For most women, pregnancy is an exciting time. But it’s also physically draining and can be terrifying. We’re supposed to be blooming, but the reality is often a long way from the picture-perfect, chocolate-box images you see in maternity magazines. Here’s what women secretly wish their partners knew about pregnancy.
1‘Tired’ doesn’t begin to sum it up
We’re growing at least one person inside us. It takes our bodies quite a lot of effort. ‘Tired’ doesn’t begin to describe the utter exhaustion we feel, especially in the early weeks. At the end, as we’re carting something the size of a large watermelon around with us, that’s hard work too.
Please don’t get annoyed because we want to go to bed early and sleep late. And yes, going to dinner and the movies as a couple while we still can is a lovely idea. But we’d really prefer the early evening showing, not the late night one.
2We need to know you still find us attractive
At the start of pregnancy, we might spend a lot of time feeling – and being – sick. In the middle, many of us think we just look fat – the ‘baby’ bit of ‘baby bump’ isn’t necessarily obvious. And at the end, we’re huge and uncomfortable and we’ve had enough.
It’s really important for us to know you still love us. Just the smallest compliment can go a long way. (Even if we don’t look that great, comment on something else – like our shiny hair, fresh smell – if we’ve had a rare shower – or how much you love the colour of the top we’re wearing.) It sounds superficial, but it makes us feel better.
3We want you to get excited about how our baby is growing
Knowing you’ve got a little person growing inside you is quite surreal, especially when you can’t feel it. Small wonder that pregnant women are fascinated by its size as it develops. Please, when we tell you that Junior is the size of a peach and already has fingernails, at least pretend you’re excited. To us, it’s a big deal.
4Hormones really do send us a little crazy
We know bursting into tears because you forgot to buy the milk is irrational. That losing the plot because the laundry basket is full is over-the-top. When you dismiss us as ‘hormonal’, please understand we can’t help it. Hormones have very real effects on our behaviour: we can’t control it, and the last thing we need is to feel we’re at fault.
5Don’t comment on our size
Yes, we’re aware we’re losing our shape. We no longer have a waist and we can’t see our toes. And if we’re carrying low and wide, chances are we don’t even look pregnant – just fat. We don’t need you to point this out to us. Instead, tell us you love us just how we are.
6Or our boobs
Pregnancy has an incredible effect on the size of a woman’s breasts. It doesn’t matter if there was barely a handful there before; suddenly, the equipment appears for the job nature intended them to do. If they were large already, we now feel like we’re carrying a bouncy castle in our shirts.
Keep your excitement to yourself. It’s not ‘fun’ or sexy for us. In fact, it can be painful and incredibly uncomfortable. You can look, but don’t touch (unless we say it’s ok).
7Our feet could really do with some TLC
As we get bigger, our feet lose out. We can’t see them. We certainly can’t cut our own toenails. A foot rub when we’re tired feels wonderful. And if you can bring yourself to give us a mini pedicure, even better. If not, you’ll get lots of brownie points for booking us into a salon. Just saying…
8Let’s talk about sex
Some women love sex when they’re pregnant. Others don’t. She might want to but feel worried about any discomfort or risk. And sometimes doctors advise against it for medical reasons. After giving birth, we’re bruised and sore and need time to recover.
Yes, we understand you might feel deprived. But this is one time when we really need you to respect our wishes. Don’t pretend it isn’t an issue – talk about it. Find a compromise. But please don’t pressure us.