Biologically, the man’s role ends after he contributes his semen successfully and the bun is in the oven but in reality… his role just began. A first pregnancy is often quite demanding and difficult for the woman, but most times we fail to notice that it is still quite the strain on the man as well.
The mood swings, the unusual cravings, the acute sensitivity and untimed desires, requires some skill to come out of this experience with your relationship unscathed. These few tips will help any man saddled with this responsibility to navigate with the minimum amount of cuts and bruises on this unpredictable road.
1. Your Words Can Be Magic or Poison
Give her a break! She is not just being too emotional and sensitive, the changes in her body through this process gives her sensitivity legitimacy and I am not just talking about the emotional surges.
Here is a picturesque illustration; “you have a motherly look” when said to a single woman or ‘unpregnant’ woman may even be perceived as a compliment, but when said to a pregnant woman all she hears is “fat!… you are fat!” She is allowed to feel this way, because of all the weight she is putting on.
Telling your wife that she looks beautiful is worth more to her at that time than every time before, because chances are that she is constantly battling with thoughts about whether she still looks beautiful. Why else do you think she keeps admiring her bump in front of the mirror? Your words should caress her totally even if your hands can’t quite get around her anymore.
2. Don’t Be too Careful
Asking you to be careful with her is a no-brainer no doubt, but being too careful is in itself as bad as being careless. If you both went on hikes, played certain games that required some physical exertion before the pregnancy, or got intimate in certain manners, then you need to continue that, you may need to reduce the distance you walk or the duration of the games to give her more time to rest, but becoming aloof with the lame excuse that you want her to ‘get all the rest she can’t is almost certainly going to be interpreted as “He doesn’t want to touch me or have anything to do with me now that I am fat and ugly.”
3. Balance Provision With Prohibition
First pregnancies are always unpredictable and so almost impossible to budget for. Your wife may have pregnancy cravings that are above your pay grade, but you have to at least try your best to get her what she needs and keep her from what may harm the pregnancy.
Some cravings during pregnancy can be an intense version of the cravings she always had before pregnancy; it could be Alcohol, certain drugs like benzodiazepines which may be toxic to the child and pregnancy. You have to balance the art of provision with the art of prohibition.
Some Women may experience severe discomfort and in seeking comfort may lie in uncomfortable positions or undesirable places like toilet floors. You must try your best to make her as comfortable as possible even if it means getting her comfortable relaxation seats or great pregnancy pillows.
Comfort is one of the greatest needs of your wife and she will need you know that you have got her back especially in the third trimester. Make sure you watch out for eating disorders as they can be particularly problematic during pregnancy, because the rapid changes in a mother’s body.
4. Read A Lot
Generally, no two pregnancies are the same, but there are still general rules that will help you make sense of a lot of the things that you would be experiencing.
Once she shows you the pregnancy strip, hit the library and get some vital books. The first pregnancy will almost certainly throw you for a loop if you aren’t prepared in the least bit. Generally, pregnancy patterns are repeated to an extent and so it may be better to cope with the second time around.
5. Keep Records
While I prefer diaries and pictures on social media, a friend of mine took it up a notch by setting up a website and chronicling his experience (with a few features from his wife), videos, vlogs, pictures, text… the whole nine yards.
While not everyone may have the time or passion, finding a way to share your experience or to add some fun to it will go a long way in educating others while relieving the pressure at home.
Make sure you have all content you are sharing vetted by your wife; most women can be picky about what they want—or don’t want—shared with other.
6. Play The Fool
Emotional reactions are very normal with pregnant women more so with women who are pregnant for the first time. You have to be much more enduring and understanding. She may seem to get irked at the littlest of things and she may react in ways out rightly strange to you.
Blame it on the hormones and just play the fool.
Relationships thrive on the wings of understanding and no other time do you need it more in a marriage than when you face the first bump. Carrying your child in your arms after the nine months strain often is an experience that makes it all worth it.
Trust me… it all works out fine in the end.
Photo: Getty Images