Sympathy for Expecting Fathers

“Which one do you think is harder, huh? Being Charles Manson, or living with him? Who faces more torment day-to-day?”

That’s what I asked my wife when she was 8 months pregnant and we were both at our wits’ end. Don’t ever say that to a pregnant woman, by the way, men.

The United Nations estimates that there are at least 90 million pregnant women in the world at any given time, and I would guess that most of them have a man, so take some solace in the fact that you are not alone. Next time you want to say something like I said or worse, just close your eyes and think about the tens of millions of brothers around the world going through the same thing. Also, have some sympathy for the poor pregnant woman before you, and remember this:

Women tend to lose part or all or their ever-loving minds during pregnancy.

Now, let’s be fair. Just finding out that you’re pregnant is traumatizing. It hardly ever happens at a “good” time. If that’s not difficult enough for women, they have to carry the load, watch what they eat and drink, watch their bodies change, go to doctor visits, listen to all types of advice and prognostication from older women, then actually deliver the baby. I’ve seen a couple of babies born, and even though my physiology is different, I can imagine it’s an inherently painful process. The pain is made worse by the fact that your baby’s mama has been fearing it since she was about 14. So women have a very difficult way to go as humanity’s child bearers.

It seems like they have it worse than us men, but I’m not so sure. Having an organism grow–from 2 cells to 4 to 8 to 16…to several billion–is bound to cause some hormonal changes with physical and emotional ramifications. This is God’s way of balancing the scales: as a woman, she has to endure the b.s. of pregnancy, so you as a man have to endure her b.s. during pregnancy. Stop me if I’m lying. Women suffer, so it’s only right that we suffer, too. Expecting fathers, during your pregnancy, you will:

-be snapped at;

-go to the hospital for at least one false alarm that deep down you knew  was a false alarm all along;

-give countless backrubs;

-receive exactly one backrub. It will last 4 seconds and come right before she falls asleep;

-miss at least one sporting event, poker night, or other guy-centric activity in the name of shopping for your unborn child;

-be there for the crying. I’m talking about the type of contorted-face, fear-of-the-unknown weeping that even her parents won’t want to tolerate. In a perfect world, they won’t have to, because you’re there. Besides, do you really want to make her father go through this again?

Pregnancy is hard for women, but it’s hard for men, too. We always have the option of moving to another state, but that will make things even more difficult for you, her, and the baby when it’s all said an done.

If she can knuckle up and face the difficulties, so can you. Find a good, active father around your age to laugh conspiratorially with. Might as well enjoy the ride.

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