I have never been a big fan of the thought process that pregnant women are unable do anything; somehow they suddenly become weaklings who can’t keep a house, empty a dishwasher, scrub a toilet, or perform the proverbial tasks of daily life. Of course, I am speaking of healthy, normal pregnancies. This statement is in no way meant to disregard the health guidelines of bed rest mommas and the like.
Though, the reality is some things inevitably change. Hormones and emotions go crazy, feet swell, and moving into certain positions can seem like a failed contortionist’s attempt. Most importantly, let’s not forget: the need to pee is real!
Upon reflecting on the ways in which my husband helps me the most during this glorious but not so glorious time, I decided to make a list of the most helpful, most appreciated ways my betrothed helps to make my pregnancies much easier, both physically and emotionally. Jot down some cliff notes men, because my husband is on point! (It’s my blog. I can brag on him if I want to!)
While some of these things may seem silly at first, they really can go a long way in easing the emotional roller coaster your dear wife is riding. (Strap in fellas! It’s a bumpy one but completely worth it.)
Tell her she is beautiful even when she feels like a whale
Just to be clear: don’t make a statement like, “Whales are beautiful and magnificent creatures!” Even in good fun…it’s not likely to go over well, just sayin. This feeling can happen very early on in pregnancy. Though you may think she is insane, your wife is likely experiencing swelling within the first few weeks of knowing she is pregnant. Next comes the stage where you don’t look pregnant, but you can’t button your pants, like the Keebler elves jumped out of that cookie package in the pantry and took them in two sizes overnight. Add to this your off the wall hormones and possible desire to puke around the clock, and you’ve got a nice combination for a Mt. Vesuvius style meltdown. A kind word from your husband can tip the scales towards sanity and in lifting your spirits.
Let mom have a nap
I find this particularly important during the first trimester. That precious life sucking leech (blessing) growing inside her drains the body of a ton of energy. Sometimes, the act of falling asleep is completely out of mom’s control. As a stay at home mom to a toddler who doesn’t nap, this became problematic for me (thank the Good Lord she sleeps through the night). At times, I would feel so guilty about being tired when my husband came home from a full day of work, the house was a mess, and I felt I had accomplished nothing. In those moments, the three little magical words every mom loves to hear, “Honey, why don’t you go lie down for a while. I will watch the kid.” are the greatest words in the world. Ok, so that’s like ten words or something, but you catch my drift. I didn’t always take him up on it, but the fact that he was understanding about it lightened my burden immensely. I would still apologize, and he assured me it is ok and that making a baby was hard work. Those words are sure to melt an exhausted momma’s heart. Don’t worry dads, energy levels typically return to normal during the second trimester (there is hope!). Many moms actually find an abundance of energy during this time.
Help during the emotional dinner meltdown
This one really has two points, at least for me.
We are the family that meticulously plans out our meals. We have our budget set for each 2-week period and a list of meals to choose from during that time. However, as I’ve found during two pregnancies now, sometimes the plan goes utterly out the window. Because of this, we actually began to budget extra money during the first trimester for dinners (food runs for cravings not included). Some nights there is quite literally only one thing you can think of that doesn’t make you want to vomit a little bit at the mere thought. It may be something specific from a local restaurant or just something totally not on your meal plan for the week. For me this pregnancy, it is cold and crunchy. Anything cold and crunchy and I’m a happy girl. When everything around you makes you want to hug a toilet, it is really hard to resist that one thing that you don’t think will make you sick. Sometimes, the smell of certain foods cooking in your kitchen just isn’t an option. Husband to the rescue! Having my husband be willing to pick up something without mentioning the budget helps to alleviate the guilt I already feel for being illogical and ridiculous. Although, no logic is relevant when it comes to the desire to vomit all day, every day, for three months.
The second point to be made during dinner meltdown happened to us probably 4-5 months into this current pregnancy. Ryan was in the garage working on his “mummels” as Miss Ryan calls them (muscles), and I was making dinner. My little Ryan was proving her toddler-hood during that time complete with walking all over my counters and eating every vegetable I tried to chop, and I had a total emotional break down. I walked into the garage, and the second my husband looked my way, I lost it, totally lost it. I had no logical reasoning for this (remember that whole emotional roller coaster bit?). My dear husband came over, hugged me, and let me cry about nothing. He then stopped his workout, took our daughter, and went to pick up dinner. Again, he made no regard or mention to the budget, as that would’ve truly sent me over the edge. This was the single greatest thing he could’ve done for me at the time, and after some tears I felt human again.
