Excerpted from blogger Jenna McCarthy’s hilariously awesome book, The Parent Trip
For many women, pregnancy is a hormonal roller-coaster ride. Even if the joyous highs consistently outnumber the agonizing, gut-wrenching lows, when you hit a trough you can be caught unaware. My lowest low comes the evening my (otherwise likable) husband actually says the following sentence.
“I don’t know if we should have any more kids.”
Clearly I am in a dark and dangerous hormonal valley at the moment, because what follows (after the mother of all pregnant pauses) is anything but pretty.
“Any more kids?” I finally hiss with more venom than an angry cobra. “We don’t even have one yet! And it’s a little late in the game to be suggesting this one is a mistake, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“What I mean is, I’m not really enjoying this pregnancy,” he says seriously.
It’s all I can do not to rip the beer bottle out of his hand and crack it over his skull.
“You’re not enjoying it?” I spit, stuttering and stammering furiously. “You’re not enjoying it? Really? Because it’s a freaking joyride for me! I love dry-heaving into the toilet eleven times a day! I love that none of my clothes fit! I love feeling starving all the time even though I can’t think of a single food that sounds palatable. I love that I can’t sleep on my back, and let me tell you, decaf coffee is seriously underrated. That stuff’s fantastic.”
“This is exactly what I mean,” he replies. “You’re moody and unpredictable and sarcastic all the time. I never know how you’re going to react to anything I say. I feel like I’m constantly walking on eggshells around here. I’m actually scared of you.”
“Well, you should be!” I roar. “How dare you try to make this about you! Remind me, please, how your life has changed, other than this unfortunate lack of enjoyment you’re experiencing, since ‘we’ got pregnant. Because I forget.”
“I used to be married to my best friend,” he says sadly.
I’m going to let you in on a maddeningly well-kept secret: You don’t have to love being pregnant. You don’t even have to like it. You just have to get through it without killing your partner. This can be accomplished by following a few basic guidelines:
Never agree to be responsible for waking him up to catch his 5:00 a.m. flight. When it doesn’t happen, he’ll insist it’s your fault because “you always do it,” and even though you are extremely busy making a person, he won’t see the logic in this. Not only will you be stuck looking at his sour puss the entire time he should have been gone, but the resulting knock-down-drag-out will compound your already crippling exhaustion.
It’s okay to assemble an arsenal of pillows if they help you sleep more comfortably; just try to leave enough room on the bed for your partner. Soon enough you’ll need him in there to help with the midnight feedings, so you don’t want him getting too used to the couch or guest bed.
Ask your partner to do things for you (scour the refrigerator, run you a bath, switch deodorant brands) that will make your life more pleasant. If you can manage to suggest an activity without telling him precisely how to do it, the odds of compliance will increase exponentially.
When going out to eat, do your marriage a favor and pick the restaurant. Although the least he could do right now would be to develop superpowers, the reality is he probably won’t instinctively know that the chiles rellenos you couldn’t get enough of last week are likely to make you hurl today.
Don’t begrudge his inability to bear children. He didn’t choose his anatomy any more than you chose yours. When your own swollen ankles are depressing you, remember that he has to walk around with an unpredictable penis all the time, which, as far as I can see, isn’t particularly relaxing or fun.
If you’re going to have a baby shower, make it coed. Some women insist that this is a great way to get the dad-to-be involved and excited, but the real reason for this is that if you incorporate fun games like the “diaper Olympics” (where the guys race to properly diaper a doll), he might pick up a trick or two that will benefit you in the months and years ahead.
Don’t comment on his growing gut. Lots of guys pack on a few sympathy pounds during their wives’ pregnancies (could you merely watch while he downed his weight in fudge brownies?). Pretend you don’t notice it—even when he goes to excessive lengths to push it out, rub it lovingly and call it “his baby”—and he may reciprocate this time next year.
When he makes annoying comments such as “You’re going to break your ankle in those stupid shoes,” try to remember that this is his way of expressing loving concern for you and the baby. Your obviously superior fashion sense has nothing whatsoever to do with it, so trying to argue that point will get you nowhere.
Stop keeping score. There’s nothing “fair” about pregnancy. Sure, if men had to do it, epidurals would come in a shot glass, maternity leave would last for years and someone, somewhere, would have developed a boob-lifting cream that actually works. But then again, you’d have to listen to his whiny, incessant ranting for ten torturous months. Remember that the next time you feel the urge to clock him.
To buy The Parent Trip, click HERE
If men could get pregnant, epidurals would come in shot glasses, and maternity leave would last for years.