Welcome dear readers! Yet another gem in our fantastic series “Caring for your…”. No doubt this latest blockbuster will join the hallowed ranks of our popular favourites “Caring for your Aquatic Pets” and “Caring for your Illiterate Grandmother”, not to mention our latest bestseller, “Caring for your Azaleas”. Read on and find out more!
Caring for your Pregnant Partner
- Hugs and tea. Hugs and tea. Hugs and tea.
- Tea. No doubt you will make it wrong; you probably used the wrong tea and made it too strong/weak, not enough/too much milk/sugar and definitely in the wrong mug but make it all the same. Ignore the cold half-empty cups littering your house and keep it coming. Tea is the elixir of life. And it shows you care, so make her a cuppa now. (Additional kudos if you find and buy her the decaff version of her favourite).
- Sympathy (goes well with hugs and tea). Yes it IS hilarious that she can’t eat anything without spilling it down her front, that she loses possessions on a daily basis and can’t remember anything from one hour to the next but you know what? After 8 months of ribbing from you, your friends, her colleagues and your families enough can sometimes be enough. It’s bloody distressing at times and you would do well to show her you realise this. MAJOR kudos points for showing that you understand and, if you bring her a cup of tea at the same time, you can have a gold star forever.
- Take her fears VERY seriously. They may range from the quite normal “where does my pelvic floor go and how do I get it back?” to the less rational, like my friend Emma, who was convinced that birds would fly down and peck her baby’s eyes out, or the more tragic James Bulger nightmare scenarios to the downright bizarre; “that’s not a baby in my womb but a flesh-eating alien”. It is NOT your job to mock, scoff, attempt to rationalise, explain, advise, apply logic or otherwise dismiss, denigrate and deny her feelings. No, you just have to be there and UNDERSTAND. There is a small but rational part of her brain still functioning and it is well aware these kinds of fears don’t make a whole lot of sense, so you DON’T need to tell her that. Just listen, let her be tearful and fearful and apply PLENTY of hugs and tea.
- Talk to her. And NOT about the insurance, your financial situation and how terrible things are at work. Just, stuff. Everyday things like weather and holiday plans and even the baby if you must. Take an interest in the tedious things like breast pumps and pads and ointments for every orifice (hers and baby’s) that you need to buy. If you’re feeling brave (see 7 below) ask her about her fears (see 4 above). Best of all, LISTEN. Switch off the TV, the laptop, the iPad-phone-pod, go and make her a cup of tea and give her a really good listening to. Hugs recommended at this point. Which brings me nicely to…
- Hugs. She may be prickly as a cactus and about as welcoming as a doctor’s receptionist but man up man! Take her in your arms like you mean it. Like a toddler with a tantrum or a distressed puppy, shower her with love and love and more love. And tea of course. Well, in a cup. The right one this time.
- Take it on the chin. Don’t mumble, grumble or sulk, whine, whinge or complain how terrible your life is during/because of this pregnancy. Worst of all, DON’T ignore her or her feelings. You were man enough to put it in there in the first place weren’t you? So do the right thing and deal with the consequences.
- If you are struggling with the above, call your mates and go on the golf course/Wii/lash and get it out of your system. Only not every day, not even every week. Maybe once a month, or once a fortnight tops. And make sure you give her every chance to do the same with her mates too.
- Call her. Or email or text. Every day, at least once. And not because you need her to pick up your dry cleaning on the way home. Because you were thinking about her and your baby. It means a lot.
- Did I mention hugs and tea?
- Gifts. Flowers, cake, magazines, a funny card, some pampering products, a mummy massage, a day at a Spa, a blinging bit of jewellery, a photo in a frame, chocolate, nailvarnish/lipstick, hairbands, dinner, new washbag for hospital, a CD you make with your choice of birthing music, a salon haircut, a mummy meditation download, a book NOT about pregnancy, babies or parenting, a notebook or journal, headphones, a drawing from child number 1 or 2 or whatever and such and so on. But absolutely NO teddies. And it has to be for mummy, not baby.
- Hugs and tea.
- Go to bed at the same time as her and more than once a week/month/blue moon. Yes it is boring to go to bed at 8.30pm, for her too! Look, if you box clever, you only have to lie down next to her for 10 minutes until she falls asleep and then you can watch 5 hours of back to back CSI or whatever it is that is so urgent downstairs. Everyone’s a winner!
For obvious reasons I haven’t added things like do the washing up, make sure she has a lie in/early night/afternoon nap, cook a meal now and then, do some cleaning, take care of the kid(s) and don’t bother her with car maintenance issues or admin stuff. Because you are already doing all this aren’t you? If not, then a) man up and b) this manual may not be enough for you….