Let's face it; not all pregnant women have a husband like John Legend, or at least how we imagine John Legend to be. We whine, cry and pout, and he writes a beautiful song that celebrates our beauty and strength. It's a much more likely outcome that when a pregnant woman complains and grouses, her husband, no matter how empathetic he is, can only absorb so much crap before he filters his wife out completely.
Call it a survival technique. It might be a good marriage strategy however, to not solely rely on hubby or boyfriend/babydaddy for all our emotional needs, to be the sounding board and the problem solver. Spread the stuff around. Whine a little to your BFF, give mom a good venting call, and complain to your OB nurse.
Dumping every complaint, fear and concern on your man is a doomed plan. He cannot be everything, your be all, end all. And to try and put it all on him is to guarantee at least frustration on both sides.
Give the guy a break; yes you are doing all the work on this kid for several months. There's no real way to make things "fair," but that doesn't mean you punish him in the meantime. On the flip side, it's not fair that you get the baby all to yourself now, either. He doesn't get to feel the baby's movements and be really, truly aware of "there's someone growing in there!" the way you do. So try and think about him, your relationship and expanding your support network. And remember, he may be tired of these topics already.
15 What Do You Think Of This Name?
I was guilty of this one. I love names. Perhaps a fiction writer's bad habit, I don't know. But I had several name books and reams of papers with scrawled names with alternate spellings. I even had a nightmare during my first pregnancy where my newborn daughter actually turned out to be identical triplets and they said to me, "Mom, we need to talk."
Shocking, as again they were newborns. "We hate our names." Clearly I was overstressing on the name stuff. I learned to keep scribbling, dabbling and reading and when we got down to the last several weeks I would share the finalist names with the dad. Saved time, aggravation and blank stares. It's virtually the same policy I use with my 10--year-old and Halloween costume ideas; don't tell me what you want to go as until we are 2 weeks out. I've learned all the ideas before that are bound to change!
14 Which One Should We Buy?
Look, buying everything baby needs is no small task. The baby registry, showers and shopping are usually (not always!) out of a guy's wheelhouse. He hasn't fantasized about choosing a baby carrier, cute little newborn outfits or the stroller that's the stuff of dreams. He probably has never, ever thought about it all before you started gabbing about it. You have cutesy catalogues, want him to go to baby stores not once, but multiple times, and you talk about who has what and says you should get this or that.
To him, it's likely that he doesn't have particularly strong feelings whether you opt for the stroller with the jungle print or the teddy bears. He doesn't know why there are so many choices in carseats, and never realized normal people actually bought baby carriers so what he is likely thinking everytime you ask his opinion again about something he doesn't understand what all the fuss is about, is "Just decide already! I don't honestly care what you choose!"
13 Are You Going To The Grocery?
This question isn't merely a query about a husband's itinerary. Nope. It's an indirect way of saying, "I'm starving. Again! Now go get me whatever I'm craving at this moment and maybe I won't turn into a shrieking witch! Maybe!" Sometimes it takes guys a little longer than it should to realize that's what it really means, but eventually they all learn. They also learn that there's a 50/50 chance that whatever their pregnant lady wanted when he left for the store is no longer what she desires, and he may be prodded to return to the store, or better yet, a drive through to slay the requisite dragon and bring home the newly important treasured food item.
How many men drive to the store or fast food establishment, murmuring through gritted teeth, "I can't wait for this kid to be born?" It's tough to estimate exactly, but in the ballpark of 100 percent.
12 Are You Still Attracted To Me?
While Beyonce and Kim may feel quite sexy while expecting, the average woman wouldn't list "sexy" in the top 20 things she thinks about herself while pregnant. Combined with hormone surges, gross body events and changes, and stresses about becoming parents, pregnancy may make a woman doubt her man's continued attraction to her. So it's not that unusual to hear a pregnant woman asking on a regular basis if her man is still desiring her.
This can only be worse for couples who have to forego sex for awhile due to health concerns such as bleeding or preterm labor risks. Without that regular physical intimacy, a woman might feel even less secure in her sexiness. Instead of asking overly often, she should make attempts to have physical contact even if it's not sexual. Hugs, kisses and cuddles can connect couples and build a safe place to feel physical while whale-like.
