Earlier this week, my husband — trying to be helpful — cleaned out the fridge. Sweet, right? Yes, and no. You see, he threw away the leftover salsa (that had only been in there for four days…not two weeks, as he thought) and that I was planning to eat for lunch. I was extremely unhappy and threatened not to eat any lunch if I couldn’t have what I wanted. Of course, this baffled him. “Can’t you just go buy more?” Luckily it was in a sealed in container and had only just been thrown away, so I got it out, washed it off, poured it in another bowl, and went about my lunch.
But this little situation led me to think about all the things that husbands really shouldn’t say to their pregnant wives….
1. “Just eat it. Why are you so picky about food?”
Umm, sorry, if she has morning sickness — or is like any pregnant woman really — she has particular things she wants to eat, and particular things she can’t stand. There’s a good chance that if you bully her into eating something she really does not want she will throw up on your shoes. So don’t. Just don’t. Oh, and don’t try to tease her with food she finds disgusting (which you can eat, but not in her presence) because you will end up with the same result.
2. “Eh, you don’t really look pregnant yet. You just look like you let yourself go a little.”
Do I even need to explain why you shouldn’t say that?
3. “Umm, your butt is getting bigger…is there a baby in there too?”
Again, this one should be self explanatory!
4. “Come on, all this (morning sickness, fatigue, etc.) is just in your head. The baby is tiny, it can’t really do all this to you.”
Oh, yes, it can. Her hormones are raging, and there is nothing she can do about it. She feels out of control of her body. And yes, exhausted and sick. Do not suggest it is “all in her head” if you want to live.
5. “Why do we need to go to a birthing class? Doesn’t it just come naturally? Or, aren’t you going to get the drugs anyway?”
Belittling the need to prepare for labor — however she wants to end up, naturally or with drugs — is not smart. It is huge to her, and especially if it’s her first, she needs to read books, take a class, or do whatever to learn what she can. And she needs you to support her, not tell her it’s unnecessary.
6. “Oh, I feel sick and tired too…I know how you feel!”
There’s the clueless husband and then there’s the overinvolved husband. There’s actually a syndrome called “couvade,” where men experience sympathetic pregnancy symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, and even weight gain. But, sorry, dude! You’re not pregnant, and you don’t know what it’s like. Right now she doesn’t need you to whine or try to feel the same (she has her girlfriends for that), she needs you to step up and help her.
7. “What do you mean you can’t take out the trash/do the nasty dishes/clean the cat box/lift the heavy laundry? You’re pregnant, not disabled.”
Oh, boy. Pregnancy does bring on some different circumstances. Pregnant women shouldn’t clean out the cat box (risk of toxoplasmosis) or carry heavy things. They also may struggle with dishes or trash because the smell makes them sick. They can’t help these things. They are not disabled, but nor are they totally “themselves,” either. Just help out a little more and keep your mouth shut! (Good preparation for when the baby comes and you kind of have to do more!)
8. “Do these pillows have to be in our bed?”
If you want her to sleep, and be anything close to human in the morning then yes, yes they do. They are the only way to support her pregnant and unwieldy body and still get comfortable enough to sleep. Some women even resort to sleeping in a recliner in the final months of pregnancy. (Don’t complain about that, either, because it is only temporary, and if she’s doing it, it’s because she can’t sleep any other way.)
9. “We are not naming our son after your father, end of story.”
Ooh…if she has her heart set on it, you’re in big trouble. If you really don’t like the idea, suggest other names and talk with her calmly. But don’t issue her ultimatums (of any kind) about baby names. She feels that she really “knows” this baby and has a pretty strong investment in choosing a name!
10. While in labor, “come on, it doesn’t hurt that bad, does it?”
You will probably get smacked if you say this. Yes, it does hurt, it is very intense, and you will never experience anything like it. Though if you want to try, she could kick you in the nuts pretty hard about every 5 minutes for several hours. No? Then don’t say it. Try out “You’re amazing, honey, I love you!”