I never really thought I’d write a post like this — mostly because of my post-modernist feminist tendencies. But one thing I’ve noticed while being pregnant is the dirth of information aimed at expectant partners. I mean, no one else really ever asks Doug how he’s feeling, it’s always all about me. (Which, I admit truthfully is fun and — especially when I’m feeling funky, warranted — but still, it would be nice if others took a greater interest in this whole thing from his perspective too.)
See, all the books I’ve read and most of my friends have said that the partner’s job is to completely support his/her pregnant partner.
But here’s the rub, if you’re in a relationship, it takes two to go through this together in a healthy way.
We both talk about this a bit. When we found out we were expecting, I made it a point to look for books that would be interesting for Doug to read, but from a male perspective. I mean, face it, it’s totally weird seeing your wife/partner go up and down the hormonal scale, go off her food (making romantic dinners out passe since she’s too sick to even think about eating anything) and see such massive physical changes happen over the course of just a few months. (Not to even mention the sporadic and often waning desires for intimacy…) As women most of us talk these things over with girlfriends, moms, people in our prenatal classes.
But who do the guys turn to?
Yes, now there are a few books out there that address these issues. But, it’s often from a really stereotypically male point of view, peppered with cartoons about missing the latest game and such. Luckily there are blogs that touch on these issues (like New Father Blog), but you have to hunt for them. Male/female differences aside, I still think that it’s important these days to recognize and really acknowledge our partners — particularly since women recently have put men into the primary position of being our main support person not just during pregnancy but during the birthing process as well.
We expect a lot from our guys these days and, at least from the perspective of childbirth in western countries, there’s little or no schema for men to hold onto. Historically they’ve not been a part of this whole process, and now we expect so much for them without giving them the same kind of positive support we give women. Just think about it, how many books on pregnancy and childbirth are aimed at women? How many classes are offered that are just for guys?
Parenting is hard, there’s no doubt about it. But, in our nuclear families, it’s really important for expecting moms to take a few moments and realize that their partners may be going through a lot too — they just might not be articulating it in the same way. Sure, there are many days when I feel that Doug should tend to me, but I’m always conscious of the fact that there are times when he really needs some TLC too. My changes are so much more apparent than his are, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t going through things that are just as intense.
So, for you expecting moms out there, I hope this post starts a greater dialogue with you and your partner about how you both can support each other. Your partner may be giving more during this time, but in truth, it’s about both of you. For expectant dads, I hope that this generates more blogs and discussion about how you all can network and help one another in a way that works best for you.