Mr M and I had a bit of a barney on Sunday night. Nothing serious, it was over as quick as it started and I wouldn’t usually overshare like this, but it made me realise something.
After I’d had a good old moan that he didn’t do x, y or z, that I was 30 weeks pregnant and felt as though I had to do everything, despite feeling as though I’d been hit by a bus that day, that he didn’t understand, etc (oh yes, proper fishwife territory when I get on one at the moment), I suddenly thought that this pregnancy lark is not easy for him either.
Don’t start feeling too sorry for him, mind. In many ways, I have the rough end of the deal with the baby-growing process. He preserves his fine physical form, he has no symptoms, he retains his dignity, his life returns largely to normal during working hours after a few weeks of paternity leave, and he will maintain his sense of self and his place in the world, while none of that really applies to me.
However, I suddenly caught a shot of it from his point of view and saw some things can make it tough for him too. To an extent, they do get it easy, which means that they probably don’t feel that they can really get emotional about how they feel about things. They are constantly reminded by anyone and everyone from the day you announce your news, that they should be looking after you. No pressure then. And they also probably have to financially support you while you are on maternity if you have worked in the past. And it’s not only you then, is it?
Unfortunately, with the way mother nature works and how society is at the moment, those big things are unlikely to change. The other halves are also never going to be able to experience the wonderful parts of pregnancy – feeling your baby move for the first time, giving birth (it will be wonderful on some level, right?), and basking in the attention you get from everyone you come across while pregnant.
So together, we have come up with a list of pregnancy tips that might help the other halves get through the day to day life of those nine months:
1) Try to find alternative sleeping arrangements
Clearly, you will want to check this with her first. Don’t just vacate to the spare bedroom – she’ll think you don’t love her any more. But from day one, I know that I have been keeping Mr M awake at various times. Be it due to regular toilet trips, trying to get comfortable, being too hot/cold, bad dreams, sudden excrutiating cramp, generally taking up most of the bed with various cushions, contraptions and the bump, sleep has eluded me regularly and to be fair, if we had a spare bed, I’d be more than happy for him to go and sleep in it.
2) Make friends with the hoover and the supermarket
You are going to need to help out a bit more (if you are not already Mr Modern, that is). Especially in the third trimester, the supermarket shop is something I dread and Mr M earns serious brownie points if he goes and does it without me. If he cooks and hoovers already, he is God in my eyes.
3) Stock up on tissues
She is going to cry. A lot. It might be that she is scared about labour/being a mum/coping. It might be that her back is killing her and she is exhausted. It may be that the family on DIY SOS are just so lovely and so is everyone who helped them. There may be no reason at all. But you will have some serious tears to mop up.
4) Understand the process
She is having to learn about the whole process so that she knows what to expect, what she needs to do, how to manage the different stages, what she needs to worry about etc. If you then ask her to explain, it’s very likely to annoy her. Least you could do is pick up a book, or do some web research.
5) Don’t forget to compliment her
You know how women need their confidence boosted at all times? Well they need it more than ever now. Her body is changing, she has spells of feeling like death warmed up, and a kind word from you can and will make her day a whole lot brighter. She needs to know you still love her, you’re proud of her and ultimately – she looks amazing.