A little kitchen assistance
Once I was into my second trimester and feeling much better, I still had some lingering aversions to various smells for a few more weeks. Something about dicing an onion or slicing an avocado just wasn’t working for me. So for weeks, whenever I needed one of those simple tasks done, my dear husband would willingly step in and do it for me. This kept my nausea at bay, so I could actually enjoy my dinner…always a good thing.
Let the girl pee!
Let’s face it. My bladder is being crushed like a whoopie cushion, and it seems to be this boy’s favorite squeeze toy. This pretty much turns me into a kinked water hose ready to go off at any time. When you come home from the grocery store, you have a kid to get out of the car, groceries to unload, and dogs to let outside. Regardless, I have business to take care of first unless you want to be mopping the floor. Husbands, let your wife pee first. I have always been a little more sensitive to this anyway, as I always remember needing to use the restroom when we got home from running errands while growing up. I would get into trouble, because it was assumed I was trying to get out of unloading the car, by hiding in the bathroom. In my parent’s defense, I’m sure that was true enough many times. Now, I still feel like Ryan will think I’m trying to get out of something by running to the bathroom. Silly, I know.
The main point it, when the girl needs to pee, let her pee. On a road trip? Let the girl pee! Has she peed five times already? Let the girl pee again! Is it physically impossible for her to need to pee another time? I bet she can surprise you. Let the girl pee! See a theme here?
Rub her feet
The average pregnant woman will gain around 30 pounds during the course of her pregnancy. Go pick up a 30 pound bag of dog food and think about carrying that around for a few months. That is a lot of extra weight in such a short amount of time. Sometimes those knees and ankles just need some time to adjust. This, among other things, can result in sore and possibly swollen feet. Seriously, 30 seconds of squeezing my feet can seem heavenly. Add a little extra love with 10-15 minutes of rubbing with lotion, and you will flat out rock your wife’s world! Guys, women keep track of those brownie points…if you catch my drift. (In full disclosure, my husband added that last line while editing. But he is right. It is totally true!)
Pick up the things she drops
Again, I know. It’s ridiculous. Of course I am capabale of picking up what I dropped on the floor. But he knows it is easier for him to do it than it is for me with a giant belly, especially if I am holding our toddler. Cue the contortionist act again. Do the extra squats do this pregnant momma some good? Of course they do. Regardless, I get plenty of squat time picking up the messes of said toddler while daddy is at work. For real, she’s like a tornado that never stops wrecking the house all while singing loudly “Let It Go”.
Allow a giant pillow in the bed
Not all women find this necessary. It depends on how mom is carrying the baby, your mattress, etc., but I think most women find themselves needing some sort of support under their bellies while lying down in bed. Don’t panic, the pillow won’t be taking over your bed forever. Unless you have a king bed, you may find yourself teetering on the edge for a while, but it will work wonders for helping your beautiful wife sleep!
Paint her toes
Hah, funny! Seriously though, paint her toes. There will come a point in pregnancy where her torso no longer bends, making painting her toes a feat that could be found in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Of course, if you don’t mind her passing out from the desire to breathe while attempting this feat, then by all means, let her paint her own toes. At this point, I might as well dip my toe in the polish jar,… if I could see it. That’s about how good it would look when I’m done. If you can afford it, spring for a pedicure! Score, more brownie points for the husband!
Attend birth class, listen, and learn
With this, you may need to play the “if you want a happy wife” card. Many men don’t realize they can be a major factor in their wives successfully achieving the birth they desire. You become her advocate while she is in labor. While it can be easy to assume that training is not necessary, most birth educators will tell you a husband’s role is the most important role next to the laboring mom. We chose to attend Bradley Method birth classes. What we learned there was absolutely imperative to our success in achieving a drug-free water birth. Stay tuned in the future for a post all about The Bradley Method of Husband Coached Childbirth.
As I said, some of these seem like simple tasks that can’t possibly make much of a difference. Well, I am here to tell you they truly can! Ask your wife what she needs from you. I’m sure she will give you an idea or two, or more. Do it with joy. (Again, that last line was added by my husband. I told you he’s a good one!)
Women are not broken while pregnant. They are not sick, useless, or disabled. Nevertheless, a helping, supportive husband can certainly make the craziness a bit easier to bare.
Stay tuned over the coming months for “Things Husbands Can Do For Their Laboring Wives” and “Thing Husbands Can Do For Their Postpartum Wives”.
Moms: What are the ways your husband helps you the most? Husbands: What do your wives ask of you most often?