Hello ladies. So I recently read this article on the babble.com about 7 surprising dad-to-be facts and what to expect from him when you’re expecting.
Good GODS does the internet love this sh*t. I’ve read a LOT of articles like this and they seem to be plastered all around parenting sites. I don’t know if it’s the list that grabs the reader’s attention, or because it’s a trivial subject – that a man could experience the symptoms of pregnancy. This particular article from Babble has some good info, but it is too generalized in my opinion. Here’s why.
I’m going to assume that this article, and other articles like this one, are attempting to shed some light on what your baby’s daddy is going through during your first pregnancy (all articles assume you are married and have your pregnancy planned).
I’ll shed some light on this Babble article in particular and take it one by one like the author, Romi Lassally, did:
1. He’s cranky.
There are many variables to this sentiment. It could be that it is ‘provider’ related where he’s worried about the financial stress of taking on additional expenses. It could be a ‘lifestyle’ issue where he sees an imminent, unwanted change in the near future. He could be ‘mirroring’ your hormonal changes by not knowing how to react to your needs or moods. But it could very well be that you’re unable to do everything you used to do at full capacity: cooking, jogging, working out, cleaning cat litter, painting, etc. A lot of non-perfect couples have babies, which means there are plenty of unreasonable, shoddy men that can’t and don’t want to understand what you are going through. And believe it or not, Cranky McCrankerson is secretly envious he does not have nature’s gift to birth out a child – he’s damn glad he is unable to at the same time.
Basically, if he’s a decent dude, cut him some slack. He’s just out of his element.
2. He’s on his own hormonal roller-coaster.
So, science. Yep, men have hormones. Everyone does. Men just have different amounts than women do. Testosterone is what makes a man ‘work’, while estrogen is what makes a woman ‘tick’. It’s why men dig really big breasts and women are attracted to a fit dude; the primal search for a woman that will be able to provide milk for baby and the woman’s longing for a strong man to protect the family. Of course it doesn’t work like that 100% of the time, which is why we all have such lovely personalities to fall back on (yay!). I don’t agree with the hormonal “re-jiggering” like the article suggests. My theory is this: if the man is emotionally balanced and decent, he will naturally adapt to the woman and be more sensitive in caring for her needs (‘naturally’ being the key word) he will also have his bouts of frustration too. This could seem like a loss of testosterone if your man is emotionally in touch with you; in which case, congratulations, you’re in the 10th percentile and still reading this article.
3. His and hers maternity jeans.
I’ll try and keep this simple. You’re tired, feeling blah and lazy. He’s tired from his new role of catering to your needs and lifting the heavy stuff. You probably have him doing the laundry now. The bed looks awesome, the kitchen is a disaster. Take-out food is easy and fast – and while it’s less healthy, you’ll more than often say ‘f*ck it’. The thing is, no one is polling on how the dude’s eating habits have changed. It’s just “oh I has couvade syndrome”? If he has nausea and vomiting, it’s more often the result to the new ‘diet’. Don’t be fooled by giving the “letting go” behavior an excuse and a name. You just suck at balancing life right now, it’s natural and will get easier over time if you work at integration.
4. He’s nesting too – or at least building one.
Getting back to men having to do the heavy lifting and more of the intense work around the house… get used to seeing “Some Assembly Required”. If your dude is emotionally invested, he’ll want to help out since he feels pretty useless as it is while you do all the baby baking. If you want the room painted, he’ll have to do it since you can’t be around toxic fumes. Got cats? He’ll have to deal with the litter. During my wife’s pregnancy I totally wanted to help out by putting together the furniture, swing, stroller, car seats, paint, etc. so she wouldn’t stress about it or strain herself or the baby. I had nothing else going on and I would feel like a lump of sh*t just sitting there while she was growing a human we were both counting on to be here eventually.
5. He’s actually listening.
This is complete bullsh*t. His hearing centers don’t magically change, he’s not foreshadowing baby cries, nothing can prepare you for those first few days except your true emotional bond throughout the pregnancy and birth.
6. He’s falling in love.
Here’s another stereotype where guys are lazy sh*ts that only watch football. Dr. Brizendine says, “Yes, the same brain that can be absorbed in Sunday football can become completely absorbed with baby.”
First of all, f*ck off, Dr. Brizendine. I like baseball. Second, the dude isn’t falling in romantic love all over again. For the good of all things right in the world, let’s just hope he loves the baby and that he doesn’t love the baby.
7. Daddy/Baby synchronicity.
I somewhat agree with what was said here. There is a ‘switch’ that gets flipped when a dad is able to bond with his child. I also agree that moms need to give dad a chance and some alone time with the baby, if not for the bonding time but to also give the new mom some rest. Let the dad hang with the baby as much as possible while he has time off from work. Remind and encourage him to have some time with the new baby, because paternity leave sucks for U.S. dudes and he’ll most likely just take whatever vacation time he has available.