by Aaron Gouveia
When it comes to dealing with pregnant women, I’m no expert. Hell, I still don’t even know how to figure out women in general. In fact, I’m the antithesis of an expert. Luckily for you, I’ve made just about every single stupid mistake and placed my foot so far in my mouth during my wife’s pregnancies that I’m overqualified to speak to you about things you need to know to avoid getting knocked out by the knocked up.
Here are the 13 most important things to remember.
1. Feed her constantly.
Everyone knows food is important to pregnant women. But what the uninitiated might not realize is that time is of the essence. The bottom line is, when she says she’s hungry, she means it. Feed that woman immediately or she will eat your f*cking face. Know that “I’m hungry” doesn’t mean she’s looking forward to the dinner plans you have in an hour. It means give her a snack before you leave for the restaurant. And then again when you get in the car. Failure to promptly produce snacks will result in extreme b*tchiness at best, and bodily injury at worst. Just turn yourself into a walking, talking vending machine for nine months and you’ll be fine.
2. Food: What’s yours is hers, what’s hers is off-limits.
There’s a good chance you’ve been married or together a few years now, so it’s perfectly understandable that you bought into all that stuff about togetherness and sharing a life, etc. And while some of that still applies, all bets are off when it comes to food. If you eat food that’s hers (or food you bought for yourself but she somehow claimed as hers), she will cut you. Not physically, perhaps, but by the time she’s finished excoriating you you’ll wish it was just a knife wound you suffered. I ate some of MJ’s chocolate once, and when she went to find it during a craving and saw that it was gone, she flew into a rage that was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Just don’t do it.
3. Get ready to gain weight.
Notice how all the topics so far have involved food? That’s no mistake. Ultimately, at some point, she’ll have cravings. When MJ was pregnant with Will, she wanted pizza, Kit Kats and grapefruit. The second time around, it was nothing but fruit salad. But whatever the craving, one of the unmentioned side effects of pregnancy is YOUR weight gain. Yes, the guys gain weight, too. Mainly because we inevitably partake in our partners’ cravings and all the extra junk food results in a spare tire. I gained 25 pounds during MJ’s pregnancy five years ago, just a shade under the total amount she gained — WITH THE BABY! So watch your step.
4. Don’t point out how big she’s getting.
My Boston sports habit notwithstanding, I’m a fairly logical person. I knew MJ was pregnant and pregnant women gain weight. That’s why I thought absolutely nothing of pointing out my wife’s really cute swollen belly. In my mind, it was just nature progressing and running its course, and there was nothing more beautiful. But after the first two or three times I said it, she snapped on me. “STOP TELLING ME I’M FAT! I KNOW I’M FAT! I DON’T NEED YOU POINTING IT OUT!!” It didn’t matter that in my eyes she had never looked more beautiful, or that she was SUPPOSED to be gaining weight. Which leads me to my next point…
5. “Pregnancy Brain” is very real.
I know it sounds like some sort of cutesy, media-created term. But it’s not. Pregnancy Brain is legit. It starts with everyday occurrences like looking for her glasses while they’re on her head, which is kind of adorable. But it soon progresses to things like leaving the basement door open in 5-degree weather and freezing the entire bottom floor of the house while simultaneously leaving us susceptible to a home invasion. And in a fit of irony, I just asked MJ to give me more examples of Pregnancy Brain, but she couldn’t — because she can’t remember.
6. Goodbye, sense of humor.
The good news is: she’s gained a baby. The bad news? There wasn’t enough room for the baby AND her sense of humor. If you’re a smart-a** like I am, this is especially troubling, since I show affection by giving people good-natured sh*t. Unfortunately, my pregnant wife does not appreciate my unique brand of humor while carrying our little parasite around in her stomach. The results are often me firing off (what I consider to be) beautiful comedic quips and zingers, which don’t just fall on deaf ears — they fall on potentially homicidal ears. You’ve been warned.
7. Say goodbye to sex, too.
Listen to me carefully — you’re about to be sexually frustrated. The first trimester is by far the worst. It’s when she’ll be going through the most changes and feeling the sh*ttiest. It’s everything she can do to avoid throwing up every morning (and sometimes at night), so your feeling unloved and “backed up” doesn’t really register. So fire up the porn and give yourself a hand, because you’re now a sex camel, my friend. The only silver lining is you’ll have sex two times during the pregnancy. You have a one- to two-week window when her sex drive returns early in the second trimester. Enjoy that, because it’s not happening again until very late in the pregnancy. Right at the end she’ll be so desperate to get the baby out of her that she’ll use you in the hopes that sex will send her into labor. It’s slightly awkward, but after the drought it’s a welcome relief — as long as her water doesn’t break right then and there.
