Ask A Woman: Something smells good in here–oh hey, it’s a bun in the oven!
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So your partner is pregnant? Congrats! You’re in for a wild ride, my friend. But a great one. Your life will begin to change and shift as soon as your wife becomes pregnant. She may want you to read a couple pregnancy books so that you’ll understand what she’s going through. If you’re like my husband you’ll say, yep, definitely going to get around to that…as you turn back to the newspaper. Shame, shame, I know your name. Still, for your partner’s sake, it’d be nice if you were somewhat prepared. So here’s the Cliffs Notes version of what to expect when she’s expecting:
Your wife’s appearance will change.
Obviously. She’ll gain weight in her belly, but also her face, arms, butt, breasts (yay!), even her fingers and toes. Her skin may look different–if she has blemished skin, the pregnancy hormones may make her skin clear up, or if she typically has clear skin, it could break out for the same reason. She may walk differently, move differently, now that her center of gravity has shifted. Her hair may become thicker and more shiny.
Unless she has the misfortune to suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, her appetite will be big. REAL big. She may not eat huge portions in one sitting but she’ll eat frequently, especially in the second trimester when she’s over the morning sickness, but not so big that eating causes discomfort. It’s worth noting, too, that while hunger pangs may be a mild annoyance to the average un-pregnant person, they become a SERIOUS SITUATION when pregnant. Woe to the husband who makes his pregnant wife wait to eat.
Her eating schedule may resemble that of a hobbit.
She won’t be able to remember anything.
Pregnancy brain. It’s real. Basically, her brain is swimming in a potent cocktail of hormones. It ruins short-term memory–dates, times, items to pick up at the store–you’ll be lucky if she remembers half of what you want her to. I got to the point where I told my husband that if he wanted me to remember anything from our conversations, he needed to follow up with an email so that I had it written down. If it’s frustrating to you, believe me, it’s very disconcerting to her.
Sex. It’s feast or famine.
Pregnancy tends to be an exercise in extremes. Your other half likely will find you irresistible or totally repulsive. My advice? Get it when the gettin’s good and she thinks you’re Channing Tatum‘s hotter brother; stay far far away when she thinks you’re Ron Howard’s, umm, gappier-toothed brother.
No one seems to work, and pregnant Rachel isn’t able to find someone to sleep with her.
Just two of the reasons Friends is unrealistic.
She may be a bit…sensitive.
I think I’ve thrown only one temper tantrum in my adult life and it was when I was eight months pregnant. I stomped my feet, yelled, burst into tears, and fled the room. I actually said, “No one understands me.” You may have to choose your words and actions carefully around your (unpredictable? temperamental? emotionally fragile?) spouse.
Your other half is growing a person. It takes a lot of energy. She’ll go to bed early, wake up late, take naps, spend afternoons sitting lump-like on the couch. It’s normal; it’s necessary.
Finally, there are no hard and fast rules.
It is entirely possible that your spouse doesn’t change much at all during her pregnancy, or she changes in ways totally different from what I’ve described here. Every woman is different; every pregnancy is different. Try to go with the flow and remember, there’s an awesome reward at the end of this ordeal!
Got something brewing in your life? Send me an email–style, etiquette, relationships–I answer it all: firstname.lastname@example.org