Author: Iain Schofield
I can be an annoying person. It’s not intentional. Okay, sometimes it’s intentional. My wife can be quite easy to wind up. Even after all these years, she struggles to recognise when I’m being sarcastic or intentionally obtuse. It’s one of my favourite things about her. It makes for hours of fun.
Never was my natural annoyingness more clear than when my wife was pregnant. Essentially, pregnancy entails 9 months (or thereabouts) of finding out just quite how frustrating you are and how wrong you can be about everything. It was an eye-opening experience.
Again, this was another of those scenarios where I’d read all the advice, listened to all the warnings…but ploughed on regardless like an idiot.
I think I got off lightly for the most part. There were no crazy cravings. No late night trips to the shops searching for gherkins and ice cream. There was just a general increase in sensitivity and a major decline in patience. My hilarious antics, sarcasm, and jokes were all of a sudden falling flat. I’m talking my premium material, nothing. It was a tough time for me, her too I’m guessing. I’m not hugely adaptable. I knew I needed to be nicer, but wasn’t sure what that actually entailed. So it felt a little lonely for a while. Like the person who loved who I am, suddenly needed me to be something slightly different. There were a few fights, some tears and a fair bit of glaring; but generally, we muddled through.
It was a difficult time for our relationship. We were both going through things. Both worrying and both still coming to terms with the transformation our lives were undergoing. But these struggles, whilst occasionally overlapping, were often endured alone. Neither of us wanted to burden the other. But by keeping these emotions to ourselves, we burdened each other in different ways. Foul moods, extended silences and a general angst. As time went on, I became a little withdrawn. Quieter. To paraphrase Disney’s Thumper, “if you can’t say anything right, don’t say nothin’ at all”.
We didn’t escape all the pregnancy clichés. Morning sickness was an ever-present nightmare, lasting well into the 20-week stage. Morning sickness is a bit of a misnomer, in that it was rarely confined to the morning. If she was ‘lucky’, she’d get it all out of the way the second she got out of bed. Otherwise, it turned into daylong nausea with no end product. Morning sickness is a great way to prepare yourself for childbirth and beyond. As time progresses, more and more boundaries will be broken down. Your partner loudly retching and dry heaving (as you try to enjoy a Sunday morning lie-in) is just the start. Points can be earned for having a glass of water ready for when she re-emerges from the bathroom. Points will be deducted for remarking on her sweat-glazed complexion
In spite of the aforementioned heaving, pregnancy had some interesting side effects. Without going into too much detail, I’d never been more attracted to my wife. She looked stunning. Pregnancy suited her big time. She didn’t think so of course…but she’s always hard on herself. As time went by, I found myself struggling to take my eyes off her. I’ve heard people refer to a person ‘glowing’ when pregnant. I think I finally got it, ‘glowing’ is fancy speak for really hot. She was glowing. But be warned, unsolicited approaches can be met with fierce rebuffs. It’s nature’s cruel joke.
As time passed, my wife started to struggle with aches and pains; these became really intense in the final months. Now my wife is really tough, but the pains brought her to tears on several occasions. This flicked a switch. Suddenly, I understood what she needed me to be.
Supporting her through those difficult last few months brought us right back to where we’ve always been. Side by side, we got through it and made it to the end.
Or was it the beginning?
Read more posts in The Fatherhood Series:
- Fatherhood (Part 1)
- “I’m pregnant” | The 3 Stages of Understanding (Fatherhood series part 2)
- Spreading the News (Fatherhood Series - Part 3)
- Preparing to be Unprepared (Fatherhood Series - Part 4)