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couvade.jpgI had never heard the term couvade until I was pregnant. I stumbled upon the word in a pregnancy book, and it’s a term used to describe the so-called “sympathetic pregnancy” or “phantom pregnancy” that men sometimes go through when their wives are pregnant. Apparently some guys are so sensitive that they actually share some of the more annoying and bothersome ailments that women endure while pregnant: weight gain, irritability, food cravings, back aches, and all the other things that are par for the course when you’re waddling around with a baby growing inside you.

Okay, the idea of couvade seems funny at first, and maybe a little endearing. My husband went along with my bizarre cravings and napped with me when I was tired, but my guess was that he did those things to show some camaraderie as opposed to having a pseudo-pregnancy right alongside me. The one or two times when suggested that he might be in sympathy pain with me, I don’t know if he was kidding or if he never mentioned it again because of the cold glare I undoubtedly gave him. Either way, there was only room in the house for one pregnant person, thank you very much, so it may as well have been the person with the uterus.

Guys, don’t pretend to know what your wife is going through. You can certainly do your best to make her as comfortable as possible, and you can shower her with love and attention all you want, but don’t dare make the claim that you can “feel” her pain. Unless you’ve had an unborn baby kick you in your bladder, or you’ve thrown up so many times from morning sickness that you’re pretty sure your head is going to explode, or gained an amazing amount of weight so quickly that your belly resembles a road map, you don’t get it. Instead of having a sympathy pregnancy, try making her’s as easy as possible.

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