An Open Letter to Expectant Fathers
Hi. Congratulations on your upcoming baby.
I’m about to tell you some things, and if you follow my advice it may save you quite a bit of grief in the long run. Don’t worry; you can thank me later.
What You Need to Know About Your Pregnant Wife.
There is simply no way that you can know what your wife is feeling, just like there is no way that she can really know what you’re going through. The two of you can talk about your feelings -both physical and emotional- but when it comes right down to it, you can’t even pretend to understand what it’s like to be pregnant, but don’t ever assume that your expectant wife is faking her exhaustion or discomfort.
Being pregnant is a lot easier when there is a supportive husband around. So give your expectant wife a break. Don’t expect her to do everything she did before she was pregnant, even if she seems like she can. Encourage her to rest and be sure to tell her how beautiful she is.
One more thing: You can put on the cute fake pregnancy belly at the baby shower and you can be exhausted from your wife’s hormonal mood swings, but nix the whole couvade thing because you’re just going to annoy her.
What You Need to Know About Your Wife in Labor.
Do not -repeat- do not complain about anything while your wife is in labor. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t eaten in three days; you aren’t hungry. It doesn’t matter if you have been awake for twenty hours straight; you aren’t tired. Why? Not only is it absurd to stand over a woman who is in the worst pain ever and complain that you have a little headache, but your wife will remember any complaints you make while she is in labor and she will bring them up years down the road. Really.
You should also know that childbirth can be kind of graphic, even beyond what you imagine. Ask my husband what he remembers about the birth of our first child and he will shudder and speak about blood all over the walls in a hushed tone. Try not to cringe, and for goodness sake, don’t even think about telling your laboring wife that anything in that room is gross.
What You Need to Know About Your Post-Partum Wife.
She is going to be tired, emotional, and may be overwhelmed about the prospect of suddenly being responsible for another human being. Please please please, be patient and helpful.
Here are some comments to avoid at all costs:
- “Why didn’t you make dinner yet?”
- “Don’t you think you should think about starting a diet?”
- “I know you aren’t supposed to have sex yet, but I don’t know how much longer I can wait.”
You need to realize that a supportive, patient husband will have a wife who recovers faster from having the baby. An inpatient, self-centered husband will probably find his entire relationship in jeopardy down the road.
This is your chance to prove to your wife that chivalry is not dead.
You Rock, Expectant Dad!
This next chapter of your life is going to be amazing. If you are the kind of guy who will step up and help your pregnant wife, while also being a man who is eager to be an amazing father, then bravo to you!