’s just the two of you. Make a big production out of it too, offering exaggerated apologies and expressing concern for others. Consider that if the methane emissions get bad enough, you may be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit.
- Strangers: For women, being pregnant in public is like walking a puppy: total strangers have no problem excitedly asking questions and giving a friendly pat. I suggest making such encounters as awkward as possible. Reciprocate by patting their stomach. Give a wide-eyed grin for effect.
- Strangers (cont’d): Someday soon you’ll be out and about, and see a woman who is obviously, inarguably, incontestably pregnant. In your giddy haze of camaraderie, you may be tempted to initiate conversation with something innocuous like, “When are you due?” Don’t do it. It’s rare but on certain women, fat cells get unevenly distributed to create the illusion of full-term pregnancy. Good rule of thumb: unless the baby’s head is crowning, keep your mouth shut.
- Doctor’s Appointments: As the pregnancy progresses, visits to the doctor’s office become more frequent. Your partner is getting stuck with needles, filling vials of blood, and having her cervix checked so thoroughly you’d think it had an expired inspection sticker. Pretend to care, seriously. Ask her questions, show concern, and be sure to accompany her to at least one appointment.
- Pampering: One of society’s favorite conventions is telling pregnant chicks they are glowing. This is really just a polite way of saying, “Nice cankles.” If you take no other advice, heed this: send your woman for spa treatments as often as is comfortably affordable. Book her a hair appointment. Park her ass in a nail salon. This will have the salubrious effects of restoring her humanity and cutting back on the crazy. Oh, and a skilled reflexologist can in fact eliminate cankles.
First time mothers think they’ll get to reclaim their bodies once the baby is born. But pregnancy is really just a dry run for true sacrifice. Whatever you do to ease your partner’s burden will pay huge dividends. Anyone with stellar advice can add to this list in the comments section below.
photo courtesy of Candace Todd