Being pregnant, I studied up on everything I thought I might need to make sure I'd have a healthy baby. I was diligent about my prenatal check-ups and got all the genetic screening available at the time. I received a few hand-me-down maternity clothes, and supplemented with a few purchases so I could show up to the office dressed somewhat decently. But there are some things money can’t buy, and for those, I looked to my husband to provide the things I needed when pregnant.
They weren’t material things, for the most part. Instead they were acts and considerations that he often made without me asking. He had never lived with a pregnant person before, but he knew me, and my psyche, and no matter what new and strange experiences pregnancy threw my way, he found a way to help me maintain my confidence during that time.
When I was pregnant I alternated between feeling I was far superior than my husband, and being totally envious of him. On one hand, I was doing this astounding thing of nurturing a new person, inside my body. In other words, I was doing all the work while he watched (in awe, of course) from the sidelines. On the other hand, he could keep walking up stairs without getting winded, and all his favorite clothes still fit. So my feelings for him ebbed and flowed. I wasn’t that nice to him sometimes, but he tolerated it. He knew I was scared, and that I was occasionally taking it out on him since he was the one closest to me, both emotionally and physically. I never really needed material things from anyone, so his attention and love helped carry me through those nine months.
So take note, dads-to-be, because here are some things my partner provided, when I was pregnant, that just can’t be bought:
I think pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (more or less) because that’s exactly how long it takes to properly flip out over the idea of bringing a baby into this world. Any less and parents-to-be would not have the time to run the full course of worse-case scenarios through our paranoid heads. And any additional time might desensitize us to potential dangers, since they’d just be playing on repeat at that point.
Having a partner to talk you down from the “what if” ledge of motherhood is vital, because freak-outs don’t just happen during business hours. I woke up often in the middle of the night, and was so thankful that my husband was there to reassure me that our baby wouldn’t grow up to prefer Star Trek over Star Wars, or whatever those other terrible scenarios I had imagined.
You couldn’t tell me too many times what a fierce warrior I was for gestating a new life. Telling me I’m great never gets old. Even if, at times, my partner was saying these things just to make me feel better, hearing him say I could do this thing — and this thing was the most amazing feat a human could accomplish — gave my self-esteem a much-needed boost.
More Space In The Bed
Between my growing belly and my gigantic body pillow, it was getting tight in our queen-sized bed, so I appreciated that my husband accommodated my need for my space by allowing me extra real estate without complaints. He also didn’t fight my need to keep the bedroom at near-Arctic temperatures as my internal temperature seemed to rise throughout pregnancy. After all, he could always put on more layers, but I couldn’t get any more naked.
More Time In The Bathroom
Yes, I needed more time in the bathroom because, as the baby and I got bigger, it was a bit more difficult to maneuver. But I also needed time by myself, in private, to kind of reckon with all these changes that pregnancy was causing. Although we only had one bathroom, my husband was generous with it, allowing me to take all the time I needed in there. After the baby was born, though, he definitely “reclaimed his time” and we’ve since had to move to a place with two toilets to make sure everyone’s needs were being met.
Not Placing Things Too High…
A pregnant lady will love you forever if you don’t make her reach for anything.
… Or Too Low
You’ll also get bonus points for not asking her to squat down as she progresses through her pregnancy. Putting on my shoes at the end of the month proved too challenging, which was why I continued wearing flip-flops outdoors into November.
Your Self-Deprecating Sense Of Humor
Pregnancy is weird and uncomfortable and challenged every fiber of my self-confidence. I was grateful for a partner who took his own insecurities in stride, laughing at his foibles and poking fun at all the weird things parents-to-be are hazed with before their child arrives (such as dumb baby shower games, birthing class, and thinking seriously about a living will). His sense of humor got me through the times when I felt shaky about my impending new role as someone’s mother.
Your Deference Of Her Baby Registry Selections
I was fairly sensible when picking out items for our wedding registry (pint glasses could double as water glasses, I thought), but I definitely went to the next level with the baby registry. I needed to make sure we had all the things that were going to keep our kid safe, foster his or her genius, and not look too twee in the millions of photos we would soon be posting. My husband backed away from the scanner, refusing to argue with me as I spent a solid 30 minutes designing among swaddling blanket patterns. He was wise to pick his battles.
Your Willingness To Massage Any Part Of Her Body At Any Time
I was gifted with a prenatal massage at a fancy spa, and it was marvelous. But I had to shlep downtown and back on the subway and that kind of killed the effects of it. Having a partner on hand, to lend a hand, when my body was needing some love not only helped to ease the muscle soreness that comes with pregnancy, but also reiterated that my husband was truly there for me… and our baby.
All too often, I’d get severely anxious about becoming a mom. I had literally never been a parent before and I was so scared that I was going to screw up my kid’s life, all due to my inexperience. I hadn’t yet started putting faith in my maternal instincts, or even logic as I waited out our kid’s arrival over the course of 42 (yup) weeks. My husband deciding to remain chill, but also never appearing aloof, made me feel more secure about our decision to become parents. That calmness carried over into the delivery room, when my daughter was born, gently and smoothly, and my husband didn’t freak out over anything he might have witnessed (or at least he never let on to it).
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