The ways men react to pregnancy are very different from the reactions of women. That’s because they play this weird “I’m-pregnant-but-I’m –not” role in prenatal parenthood. If you have your man’s perfect response to your pregnancy announcement planned, or you’re still grieving over the poor response you’ve already received, let it go. In no way does your man experience your pregnancy the way you do, so his response is probably not going to be anything like yours.
Really, in the beginning, your man hardly experiences pregnancy at all. He can’t see the bump, he can’t feel the baby kick, and he can’t hear the baby’s heartbeat. Isn’t pregnancy supposed to be something more than this? What is she so excited about? How does she even know there’s a baby in there?
Put simply, you feel more excitement and joy about the pregnancy because you’re actually experiencing it. Not being pregnant, your man is left to his imagination and his expectations. And where does our mind go when left to its own devices? To fears and anxieties. While you think of adorable baby shoes and – probably even more – adorable onesies, he is overanalyzing his paycheck, unfamiliar lifestyle changes, and the enormous, bold-lettered responsibility: fatherhood.
Until your man sees your growing belly or watches your baby on the sonogram, he might struggle to understand and appreciate the beauty of your pregnancy. It might be frustrating or even disappointing, but don’t be surprised if your man has some of the following 7 responses to your pregnancy. No, they’re not all bad.
Somehow, the two words “I’m pregnant” have the power to cause a total shutdown of your man’s mental cognition. Whether it’s because your pregnancy was unexpected or because your man just can’t believe he pulled it off, his first reaction to your pregnancy is probably going to look a lot like a child trying to understand what you mean when you say, “It’s not time to eat yet.”
No, He’s Not Broken
Your pregnant man’s first reaction is one that will most likely startle you or, frankly, tick you off. Don’t be alarmed; this response is way more normal than you might expect. Thankfully, most men who react this way end up being just as excited about the pregnancy as their expecting partners. So, if his eyes just sort of glaze over when you share the news with him, don’t be offended.
Be patient and wait for him to come to. Most women are angry and disappointed at their partner’s response because they expect to be happily embraced and met with nothing but joy. But let’s face it: your immediate reaction to your pregnancy probably looked a lot like his – what?
6 “Soo…Where Is It?”
Most men are hands-on, practical guys, meaning their minds work by making sense of what’s in front of them. When you tell your partner that you’ll be raising a beautiful baby together, what doesn’t he see? A baby. Rousing up excitement is hard for him in the beginning, because nothing other than your announcement tells him he is having a baby.
Your Doctor, the Bearer of Good News
For a while, your man can’t experience the pregnancy or really sense the baby in any way. Don’t be surprised if it takes until your doctor’s confirmation before he starts to match your excitement. Hearing your doctor’s congratulations or seeing your baby on the sonogram might be the threshold – and a long awaited one – to his appreciation and enthusiasm.
5 “Wait…I’m the Dad?”
Finally. He’s starting to get it. You’re going to have a baby and he’s going to be the protective, responsible father. See the problem? Once he recognizes what your pregnancy means, he is overwhelmed by fears and insecurities. He knows that raising a child is going to demand financial and lifestyle changes from him. He might even have to support you and the baby while you’re on maternity leave. You’re honored to have him as the father of your baby, but right now, he’s terrified.
“And the Responsible One?”
Beyond financial demands, the real issue is that your man is going to become the adult in charge as soon as his baby reaches his arms. He can barely take care of himself without your help, so how can he raise a child? In the beginning, the responsibility of being a father might cloud the beauty of being one. Remind him that this journey is a wonderful one that you are going to share and enjoy together.
4 “Can We Handle This?”
Your pregnant man’s initial fears go far beyond personal inadequacies and shortcomings. He worries, like most pregnant men, about what this means for your relationship and your lives together. Just like you’re worried about what he thinks of your pregnancy, he’s concerned about what the pregnancy will do to your bank account and your sex life.
From Celebration to Devastation – How Did He Get That Idea?
He might even fear losing you while you’re in labor and having to raise the baby alone. The sky is the limit when it comes to his immediate fears. Even if he doesn’t share these thoughts with you, bring them up. Chances are, he’s already overthinking them and terrifying himself. He probably won’t be eager to share them with you – who wants to be the one to say, “Hey, this is great and all, but I can’t get the thought of you dying out of my head?”
The human mind is a strange, self-beating creature, especially when given the perfect material for fear. Do your best to ease his fears by sharing your plans, talking through potential scenarios, and reminding him that he’s the one you want to share this experience with.
3 “Please, We’re Going to Rock This Parenting Thing.”
After time settles his emotions and he remembers how awesome you are together, your man’s enthusiasm really kicks in. He’ll talk about playing with the baby and he’ll play-fight with you over what the gender will be. And nothing – I think I mean that – is better or more adorable than when he reads books about your pregnancy. If you’re not already in love, that will do it.
The wild thrill-ride we call “parenting” doesn’t stop when your baby’s tricycle ride begins. That means his anxious imagination doesn’t stop then, either. Most men are especially anxious for their child’s older years, when all of the ‘dad’ activities can really unfold.
Being Old Together
When your man talks about how great it will be to be parents, he’s most likely thinking about fishing, playing games, camping, going to amusement parks, sitting through long – admittedly boring – school concerts together with your child. You might think he’s jumping the gun, but at least he is finally getting pumped, right?
2 “Where’s My Dad Mug?!”
Not only are you going to be great parents, he is going to be the greatest dad who ever wore a “Best Dad” shirt while drinking from his “#1 Dad” mug and shining his “World’s Greatest Dad” award. That’s right; at some point, you probably won’t even recognize him.
You might ask him things like, “Who is this great dad, and where is my man?” Yep, just roll with it. As long as he’s eager to buy diapers and ready to paint the nursery, who cares what he calls himself?!
I Guess This Means You Can Get a Mom Mug
Whether or not this is socially applauded or laughable (yes, we know which one it is), this is a wonderful opportunity to share in your partner’s enthusiasm and excitement. The way he is cherishing his fatherhood should inspire you to cherish your motherhood. Just push those mugs to the back of the cupboard when you have company.
1 For Second-, Third-, or Tenth-Time Mothers: “…Again?”
Maybe you’ve talked about having another baby, or this little bundle of joy is also a big bundle of surprise. Either way, most dads have similar responses: we’re doing it again? They love their children and cherish everything they do with them – even if they are “too manly” for those sorts of emotional displays – but the thought of starting all over again is a scary one. Whether your youngest one just got out of diapers or just graduated elementary school, your man is probably going to moan for a while.
Just like the new dads, your seasoned man will grow to love and celebrate the thought of adding another minion to his fleet. He might groan at rearranging bedrooms to find room for your new baby or scoff at the makeshift nursery he’s putting together, but he’ll be a great dad to this little one just like he has been to those not-as-little ones.
Get the Crib Back Out
Men’s reactions to pregnancy – if they react at all – are different from women’s and different from one another’s. Every man reacts to pregnancy differently and whines in his own style. Most men entertain some of these responses, but there are some unique guys out there that might react with more flare, such as by asking you where the beer is. Stick by them. Who else is going to buy donuts for you at 2am?