8. Yes, her boobs are bigger; no, you can’t touch them.
While we’re on the topic of sex, let me tell you about one of nature’s cruelest tricks. When a woman is carrying a child, it’s a beautiful thing. That “pregnant glow” you always hear about is real, and it does wonders for her hair, her fingernails and — her rack. A becomes C, B becomes D and C becomes Hallelujah Thank You Jesus! They swell up to gargantuan sizes, literally breaking bras at the seams and popping off her chest in a fit of Playboy glory. The only problem is, you’re not allowed to touch them. It’s like going to the pet store and seeing the cute puppies behind the glass but not being able to pet them. They’re adorable and you want to take them home and keep them forever, but if you try to motorboat her puppies she will slap the sh*t out of you. Trust me.
9. Your dick can’t hurt the baby.
Let’s get this one out of the way right now — your penis will have no effect on the baby in your wife’s womb. Got that? I don’t care if you’re on par with Ron Jeremy, your dick is not going to scare the kid and it’s certainly not going to poke him in the forehead. Not only that, but any suggestion to the contrary will send your pregnant wife into hysterics. And there’s nothing more demoralizing than a conversation that involves your penis and hysterical laughter. So I’m told…
10. You will be replaced by pillows.
Did you spend a crap ton of money on a mattress? Some sort of memory foam or pillowtop deal that makes you feel like 1,000 little angels are massaging you as you fall asleep every night? Well, I hope you also spent money on a comfortable couch, because that’s likely where you’ll be sleeping for a decent part of the pregnancy. And it’s not so much because of the increased space your pregnant wife takes up, either. It’s the pillows. Yup, that’s right. You become increasingly irrelevant as the pregnancy wears on, but the 37 pillows — including that godforsaken full-body pillow — become absolutely vital nighttime companions. And when push comes to shove, you’re getting the shove to the sofa.
11. Don’t treat her like glass.
Many men — myself included — feel very protective of their wives in general. But when it’s our baby growing inside of her, that protective instinct suddenly ratchets up several notches. I try not to let MJ open doors, carry groceries, pick up heavy objects, etc. And for whatever reason, that sticks in her craw something fierce. It’s not that I don’t think she can fend for herself; I just feel it’s more important than ever to keep her safe, and to make sure the heavy lifting is kept to a minimum. And that’s when I get the “I’M NOT MADE OF GLASS, STOP TREATING ME LIKE A PRINCESS!” retort. Oh well, husbands/boyfriends of pregnant women are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
12. Pregnant women are lazy.
This one is VERY touchy. After all, they’re carrying new life around inside of them. Their bodies are growing, stretching and changing to accommodate said life. But the fact remains, pregnant women are L-A-Z-Y. Case in point, a disturbing trend has emerged in the Daddy Files household during my wife’s second pregnancy. MJ has not only stopped doing dishes, she’s no longer even attempting to put the dirty dishes in the sink. Instead, she brings them into the kitchen and puts them a foot away from the sink. Moreover, all of the coffee cups are half-full and every bowl has a ton of soggy cereal remaining in it. I don’t mind doing the dishes, but I do mind a counter full of crap. How hard is it to empty the dishes and move them ONE MORE FOOT into the sink?? But you can’t gripe about this because…
13. You can’t complain.
All these things I’ve listed? You can’t mention any of them to your pregnant wife. Because even if she’s lazy, not giving you any, won’t let you touch her boobs, can’t remember a thing, sleeping with the Pillow People, making you crash on the couch, putting on massive amounts of weight, and eating you out of house and home, it doesn’t matter. She’s pregnant. She’s carrying your child. Which means she’s got the trump card and all your complaints are hereby dismissed. Seriously, just think about you complaining and what her response will be. Something like “Dishes? You’re complaining about dishes?? I’m growing a human being in my stomach the size of a watermelon that I’ll eventually have to push out an opening the size of a lemon. NOW WHAT WERE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT AGAIN?!?”