Listen up, baby daddies. We have to fill you in on a little secret that you might not already be aware of, and we are going to be totally and completely straight with you here. You might not like what we have to say:
Your baby mama might want to murder you in your sleep while she is pregnant.
Or, she might melt into a lake of her own tears if you ate the last of anything she had been fantasizing about.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold the damn phone. Not my baby mama, you’re probably thinking. We aren’t saying you need to start sleeping with a full-on suit of armor or anything, but it’s good for you to know that as her body changes throughout her pregnancy, with her hormones totally out of whack, she may have moments where the smallest thing – like the amount of time it takes for you to tie your shoes, or the clanging of your spoon against your cereal bowl in the morning – makes her totally and completely nuts.
We know, you really want us to say, “Aw, poor baby daddy. She’s being mean,” but honestly, you are just going to have to figure out how to deal with it. Pregnancy isn’t always an easy-peasy, birds chirping, glowing-lady with a growing belly, unicorns puking rainbows kind of ride. It can be rough and, especially for first-time moms, it can be scary.
Pregnant ladies are not always the easiest to handle, so sit tight. We have some ideas that might help you to make it through unscathed.
7 Let her cry
Hootie knew what he was talking about, guys, when he wrote “Let her cry”. Hormones suck to begin with and, while you may be used to her having mood swings with PMS, PMS hormones have nothing on pregnancy hormones. Like, they really, really suck. Unfortunately, pregnancy hormones they don’t really regulate again until months after the baby is born. Seriously.
There are going to be times when you think your lady has up and lost her damn mind.
- - You might find her sobbing over YouTube videos.
- - She might burst into tears over food (really, though, this is a serious matter).
- - She might start to mourn the loss of her pre-pregnancy body and wallow in her closet.
Be smart and do yourself and your beautiful, baby-bearing woman a favor: do not laugh.
We repeat: Do. Not. Laugh.
Laughing is not going to solve anything. Neither will dismissing her feelings and making her feel stupid for crying. That, my friends, will lead to more tears and probably some resentment, which, you may know, is never a good thing in any relationship.
Even in times when you think that her tears are unnecessary, to her, something is clearly upsetting and what she really needs is someone to support her and provide a little bit of empathy. A good hug and a simple, “man, that video really got you, huh? Would you like a cookie?” works wonders over, “wow, someone is hormonal today. Get over it.”
If you notice that baby-mama-to-be is extra sad all the time, it might be worth investigating with her doctor, though. She could be experiencing depression during her pregnancy, otherwise known as antepartum depression. Red flags for antepartum depression include:
- - Persistent sadness
- - Difficulty concentrating
- - Sleeping too little or too much
- - Loss of interest in activities she normally enjoys
- - Recurring thoughts of death, suicide or hopelessness
- - Anxiety
- - Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- - Change in eating habits
This could potentially be dangerous for both her and your unborn baby if left untreated because it can lead to improper nutrition, drinking, smoking and even suicidal behavior. Keep an eye and ear out for her and, if necessary, know when to intervene and call in the professionals.
6 You Have Symptoms Too
Sure, mama is the one who feels most of the effects of pregnancy, but did you know that 90 percent of dads-to-be experience some symptoms, too? Say what?
It’s the truth, guys. Known as “ couvade syndrome,” some men actually experience sympathetic pregnancy symptoms right along with their wife/significant other. This isn’t considered a mental illness but, rather, physical symptoms brought on by psychological causes. Read on for some more insight.
5 Swallow Your Pride
You know pregnancy brings on symptoms that are unpleasant. Nausea and vomiting, exhaustion, headaches, backaches, swollen ankles, hemorrhoids and just plain feeling huge can render a woman useless when it comes to handling things around the house. Even if she couldn’t stand one dish in the sink in her pre-pregnancy days, during pregnancy, there will be times when she feels like getting out of bed and getting dressed were her top two accomplishments for the day.
Maybe you come from a setup where she usually handled most of the household chores. If that is the case, she is probably putting a lot of pressure on herself to keep up with the things she normally did. She probably feels like you are still expecting her to take care of laundry, cooking, cleaning, dishes, etc. and when she doesn’t get it all done, it would help if you are understanding and jump in to lend a hand. Stress is not good for the baby; neither is her wearing herself out and possibly rising her blood pressure.
If she seems frazzled, or if you just want to help simply to help you can:
- - Toss laundry in the washing machine if it is piled up
- - Empty the dishwasher and reload (and run!) it
- - If you don’t cook, learn a few simple recipes or keep take-out menus handy
- - If you can afford it, hire someone to come clean your house every few weeks
If you handled most of the household chores, or they were split evenly, this probably isn’t much of a change for you, except that she may need to lie down a little bit more than usual. She isn’t being lazy, we promise. Her body is just worn out. Growing a human being inside your uterus takes up a lot of your energy. Keep at it, and let that baby-making machine have a few minutes of rest.
