Labour pains are for expectant mothers – that has never been in doubt. But as PRISCA BAIKE writers, the husbands/boyfriends of pregnant women have to endure ‘pregnancy pains’ of their own.
After staying with his fiancée for close to nine months without any pregnancy, God finally answered their prayer when she announced having missed her menstruation period.
Stunned by the news, Eng Jack Walusimbi rushed to a nearby pharmacy and bought three pregnancy test kits. However, not even the two vivid lines on the three test kits were enough to assure him of his awaiting status.
The following day, he drove his wife to one city clinic where a blood test was done. Indeed, she was already five weeks pregnant.
“I just could not hold back my joy as I tightly hugged my fiancée,” Walusimbi recalls.
He then started informing his nearest and dearest friends about how he would be a dad in the next eight months – disregarding the usual advice of announcing a pregnancy after the first trimester (first three months).
The next few days were normal with him returning home early to make healthy meals for his spouse. Since she had personal businesses, she would only supervise and also return home early. Despite all this, the excited father-to-be still wanted to pamper her.
All was well until one evening when she asked him to cook her favorite dish of Irish potatoes and fresh cowpeas. Upon serving, however, she did not even look at the food. Instead, “almost in a commanding tone”, she asked him to go buy her a pizza from her favorite restaurant.
“Do you know what it means to drive from Seeta to Tastebuds in Ntinda at 9pm just to buy a pizza?” Walusimbi rhetorically asks. “And after driving that distance like a mad man, she told me to throw the pizza because it was making her sick!”
At that point, Walusimbi could have regretted having never known her.
“She was a very different bad-mannered person from the girl I had dated since my university days,” recalls Walusimbi, who eventually realised it was just the pregnancy hormones at play.
At first, he thought she was controlling and humiliating him since she was giving him the much-needed child. His closest friend who was as clueless about pregnancies did not make matters any better. Like most men during their ‘guy talk’, he advised him to stand his ground and “be a man”. But this caused more strife in Walusimbi’s expecting young family.
“Finally, I opened up to my younger and only sister about my situation since she was a mother. I was sure she would give me some useful advice since she had already been there,” Walusimbi says.
His sister advised him to give in to all his fiancée’s demands and bear with the mood swings as they would end once she is delivered. According to www.whattoexpect.com, the brand-new placenta starts pumping out a cocktail of hormones known as HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, a few days after the budding embryo implants in the uterine wall.
These hormones nurture the tiny life that has taken up residence inside your wife’s belly and also take control of her body. They often make her miserable, weepy, over-the-top excited, disproportionately pissed off, deliriously happy and stressed.
To date, Walusimbi still recalls how he rotated between sleeping in his bed and the couch for his fiancée’s entire pregnancy.
“Some days she would not mind me sleeping in our bed, but most of the days, she would literally kick me from our only bedroom – leaving me with no option but to sleep on the floor,” says Walusimbi, who later moved to a bigger house before the subsequent pregnancies.
Although some men become outraged by their pregnant wives’ insatiable libido, Walusimbi’s case was different. His wife did not desire any intimacy for the nine months. He confesses the condition was hard for him, but the gynecologist confirmed it was absolutely normal since a pregnancy can create positive or negative attitudes towards sexual intercourse.
“At one point, I hated the whole pregnancy ordeal but the thought of my unborn baby made me hang in there,” smiles the father of two girls and a boy.
Walusimbi is not alone. Raymond Okumu, a sales representative in one local factory whose wife recently gave birth to a baby boy, had his own experience with his wife’s pregnancy. For the nine months, all scented soap, lotions and perfume were banned from the house because they triggered morning sicknesses.
“Having spent an entire day in the field, I would always want to take a good refreshing bath and wear my spray, but it was forbidden,” Okumu says, laughing.
However, in the mornings, he would only wear cologne from his car on the way to work. Upon return, he would first shower and wear no perfume before getting to his wife. Worse still, she couldn’t stand the smell of food fried with onions, but all that changed as the pregnancy progressed.
For Walusimbi, who previously enjoyed going out with his fiancée, life became a little complicated. She kept turning down his requests to take her out.
“A few times, I tried going out with my friends, but I would worry about her especially as the pregnancy progressed,” he says.
She would, to his dislike, cry at any slight thing and always threw childish tantrums.
“But she has now stopped that altogether, and her two subsequent pregnancies found us well-equipped. So, we sailed through them smoothly,” he says.
To Okumu, inasmuch as his wife’s pregnancy was hard on him, it was not his first experience because he had once lived with a pregnant aunt.
“I had a slight idea about how pregnancy changes women, but when it came to my wife, I experienced it firsthand,” Okumu says.
DEALING WITH A PREGNANT PARTNER
Remember while men are experiencing all these discomforts, pregnancy is much harder on its bearer. This is because foetal development and hormonal fluctuations happen inside her – a discomfort men cannot fathom.
From this writer’s experience, a pregnant woman’s mood swings are usually the most pronounced during the first trimester. This is when the pregnancy hormones are in their greatest state of influx, and the expectant mother is just getting used to them.
But even once the hormones have settled down in the second and third trimesters, you can still expect to be riding along with her mood swings until delivery.
Patience is of utter importance according to www.whattoexpect.com. Since the pregnancy won’t last forever, it is necessary for men to bear with their pregnant spouses for as long as the mood swings last.
The site further advises men to help regulate their wives’ temporary dispositions by offering them some healthy snacks or encouraging them to exercise or engage in simple activities that can lift their moods.
Walusimbi has since learnt to cut her some slack since all these are quickly forgotten when the baby is born. Okumu encourages men to talk to friends who have had pregnant wives for advice because they are more helpful than their inexperienced counterparts who might instead be misleading.
However, he notes that pregnancies affect women differently, and it is not wise to compare one’s pregnancy experience with others’.