Putting aside all the old-school stereotypes around pickle cravings and swollen ankles, the pregnancy phase of life still comes with its own unique set of expectations, emotions and unexpected adventures both for you — and your partner who is carrying the unborn babe.
Successfully navigating this uncharted territory can be much easier if you know how recognize the subtle, but critical differences between what your partner says … and what she may really mean.
1. “I’m glad we have a quiet weekend.”
What she may really mean: “I have BIG plans for you to paint the nursery this weekend.”
Birds do it, bees do it apparently even skunks and raccoons do it. That little thing you’ll find taking over your life at the behest of your pregnant partner, is the biological driver to ‘nest’. This widely accepted and inherent tendency will likely result in many requests to drop everything and prep the nursery, clean out the basement, or build bookshelves. It’s an urge you’ll be hard pressed to ignore -especially in the final weeks of your partners pregnancy. Tune up your toolkit, enlist your beloved, and you’ll find it can be time well spent together, pre-babe.
2. “I’m not really that hungry.”
What she may really mean: “I’m hungry. For something we don’t currently have it in the house — and it would be great if you could go get it.”
Eating for two may sound like the best part of pregnancy for someone who isn’t hosting a small human inside them, but along with heartburn, swollen feet, restless nights and shortness of breath, managing the sudden onset of unexpected hunger (and thirst) can feel like a full-time occupation. These sudden cravings and aversions can change rapidly for your pregnant partner, and you may find you’re now asked to be a mind reader AND a part-time Ubereats driver.
3. “Does this house seem small to you lately?”
What she may really mean: “We should call an agent.”
That comfortable feeling you had comparing yourself to couples who are over-leveraged on the housing front (while you maintain your current living arrangement and its affordability!) has just hit a baby-sized pothole. As your downtown condo fills up with infant swings and military-sized strollers, and you watch as a playpen and high chair replace the now-banished bike trainer and telescope, resign yourself to the fact that a move to the suburbs may be in short order.
4. “I have nothing to wear.”
What she may really mean: “I feel huge in everything.”
When you can no longer see your feet and your waist has doubled in size, even the most secure woman will appreciate some sartorial support. When it comes to pregnancy, the usual “you look fine” response to what she’s wearing may need some enhancing. If you’re asked for help, suggest something … anything. Black leggings are always a safe bet. As an added bonus, a well-timed suggestion could save her from another new overly priced stretched-waist maternity ensemble. #Winning.
5. “I’m fine.”
What she may really mean: ‘I’m totally NOT fine.”
Not limited to pregnant women, this universal cue that, in fact, all is not well, may be particularly heightened at a time when your significant other is growing a small human inside them. While we loathe to ever fall into the blame the hormones trap, the pregnant phase is one with a myriad of physical and potentially biological reasons for you to have made a major, albeit inadvertent, misstep. We trust you know your partner well enough to delicately handle any scenario that invited the clearly not-so-fine response.
6. “Let’s just get gifts for the baby this year.”
What she may really mean: “I’m still buying you something and … I will be unhappy if you don’t do the same.”
There should be no doubt that your partner deserves — and possibly expects — a token of your love for whatever holiday is approaching — be it her birthday, Valentine’s Day or Christmas. Regardless of what you agreed to in principal, buy or create a small thoughtful gift. It could pay off in dividends when it comes time to decide whose turn it is to handle the next 3am feeding.
7. “Do you want to research baby names?”
What she may really mean: “Let’s review and choose from the list of names I like.”
Yes, the child will share half your DNA; however, one of the rights of giving birth is that no matter how many generations of men in your family have shared your name, this is a battle you won’t win unless your partner is in agreement. And it should go both ways. The only hope if this conflict arises is compromise … or perhaps a legally binding game of rock/paper/scissors.
8. “Do you want to talk about the birth plan?”
What she may really mean: “Let me tell you about our birth plan.”
In life, there are certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The decision on how and in what manner your partner wants to give birth is likely another that should be listed alongside. Epidural or natural, doula or yogi birth coach, home or hospital, when it comes to “discussing” the birth plan, just listen first. This is not to say you don’t have a voice or a vote, but hearing your partner out and then gauging how welcome your opinion is may save you an awkward and untimely disagreement in the days before you become a dad.
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This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.