While mom-to-be will not be out of commission forever, don’t expect her to be back at it as soon as baby is born. Her body will need time to heal and, if she is breastfeeding, she is going to have a baby at the boob ‘round the clock for those first few months. Patience is a virtue, and one you’ll need to hold onto.
4 Get Involved
Other than the actual act of creating that baby (which, if baby came to be by using the traditional method, we are sure you most likely enjoyed), your role in the baby’s growth from that point on may seem relatively miniscule compared to the lady with the ever-growing belly. She feels the symptoms, her body changes, she feels the baby move, she gives birth, and so on.
You might start feeling a little bit like a third wheel.
The moment you start to feel like you aren’t important in the development of your baby is the moment you become unimportant. That mindset is toxic. But, guess what? You are important. Very much so.
The time you have between conception and birth is really the best time for you and future mommy to connect and understand how much life is going to change once you add a new member to your family. What can you do to stay involved?
The more you do to be involved in the pregnancy, the more important you will feel.
3 Keep Your Hands to Yourself (for now)
We know future-mommy’s body is changing quite a bit which, before the big baby belly arrives, leaves her looking oh-so-voluptuous. New curves have arrived and hey, you cannot be blamed for liking what you see. Compliment her – she will like knowing you appreciate her evolving body. We mean compliment her with words, though, not love taps or squeezes.
That cleavage she now has? Yeah, you know, thanks to those swollen boobs? Well, those boobs hurt. They hurt pretty badly and, frankly, she does not want you to touch/squeeze/pat/lie down on them.
If your “family jewels” hurt, would you want her to touch them?
Never mind. Don’t answer that.
Estrogen and progesterone pumping through her body are causing “the girls” to get bigger, and also become much more tender. This won’t last forever, but if she breastfeeds, it will last until she and baby are completely weaned (and she will not only have tender, but leaky, boobs).
You may have noticed a change in her sex drive, too. It could have skyrocketed and, if so, enjoy, friends! On the other hand, maybe it has plummeted. Now is not the time to feel ego-bruised over her lack of desire for you so, please, for your own safety, do not make any snide comments about the lack of booty you have received lately.
You are still a stud; she is just tired, nauseous, sore, etc. Sex just does not sound appealing. It really is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me,” in this situation. Be patient and, when push comes to shove. There are ways you can handle things yourself (you’re smart; you’ll figure that one out).
We know that sex may be the way you are used to expressing your feelings, and when it is lacking, that could make you feel like her feelings for you aren’t as strong. This is when communication is crucial. You have to be able to talk about how you are feeling, and think of other ways you can show each other some affection.
- - Go out to dinner
- - Or make dinner together at home
- - Watch a movie and cuddle on the couch
- - Take walks and hold hands
It does not have to be all or nothing.
2 Become a Gear Guru
There are literally thousands of different baby products on the market these days and it can be hard to decide which items are the best for you and your family. Now is the best time for you and mom-to-be to investigate which options will suit your needs. The awesome thing about your taking part in this is that your wife/significant other will appreciate that she is not doing this on her own.
Some things to consider when it comes to baby gear:
- - Car seats: Infant seats are convenient through the first year, as you can easily transition your baby from house to car, car to stroller, stroller to car, etc., but can become very heavy as the baby gets bigger. Convertible car seats last much longer than the infant seat, and some even transition into a booster seat for when your baby is officially a “kid”. The down side is that you might have to wake a sleeping baby to move him or her from the car.
A quick tip for all of the above: read reviews. You’ll get honest opinions from parents who loved or hated products you are considering.
1 Prepare for the “Fourth Trimester”
Nothing truly prepares you for that first month home with your baby. Life as you know it is completely different. You have a tiny human being who relies on you for everything and, most likely, he or she does not yet understand that nighttime is a great time for sleep. Momma is going to have some healing to do, and the extent of that is going to depend on the nature of how your baby was delivered.
You can expect her to be out of commission for a good few weeks, at the very least. If she is breastfeeding, she will be up and feeding the baby non-stop (so it will seem).
Needless to say, mommy is going to be sore, tired and cranky. Her hormones are going to be trying to regulate now that she isn’t pregnant anymore, and she is going to be extra emotional. You, too, might find yourself feeling extra emotional as you try to adapt to life as a dad. It is going to be hard.
Adding a new member to your family is life-changing, but completely amazing at the same time. You might have moments where you doubt yourself in the beginning, but you will get the hang of it in time.