As I sit on my birth ball and type this, I am 26 weeks and four days pregnant. I have the most compassionate and caring husband that a wife could possibly have. It recently occurred to me that though he is quite possibly the most understanding human in existence, he is helpless when it comes to the impossible task of deciphering the intricate, delicate workings of his pregnant wife’s brain and emotions. I know there must be others out there in same predicament, so I thought I’d cut through the crap and tell you precious husbands straight up exactly what your pregnant wife needs from you.
She needs your help.
In all things, but in particular nesting. When the insatiable urge to nest strikes, ask her what you can do to help. When the answer is to clean the baseboards in the new baby’s room with a q-tip, try not to be too annoyed.
Any sign of annoyance will seem to your wife like creating the picture-perfect nursery that your princess deserves is not your number one priority. And if it’s HER number one priority, it should obviously be yours too.
I can’t fully explain it, but nesting is some deep physiological call in your pregnant wife that can not be ignored. This may very well mean that the garage, the attic, and every cabinet, closet, and drawer needs to be fully emptied, purged, and reorganized before the arrival of your bundle of joy.
Try not to let your wife climb into the attic on a hot spring day after spray-painting in the garage (as I did this weekend), but don’t get in her way either. Nesting will happen. Get on board, help her lift the heavy stuff, and remember the key word: help.
She needs to be acknowledged by you.
Not acknowledged like “good morning, pass the coffee”, but acknowledged like “I see you. I hear you. I love you.”
From the moment that she knows she is pregnant, everything your wife does becomes about that growing that baby. But to her it may feel like life doesn’t really change for you until the baby is born, so it’s easy to feel like she is in it all alone. The isolation is unexpected and real.
There will be days when it seems like she is upset for no reason. Remember that not only is she carrying the weight of a bowling ball in her belly, but on her shoulders she also carries the weight of the world you’re creating for your baby. The huge list of worries, the irrational fears, and the constant anxiety is mind-blowing and exhausting.
Realize that she is never “in a bad mood for no reason”… there’s always a reason. Figure it out and acknowledge it. Repeat after me: “I see you. I hear you. I love you.”
She needs you to praise her.
I can not possibly describe how difficult it is to feel like a worthwhile human being when your ever-expanding physique requires something called “over the belly underwear”.
It’s a cruel world when at the time when your pregnant wife needs to feel the most beautiful, her nipples become roughly the size of dinner plates and her skin looks like she may be the “before” picture in a Proactiv infomercial.
We feel sweaty, like our asses have become a separate entity that now just follows us around, and that every day is a delicate dance of wedging back fat between the bras that now try to saw us in half and the aforementioned over the belly underwear.
Consider all of that, then think about how many times you would need to hear “you’re so beautiful” before you’d actually believe it. Multiply that number by 87, and you might be close.
Praise her. Tell her that no woman has ever carried a baby so beautifully. Tell her that she makes it look effortless and magical.
Also, do not rush her when she attempts to make herself look and feel like some semblance of the woman that she used to be. She does not need to be reminded that it has taken her an hour and a half to get ready.
Consider how long you think it would take to squeeze yourself into your own sausage casing, and give her a break.
Then recognize that a good 34 minutes of that “getting ready” process was spent shaving parts of her body that she can not even see so that you do not feel like you’re sleeping next to a gorilla.
Long story short, do whatever it takes to make her feel like a goddess, even when she farts herself awake.
She needs your patience.
Be aware that your physical relationship will temporarily be different. We need to be massaged and know that the end game is just showing us that you love us, not trying to get into those elastic-banded pants.
It feels like our bodies are no longer our own, we become unrecognizable to ourselves, and it can be incredibly depressing. We spend the majority of the day trying to figure out what we want to eat whilst simultaneously battling nausea, or trying to remember the last time we pooped and wondering if we need to up our Colace intake. And all the while a stranger is kicking us in the crotch from the inside. Shockingly, these things do not make your wife feel sexy.
Please do not take it personally when intimacy takes a back seat to strategically arranging our pillow fortress, especially designed to support our bellies, prop us up, and keep our dinner in our stomachs and out of our throats.
We still love you, want you, and need you. We just love you, want you, and need you to rub our feet and calves (helloooo restless leg syndrome) more than anything north of that while we’re pregnant.
She needs your understanding.
There will be times when the littlest thing will make her cry. You will not understand. You may be frustrated. You may be tempted to tell her that she is overreacting. Do not do this.
Despite your not understanding, and regardless of whether or not her reasons are logical, her feelings are real. Let me repeat that. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to you or not, the way that she feels is real.
So if she is crying because she only has a quarter of a tank of gas in her car, or because she can’t find her other shoe, or because of that damn Verizon/Sprint traitor, then let her cry.
Hug her and tell her it’s okay. Understand that she is scared, overwhelmed, uncomfortable, and likely hungry. Bring her a snack and tell her that you love her, and maybe even sprinkle in a “you’re glowing” for good measure. Also, mmmmm. Sprinkles.
You will get in fights with your pregnant wife. They will escalate quickly. She may become furious, she may cry, she may say crappy things. I am by no means suggesting that you should stand there and be a punching bag for a hormonal outburst, but there are definitely ways to stand your ground without making the situation worse.
When you’re in the heat of battle, do not, under any desperate circumstance use the C-WORD.
If you tell your pregnant wife that she’s acting crazy, I can not guarantee your safety or the length of time for which all parts of your anatomy will remain in tact. Do. Not. Call her. Crazy. Ever. Just don’t do it.
When things get bad, if there is no immediate resolution, tell her that you love her and walk away. You will calm down and so will she, and then no c-words have to be uttered and all body parts will remain attached. Win, win.
I could probably go on for another 50 pages detailing all of the things that your pregnant wife needs from you, but I think that these five key points really sum it up. If you find yourself on a run to the grocery store for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, an enema, and Epsom salt, baffled about what you can do (other than hurry back with the enema) to make your pregnant wife happy, bring it back to one of these key principles:
Help, Acknowledgement, Praise, Patience, and Understanding.
And when all else fails, you just can’t go wrong with flowers, some type of chocolate, a sincere compliment, and a hearty foot rub. Husbands, I know it’s hard work, but all that you and your wife are going through will bring you a moment like this, and make it all far more than worth it.
p.s. if you liked this post, you’ll probably love the one about my first trimester mental breakdown that I wrote about in a post titled “What Makes You Happy? No, Really.”
PSSSSSSSSST… Hey! You! Fun, beautiful, and highly intelligent person! Are we friends on Facebook and Instagram yet? And are you a JSH Weekly update subscriber? Just pop in your e-mail address for access to the library of fun printables and special content that only fun, beautiful, and highly intelligent people receive!