I have had the biological privilege of being pregnant twice. That’s around 20 months of my body being completely taken over, which means that’s around 20 months of my husband doing everything wrong.
For 20 months, he said the wrong things, he cooked the wrong things, he touched me wrong, he even breathed wrong. It was all wrong. Looking back, I think I was mostly mad because his life wasn’t affected that much and mine was turned upside down, and he couldn’t really understand why I was crying at dog food commercials.
If you are the partner of a recently pregnant person, please take my advice on these specific things that you should and should not do:
1. When your wife says, I think I’m pregnant, try not to let the words, “But I wanted a mountain bike,” come out of your mouth. You know who you are.
2. Be supportive but not bossy. It may be your child, but it’s in our body and if our body wants an entire tub of sour cream lathered on one chip, then so be it.
3. Don’t say our bellies look like there’s an alien inside, even though there kind of is. We are freaked out enough about the whole thing and don’t need reminders of “Oh, that’s so weird!” and “Oh my god, it’s moving!” We know.
4. Don’t volunteer your pregnant partner to be the designated driver every Friday night. We did not get pregnant so that we could endure crazy drunk people for nine months.
5. Don’t give us any advice ever. Not on clothes, not on what we should read, not on what we should or should not eat, not on anything. There are enough people out in the world telling us what to do already, and right now, we need you specifically for your massage skills.
6. Don’t ever say, “But you love bacon. You seriously can’t eat it?” No, I cannot eat the bacon. And if you cook it in the house again, I will seriously reconsider this relationship.
7. Don’t ever say, “Maybe you would feel better if you got some exercise?” When you are pregnant, going to the bathroom is exercise. Walking up three steps is exercise. Sneezing is exercise. Leave us alone.
8. Whenever we say, “Do you want to feel the baby move?” do not hesitate. Immediately say yes, every single time, even if the whole thing kinda weirds you out.
9. Don’t say, “Look! We weigh the same amount!” and then laugh hysterically. If we could catch you or move our arms past our stomachs, we would punch you.
10. And finally, try to remember that we are going to cry—a lot. At commercials. Over bowls of cereal. If you look at as wrong. If you hug us. It’s going to be a huge tear-fest, so try not to be scared. We might be normal again in about 18 years.
There is probably a lot more advice that I could give you, but well, I have two kids and I think they are trying to dismember each other right now. Pregnancy is just the beginning of a long and messy, scary, tearful (wonderful) time.