11 The Honey-Do-It-Or-Else List
While most of us wouldn't mind watching Ryan Reynolds struggling to put anything together, while pregnant we can be sort of naggy. "Did you get the crib up?" or "Have you started painting the nursery? I would, but the doctor said I shouldn't." You don't want to give hubby an endless catalogue of things he must do before baby arrives because you are associating home and baby, and you!, with nothing but ceaseless work. No one wants that!
Find ways to join in whenever possible, and if it doesn't circumvent his manhood consider getting some outside help to reduce the work load. Let's be honest, just because he's becoming a father doesn't mean he automatically will become a handyman. It's not like the pregnancy test turned pink and he magically developed a mechanical touch, and a tool belt materialized on his hip.
10 Should We Try Hypnobirthing? Lamaze? Water Birth?
Growing up, many girls imagined what it would be like to finally be a mom. We have planned for this to go perfectly, and we tend to study for childbirth like a final exam. Which it kinda is! But our men, they probably have not spent a single hour of their lives before this ever, ever thinking about the actual birth of their child. They aren't eager, most likely, to read every birth theory out there to determine the just perfect way to bring baby into the world. For them it's to be prepared for the drive, and nature and Mom will do the rest. So a suggestion to keep them from getting bored, tuned out or over-stressed would be to do all the studying and reading you'd like and once you think you have an ideal birth plan, share it with Dad.
9 Did You See The Cute...?
My 10-year-old daughter will stop as we walk past the baby departments in stores to quickly "Awww!" over an adorable baby outfit. I know it's probably not hardwired into every girl, but a LOT of women have this trait. And quite a few men definitely lack the trait. Be it gender differences, cultural training or subtle biases in parenting, the truth is it is quite unlikely that however you finish that sentence, "Did you see the cute..." your man is actually still listening to you.
He checked out at the word, "cute." I will go a step further out onto the limb. He doesn't and will not care about a cute outfit, baby stroller, nursery design or carseat cover. He won't be gasping and giggling at the baby shower, either. Having a baby to him has nothing to do with all those cute things, except how to afford them. So typically save the "cute" conversations for friends and family who must endure them.
8 Have You Read It Yet?
Unless you want to be his teacher, assigning your man homework is probably not going to work out the way you think or would like. "Babe, did you read the pregnancy book I gave you yet?" is not going to be a favorite question around the house. Why don't you just cut to the chase and make things easier on you both. What is it you want him to know? What are you worried over? Communicate those things to him directly, instead of through some pages written by a child development or medical expert.
He either is or is not motivated to read this material on this topic. You nagging won't increase his desire, but is likely to have the opposite effect. Don't expect him to be just like you in preparations for the baby, but also don't run him down because of it. Dads parent differently than moms typically too, but that difference doesn't mean it doesn't meet the standard.
7 How Fat Do I Look?
Seeing your body morph, sometimes unbelievably fast, can be a jarring experience for any woman. One night you went to bed with a swollen tummy, the next day you look in the mirror and you've got a fat face, swollen ankles and a love handle/muffin top thing gone nuclear. It is enough to make a woman feel unlike herself, and if she's not herself, does her man still see her as an attractive woman? We want to know if we look silly in this dress, on the level of big top circus tent silly. Or is it regular pregnant fat we are dealing with?
While a select few pregnant women only get tummies and seem to gain nary an ounce anywhere else, that's definitely the exception and not the rule. But the answer to insecurity isn't going to be constantly asking your husband or guy for reassurance on your figure. You need to find a way to feel positive about your body shape now. Surround yourself with positive talk on the blossoming belly and all. Find clothes that feel comfortable and nicely cut for your body.
6 How Long Should I Stay Off Work After The Baby?
This is a question of a practical nature, so it won't bother daddy-to-be to discuss it. But if you keep conversing about it, and then being wishy-washy, or keep talking yourself out of whatever plans you have, your man will tire of the talking. He is likely more motivated to be a problem solver. So do have a discussion of your maternity leave and maybe even document your ideas on paper. Do a pro and con list for the options you are deciding between, to get a better idea of what you think will work best for your family.
