So, Your Wife is Pregnant, Now What?
When I found out Becky was pregnant I remember thinking that I should do something, but I wasn’t sure what that something was. Realizing that every dad-to-be feels this way and a little guidance can’t hurt, here are the answers to the question, “I just found out my wife/girlfriend/spouse is pregnant, now what?”
Start doing push-ups. I was under the impression that the ability to open pickle jars and carry 14 suitcases at once miraculously appears once you have a baby. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that Dad Strength doesn’t work this way. Get a jump on things by getting in the habit of doing push-ups regularly. By the time your kid is old enough to be thrown super high into the air at the swimming pool, you’ll be ready.
Stop going to the movies. No matter how much you take your baby out into public, you’re still going to be homebound a lot more than you’re used to. If you stop seeing new movies now, you’ll have a bunch of cool stuff to watch via Netflix in nine months.
Get that construction project out of the way. I thought I’d have plenty of time to remodel my kitchen once Rosalie arrived. This is true, but I didn’t consider that I wouldn’t be able to have my baby around a construction zone while I actually did the remodeling. The dust, the noise and the inconvenience make it a really bad idea to do any remodeling while you’re baby is trying to get on a regular eating and sleeping schedule.
Don’t get bogged down with stuff. It’s amazing how little stuff you actually need when you bring your baby home. A crib, a rocker, a changing table, a Boppy, diapers, a Diaper Genie and a few sets of clothes. That’s it, that’s the list. Anything else can be purchased, assembled or bartered from gypsies as you go.
Adopt a serenity mantra. With your spouse’s hormones running hotter than the Hindenburg, you’re going to need to take the high (read: silent) road to keep the peace. Whenever she gets a little miffed, fighting back will only fuel the fire, so just nod your head in agreement and go to your happy place. Also, never refer to your pregnant spouse as the Hindenburg or other blimp-like object.
Have five different take-out restaurants on speed-dial. With all the physical and emotional changes she’s dealing with, your spouse is going to be indecisive about what she wants for dinner. You could be elbow deep in churning butter for homemade mac and cheese when she realizes that the only thing she can fathom eating is tacos. When this happens, calmly put your butter churner away and hit “El Taco Riendo” on your speed-dial. Wait, why do you have a butter churner?
Take pictures of yourselves. Pregnancy pictures are simultaneously amazing and horrifying to look back on. Make sure you take a bunch of pictures along the way, and make sure you’re in the photos as well (I have a bunch of pictures of my girlfriend pregnant, but hardly any with the both of us). Bonus points if you’re gaining sympathy weight and you take pictures with your belly showing.
Write your kid a letter. Sit down and write a letter to your baby. Tell him everything from what you did when you found out his mom was pregnant to how scared you are that you won’t be able to be the father that he deserves. Not only will it help you wrap your head around where your life is going, but it will make an awesome gift when you frame it and give it to him on his 18th birthday.
Give your wife a hug every day. Tell her “thank you” while you’re at it. Make sure she knows you appreciate her. It’s the least you can do for someone who is going through so much to give you the one thing you’ll care about more than anything else in this world.
While I’m smarter than I was on this subject a year ago, I’m also smart enough to know that I’ve surely missed a few things. What have I forgotten? Leave ‘em in the comments and you’ll have a free high five coming your way if I ever see you in person.
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