I used to cringe when I heard the words “We’re pregnant.”
We’re expecting. Fine, no problem.
My wife is due in June. Great.
But We’re pregnant? This phrase, especially when uttered by a man, was like nails on a chalkboard to me. It reminded me of Elvin, from the Cosby Show. Remember him? He was Sondra’s husband. I think he was like, a women’s studies PhD candidate or something.
But now, halfway into my second pregnancy, I don’t loathe the phrase with the same level of vitriol that I once did. Of course this could be because I am too tired to put that much energy into hating something, but there are things I get now that I never got before.
The first time I was pregnant, I curled my upper lip in disgust and turned to Dan after a social function where some fool announced he and his wife were pregnant. Fully expecting him to agree with me, I asked him, “What does that mean. We’re pregnant!? That’s, like, total bullshit! You think that guy is going to gain, like 30 pounds this year? You think he’s got hemorrhoids? Does he have to push a baby out his vagina? Is he noticing new stretch marks on the daily? Is he unable to hold his bladder for more than 30 minutes? What a douche.”
I waited for him to agree with me. There was only silence. Obviously, I had forgotten that my husband was (and still is) one of the kindest, least judgmental people I know. So he didn’t think this guy was a first class asshat for saying “We’re pregnant.” Or was it even worse than that?
“Wait a minute. You don’t think you’re pregnant… Do you?”
He remained silent.
“Seriously, don’t even tell me you think we’re pregnant because we are SO not. I AM. Do you understand me? Do you?” This was not one of my kinder moments. In my defense, it is a scientific fact that pregnancy hormones are basically whatever fuels PMS, on steroids.
Dan took a deep breath and answered me, in his naturally calm, patient way. Sometimes he must conduct himself in the way I would imagine one would when attempting to detonate a bomb, very delicately and carefully. Because, pregnancy.
In his measured way, he explained that all those times I need him to bring me a drink of water, every time I steal his pillow to position under my legs in bed, every time he has to pop out of bed to bring me my prenatal vitamin which I realize I’ve forgotten to take as we are drifting off to sleep, the sleepless nights he endured with me when we had that scary ultrasound- all of those things happened to him.
This time around, there have been many nights when Dan came home from a full day of work, made dinner, did the dishes, and did 99% of Sweet Pea’s bedtime routine, including toothbrushing wrangling (which really should be an official athletic event) because I was too much of a zombie to function. This time, he knows what childbirth is like and perhaps he is dreading it. Last time I made him watch a bunch of home birth videos on You Tube to get ready but I can’t imagine there is any amount of You Tube binging that can prepare a man to stand back and watch the woman he loves endure the worst possible pain for hours and hours, from a distance. Or jump in and rub her shoulders, hold her puke bucket, or whatever else she may demand. That said, he did take a few naps during my labor. He also had Indian take-out, while I was puking up some orange Recharge, a few grapes, and bile. Just saying.
So pregnancy is hard on the one carrying the baby and the partner, if the baby-carrying half of the couple is fortunate enough to have a supportive partner. Even if you’re the one who peed on the stick, you are not the one who has to put up with you and your insane pregnancy hormones. I get it. The couple is pregnant.
I’m still not going to proclaim We’re pregnant! But I promise I won’t roll my eyes at you behind your back if you do.