I got a lot of praise while I was pregnant, for putting up with exhaustion, queasiness and all the weird and wonderful symptoms. But that was from the people who saw me well-rested and dressed and in a good mood. It was my husband however who saw me in all situations, and so this is my chance to give him the credit that he, and all good fathers-to-be, deserve.
I am grateful for the way he dealt with my overwhelming tiredness in the first trimester – gently helping me out of bed in the morning, taking over my usual tasks around the house, and encouraging me to sleep early at night. I am grateful for how he catered our meals to my limited tastes at the time, and took care of the weekday meals – usually one of my things – even though he got home later than me.
Every week brought a new concern – what could I possibly wear to suit my growing bump? Did I look like a whale? How would I know I was in labour? Not to mention the hormonal ups and downs that made me prone to getting upset over silly little things. I am grateful for the way he bore these so well, reassuring me that everything would be okay and that he loved me no matter what.
There was the time he took me out for a surprise day and I threw up my breakfast about an hour into the drive. He helped me clean up, found some dry clothes for me, drove me home and put me to bed, all without a single complaint about having to change our plans.
And then there was labour itself – let’s just say that I would have not managed without him! He talked me through the breathing, even taking the big breaths with me to the point that it made him lightheaded. He held my hand the entire time and continued to encourage me even though I was in too much pain to respond.
I love the way he became extra protective of me and baby – both during pregnancy and after. I love how he talked to our baby through my tummy, and it’s amazing how she responded to his voice as soon as she was born. And I love how the pregnancy was about us as a couple from the very beginning, considering that too many men pass it off as a “woman thing”: he took time off for all important appointments, we both attended all antenatal classes, he took leave from work once the baby arrived, and parenting is something we do very much together.
Now, with baby Emma at home, the extra work continues for him. I may be home during the day but getting used to meeting a newborn baby’s needs is a fulltime job in itself, meaning I’m not always on top of what needs to be done around the house. And then there was the extra support I needed in the weeks of recovering from labour, and more hormone-related emotional unpredictability to deal with – all of which my husband has taken in his stride.
However as tough as pregnancy can be on dads, I feel like it has its benefits. Perhaps they are being motivated to grow in the patience that having kids will require. Or maybe they are learning to truly and selflessly love their wives – choosing to do so even when things are tough rather than easy. Either way, I know for sure that I have a good man by my side, made even more clear by this fact: with our dream of having a large family, he’s willing to go through it all again – maybe soon, and hopefully multiple times.