However, build flexibility into that schedule because talking about going back part-time after 6 weeks may sound fabulous until you try it. Guys usually don't want to have conversations to decide something multiple times, each with different outcomes. So do some contemplating about it before you even broach the topic with hubby.
5 Are You Going To Cut The Cord?
You are prone to think more and more about D-day, or delivering baby day, increasingly often as the date approaches. You may want to visualize each moment in advance as a means of calming yourself or preparing yourself. Your man? Probably not so much. But you will want to know just how active a participant he intends to be. If he is super-squeamish, you may not want to rely on him solely for your birth support.
In that case, consider a doula to help you out. He may not feel comfortable having a front row seat at the end of the table, watching your body do amazing things that may actually gross him out. He might get pale just thinking about cutting the cord. If so, don't pressure him. How great a memory would it be of him fainting dead on the floor as he holds the scissors? Yes, it's a funny story later, but that's not your aim, is it?
4 How Long Do You Think I Should Breastfeed?
This is a touchy subject for some. I was determined with all 3 of mine to nurse for a minimum of one year. I have a host of asthma, allergy and related illnesses and wanted to do the best I could to protect my kids from these things. I didn't ask my husband because I didn't really care; this was my choice. But some couples have differing opinions on that. What if breastfeeding is something your husband is terribly uncomfortable with? What if he believes as soon as baby gets on some solid food, nursing time must now go bye-bye?
Some men actually get territorial over breasts with babies. So broaching the topic is a good idea at least. Maybe it's a flip-flop; he wants you to nurse his kids just as his mom, sis and aunties all did and is flabbergasted that you have decided to go the formula route because it's uncomfortable and a mystery to you. Plus you are returning to work quite early on. Talk about it, probably once or maybe twice and then see what actually happens. Talking too much about it will create a negative feel around the whole topic.
3 What Do You Really Want? A Boy Or A Girl?
How many times can you ask someone this before making them roll their eyes and giving clipped, curt answers? Chances are you both have little scenarios about raising a little you or a little him, and one scenario seems more inviting, fun or relate-able. My guy now says he would have been crestfallen had he never had a son.
My dad never wanted a boy, not either time. He had a bunch of nephews and that sufficed. My ex never seemed to care. But I did. After adopting several little boys, I gave birth to a daughter. I was torn over which I wanted that time, but the second pregnancy I definitely wanted a sister for my little outnumbered Danika. But Keillor was clearly a boy in that second ultrasound and I was a little disappointed. But all that melted away when he arrived. That's how it is for most parents. Whatever fantasies melt away when reality arrives!
2 Do You Mind If Mom Comes To Stay The First Month?
You may be nervous about how to do it all while recovering from childbirth. If you have a planned c-section, that fear may be even stronger. Having mom, sis or a cousin at your house when you come home from the hospital may seem like the perfect solution. To you! Your man may see it as an alien invasion where he becomes host to parasites. Honestly, it's a balance that must be achieved. Too little help, unhappy wife/new mom. Too much mother-in-law unhappy everyone.
My mom and mom-in-law about came to blows over this when my birth kids were due. Who would be at home with the older kids and who could be at the hospital when the new one was born? All out turf war! You have to set limits and you'll need to speak patiently, honestly and respectfully to discover what is important to each other. But don't keep talking about it once you've made decisions. It will make him dread the days ahead, frankly.
1 Do You Think This Is Labor Starting?
In the last weeks, one question will be on an expectant mom's mind more than any other; is this the start of labor? Is this the beginning? It may be extra gas pain, a drop or shift in your tummy load, or weird mucus in your pantiliner. Whatever it is you are guaranteed to freak out your man when you hint that this may be the big moment. Unless, that is, you continually bring up things and ask him if he thinks this could "Be It?"
Call it the boy-who-cried-wolf disorder, but if you keep thinking everything is labor and nothing ever is, he will stop reacting and want to yell at you, "Tell me when the contractions are 3 minutes apart. Until then, zip it!" He'll want to say that, but he won't because he knows that'd be inappropriate and he does love you. But don't have him on pins and needles everyday for 4 weeks and expect no fatigue to set in. Eventually you'll both know it is indeed labor, and at the end of that day, or the next, your baby will have arrived. Then you can drive him crazy with new sets of questions!