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What to expect when she’s expecting

Hormones. We’ve all got them, but pregnant women have a veritable cornucopia; FSH, LH, hCG, oestrogen, progesterone, relaxin, placental growth factor, HPL, oxytocin and prolactin to name but a few. This is a potent cocktail of chemicals; but much stronger – and a lot less fun – than your average Long Island Ice Tea. Here’s just some of what you can expect from your tired and hormonal pregnant partner on the long journey to parenthood, and how with a little empathy and acquiescence on your part, you can come through it all unscathed.

Warning: a pleasant dinner out can quickly turn into a scene from Closer

Wild mood swings

Get used to the fact you never quite know where you stand from one day to the next – regardless of your behaviour. You may well receive texts like this, and usually within hours of each other:

“You’re a selfish arsehole, don’t talk to me when you get back.”

“I love you so much, you’ll  be such a great dad and the best husband ever.”

This might be because you bought ice cream for dessert, and she didn’t like ice cream that week. It doesn’t really matter what you have or haven’t done, you’ll taste extremes of sweet and sour most days I’m afraid. The key is to remain stoical and take the rough with the smooth; look at it as a microcosm of life. A little consideration helps too. A few pints down the pub on the way back from work might seem acceptable to you right now, but to a woman who’s been teetotal for months and would love nothing more than a cold glass of Chablis, your behaviour is objectionable at best.

Mild body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

You’ll hear phrases like this a lot, “I feel so unattractive. I’ll never get my old body back. You’re never going to fancy me ever again.”

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say there’s something very attractive about a pregnant woman. She encapsulates nature, power, femininity and strength. Therefore, it’s time to drop some pseudo science when your partner is feeling down about the way she looks. During pregnancy there’s a natural dilation of blood vessels to help maintain proper blood flow to the placenta. This causes increased blood flow to the skin and in particular of the face, giving it a lovely, healthy glow. So there you have it, she does look positively glowing, so tell her that!

Resist the urge to retaliate, no matter how harsh her words might be

A Sharp(er) tongue

Pregnant women are great at touching nerves, they’re able to fire out lazer-guides barbs that are certain to find any chinks in your armour and leave you feeling completely sucker-punched.

“What did I do to end up with someone like you? All of your friends are so much more successful than you’ll ever be.”

Ouch! Despite being largely uncalled for, most of these insults will contain a nugget of truth, which will sting even more. Any existing arguments or simmering resentment will bob up to the surface during this time too, so be prepared to be a punching back for all her frustrations; all of which you probably deserve. And let’s face it, you’ve been called worse!

Paranoia 

This is the time when even the slightest movement of your baby will mean something catastrophic. The easy way to deal with this is to seriously restrict access to websites such as babycentre and NHS Choices. As useful as these sites are for reference purposes, when you’re dealing with a pregnant woman who’s self-diagnosing and always reaching the bleakest conclusions, it’s best to steer clear of the dark web. This is your time remain level-headed and do some dispassionate research on her behalf.

In summary then; your partner’s mind and body are going through so much trying to create your offspring that you simply cannot expect her to remain calm and collected. Plus, she probably massively resents the fact that you’ve done this to her! Put simply, you’re going to be living with a ticking time bomb for AT LEAST nine months, and there’s little recourse. All you can do is strap on the body armour, bite your tongue and let nature take its course. Good luck!

 

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