Congratulations! The next nine months are going to prepare you and your partner for one of life’s most interesting adventures: parenthood. Your journey probably won’t be quite as simple or straightforward as you may think. There are decisions to make, tests to undergo and a baby relying on your judgments.
And then there’s your partner. Her mind and body are being rented by a houseguest—your growing baby with its own unique set of demands. Your partner’s energy is being utilized to make kidneys, lungs, a heart and all the other critical parts of your baby. While her body works away, she’s likely to be more irritable, sleeping more and craving pickles and ice cream, along with other assorted delicacies.
All this is happening just because a urine test turned positive. Your partner doesn’t look any different and it is hard to believe the fuss everyone is making over your good news. Why is she so calm? And why are you bewildered?
Truthfully, most men don’t spend their youths daydreaming about being a dad or what their kids will be like. In fact, many of my patients’ husbands look like a stunned deer in the headlights at their partner’s first office visit. After all, a baby means new responsibilities and more demands upon your time. And while you are contemplating these changes, your partner is starting to act differently and is talking about car seats, strollers, and DIAPERS! The phone is ringing off the hook with words of encouragement and congratulations from friends and family. These new experiences are a bit strange to you, but seemingly not her. That’s understandable, considering she can sense some of the subtle changes in her body and mind and may have been dreaming about being a mother since her days playing with dolls. Your partner is light years ahead of you and will probably stay that way until the bundle of joy is resting peacefully in your arms.
Your biggest responsibilities through the next nine months are to show patience, to give her back rubs whenever she asks (and even when she doesn’t), and to be her partner. If she is tired, encourage her. If she is nauseated, get her some crackers. If she is irritable, duck your head and let it pass. Think of the well-known retail motto, “The customer is always right,” turned askew: “The pregnant woman is always right.”
Good luck and enjoy the next nine months. It is quite a ride; I have taken it myself three times and the ending is better than anything you can imagine.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.