The text below was written by me four years ago today. At the time my wife was pregnant with the now three-year-old ballerina who would be our second-born. As I post this today my wife is now pregnant with our fourth child. I now consider myself a grizzled pregnancy veteran from a guy’s perspective. I asked myself permission to repost this, and the permission was quickly granted. I have also taken the opportunity to add some notes to four-years-ago self that would have been helpful to know at the time. The original post is in black, and the notes from the future are in red.
As of today my wife is 20 weeks pregnant. For obvious reasons the main focus during the pregnancy is on the mom. This is of course at it should be, but while the mom is busy growing a baby at times pregnancies can get a little tiresome for the dad. To be clear I am not suggesting that the process of growing a baby is actually tough on the guy when it is compared with the role of the woman. It seems rather clear that carrying the baby is infinitely harder physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. Having said that there are a few reasons that guys can get a little worn out by pregnancy.
Dude, you had one kid while this was going on. GIVE ME A BREAK! Little did you know that in a few months you would get your first taste of what it was like for your wife to be one bed rest – in the hospital. This was the time on bed rest that you decided that you had to spend the first night in the hospital. The night you spent on the hospitals pitiful excuse for a couch is when you tore a ligament in your shoulder. This pregnancy actually injured you, and you weren't the one giving birth to the child! Not to mention pregnancy #3 meant there were two little humans to chase while your wife was pregnant, and then on bed rest again. Now she’s 18 weeks pregnant with #4. O yeah, and while all of this is going on with #4 you and your wife are wrapping up a book you are writing together. You want to see a little worn out? Try being you in four years.
Consider the following:
At any given moment in my house someone may begin vomiting. These episodes of vomiting can be caused by virtually any smell, taste, sight, or sound. This is compounded by the fact that anything you do can bring on one of these vomitous fits. During our first pregnancy I microwaved a P.F. Chang's frozen meal. By the end of that incident those meals had been banned from our home for eternity. In retrospect the P.F. Chang’s meal should have made you vomit too. Four years later there is the added aspect of trying to keep three little people from going to check on mommy when she has morning sickness. The older two understand threats so you can ward them off. The one-year-old demolitions expert only knows that you are in her way, and must be removed while she goes to see what that sound is in the other room.
The temperature at our house may be hot, cold, hot, freezing, warm, chilly, burning up, or cool. It may be all of these at once, or it may take as long as 45 seconds to cycle through all of these temps. For a while my wife tried to be considerate and she would ask me, "Are you hot?" or "Are you cold?" While I appreciated her attempts at considering my needs I finally told her to just tell me whether she was hot or cold because let's be honest, we're going to be changing the temperature to make the lady with the bun in the oven comfortable. Hey 2013 Aaron, guess what? In 2017 we have smart thermostats so that you don’t have to get up and go across the house for all of the temperature changes. You pull up an app on your phone and abracadabra the thermostat is changed. Having said that the temperature is much easier do deal with on the fourth go-round, now it is just cold all the time.
There is this little thing known as pregnancy brain. Essentially pregnancy brain is when the child growing in your wife's body begins to eat away at her brain cells. This can cause strange things like memory loss, absentmindedness, and other vital mental functions. In our house this leaves me in the rather uncomfortable and unfamiliar position of having to be the one with their act together. This never works out for our family. One time I was in charge of putting a going away party on the calendar. We ended up getting to the party early - by a week. I am no longer allowed anywhere near the calendar, and I am perfectly ok with that. This hasn’t changed. You, I, we still have no business doing any of the thinking for the family. It isn’t our forte.
Now I don't want it to sound like pregnancies are a bad thing from a guy's perspective. After all there is a ton of excitement about the bringing of a future child into the world and being a father. I am merely saying that it is possible to lose sight of all the wonder of a new life in the midst of some of the hard work of being a husband and father. This is why I feel that it is necessary for me to point out the best part of pregnancy from a guy’s perspective. Simply put, if your wife is pregnant you can get away with pretty much anything so long as you blame it on the pregnancy. If you are at a restaurant and you want to place a crazy order (you know one of those that adds 3 things, cuts 2 things, wants something well done, and something a little rare) all you have to do is say, "My wife is pregnant." If you forget to keep a commitment you just say, "Yeah, my wife is pregnant. Sorry." If there is something you do not want to do you simply blame it on your wife's pregnancy. Pregnancy #2 was when you figured this out. By pregnancy four you will have turned it into an art form.
I strongly suspect that a guy could commit a felony, tell the judge that it was because his wife was pregnant, and he would probably get off with probation. This is just as true in 2017 as it was in 2013. Having said that, if the judge in the case was also a dad they might offer to send you to jail for a couple of days just so you could get a break from three kids five and under. You would have to consider this idea thoughtfully.
Now if you will excuse me I've got to go turn the fan on, and then off, and then on again. In a couple of years you will purchase a tower fan for your wife’s side of the bed. It has a remote. You may not be the brains of the family, but you’re getting the job done.