Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Top Ten List of Universal Maxims for Partners of Pregnant People

I'm testing out MS Word as my blog editor. We'll see how this goes.

EDIT: It went badly. Ok, Microsoft, you fail here. Any recommendations, oh great blogosphere?

I don't honestly know how universal the rules I'm going to present are, but I am certain that number one is about as close as one can get to a universal maxim and number eight is a close second. So, for better or for worse, the following is my top ten list of things to keep in mind if your partner is pregnant:

10. Understand that it hurts.

9. Understand that it is, unfortunately, entirely natural for it to hurt (within reason, of course) and very little can be done about it.

8. Understand that you don't understand. (Socrates was right: the beginning of wisdom is the admission of one's ignorance. In this case, the admission isn't so much the beginning of wisdom as it is an acceptance of reality that helps keep the peace. Go with it.)

7. Realize that much of what you do will be wrong but know that inaction would be far, far worse. Also know that your actions are appreciated even if they're wrong. If this confuses you, see #8.

6. Baths help once she's past week 20 or so. Encourage her to take them and talk to her during them.

5. It can be 50 degrees in the room and she'll still be hot. It can be 80 degrees in the room and she'll still be cold. Deal with it. You can take off or put on clothes; she can't take off or put on her belly nor can she turn her hormone faucet on or off.

4. Understand that you need to refer back to #8. Often.

3. You might think you have a pretty good idea of what your partner likes to eat, but that will change substantially. I couldn't use garlic or onions for a month or so. I had no idea how hard it is to cook without aromatic vegetables! First it was her sense of smell that went completely crazy. A couple days before we even knew that she was pregnant, she put on her usual amount of perfume (a very tiny amount) and kept apologizing to people all day for "dousing herself" in it. Next it was her sense of taste, which is still a bit off. She would eat only cheddar cheese, fruit (especially green apples) and Campbell's chicken soup if I didn't force a little diversity in her diet!

2. Know that you'll feel more love and affection for your partner than you ever thought possible. This, in part, explains why you're completely fine with running off to the store at odd hours for unusual requests, and with making dinners that make no sense to non-pregnant people, and with nodding your head like a good little partner when she's on some tirade that makes no sense to you, and with all the other fascinating (albeit sometimes frustrating) things that come with trying to be a good partner to a pregnant woman. Before you moan and groan too loudly about your responsibilities here, remember who has to actually experience the hormonal fluctuations, the sudden changes in body, the discomfort, etc. Let's call this the "You Ain't Pregnant" Maxim. Again, refer back to #8.

And finally, the number one universal maxim for partners of pregnant people:

1. No matter how sweetly she looks at you, no matter how rational you think your partner is, and no matter if she agrees that it's a good idea only on a temporary basis, never, ever let her talk you in to allowing a foster puppy in your home when your partner is pregnant, no matter how far along she is, and especially if the puppy was born right around the time you conceived your baby(ies).

In her defense, he really was adorable:

If you happen to be successful in placing said foster puppy in a home, it will be as though you just got rid of a baby, not a dog. She might not forgive you for a few days, and she might go so far as to insist you go get the dog back from the nice couple who adopted him. She will get over it eventually and she may even come to see the wisdom of the decision, but those few days will break your heart. Trust me on this one.

(By the way, the giant black dog in the second photo is Thomas, our 4 year old black lab/shepherd mix we've had since he was 3 months old. He's totally a 'momma's boy' and was firmly in the "get that puppy out of here, I'm dog enough for you!" camp)

So partners and those who were once pregnant or who are presently, do you have any that ought to be added to this list?


Stacey said...

I have to agree with every single point on your list! My sense of smell became so acute it was a PITA. Fortunately I never suffered from food cravings. I totally second the baths although our tub was tiny and I cried one night to my husband because my belly couldn't even be covered by the water. So watch out for that too! The best is when you will have to help your wife get up from sitting or even lying down once she hits the third trimester.

Ironically I tried to convince my husband to get another dog while pregnant. He stood firm and it was a good call. So be prepared to be hated for a while :-)

Em said...

All I can say is that I love your humor, reality checks and YOU!!!!!