Pregnancy is a beautiful yet frightening and overwhelming period. For men especially more than women because they sometimes feel that they have no clue what to do. In India, everything is hushed off as “ladies job” when actually the process of conception happens between the man and woman. Funny that, men somehow have been put out of it and delineated to thinking of only the financial aspects of it. The point here is that we all must start with the inclusion first. Including men especially the father-to-be, right from hospital visits to home care leads to better understanding of the partner’s moods and experiences. It helps men appreciate and understand the process and not just leave it to “it is normal”.
Here are some of the questions men have asked us in our survey and since the questions have been many, we are including the key ones here. Before we answer the questions, as men you must keep one thing in mind. We all are unique individuals. So don’t expect same responses or reactions in pregnant women. We can give a general indicator in our answers. Also, every pregnancy is different in same woman. So, kindly do not compare your mothers, sisters or wives with other. Neither draw comparisons between earlier pregnancy with the current one.
Q1. Is it true that women have mood swings like the way it is shown in tele series?
Ans: Yes. Mood swings are common in pregnant women due to hormonal changes. Note that there is a new life being created. It can drive hormones on a tizzy. Some women are relatively their normal self, some experience intense irritation and outbursts of anger, frustration or moodiness. Keep your communication open so you get to know what she is undergoing. Sometimes, there would be no reason for outburst. Understand your woman and empathize with her. Divert her attention to something pleasant alternatives.
Q2. Pregnant women lose shape.
Ans: Yes. Their body undergoes changes. Breasts become bigger and more sensitive. Hips get cushioned to accomodate the baby. Every woman changes differently. What they don’t lose is hope. So stop thinking of shape and think of the experience of having a baby.
Q3. Pregnancy means no sex, right?
Ans: Depending on the pregnancy condition, the doctor will advocate whether sex is permissible or not. Sometimes doctors allow it till 6 months, sometimes allow it for all months while sometimes advocate abstinence. This depends on whether having sex would be harmful to the baby and mother’s condition or not.
Q4: What is this spicy-sweet story?
Ans: Old housewives’s tales that build up over the period of time say that cravings for sweet means girl and spicy means boys. There is no rationale behind it and it is a myth. It is not at all true. So if other family members or friends start talking about your partner’s cravings, you can either ignore them or call their ignorance.
Q5: My wife’s doctor has given her a diet chart and my mother rejects consumption of certain foods. This is leading to conflicts. What should I do?
Ans: A lot of times this is the boiling isssue in homes. Heard about Zomato and Swiggy right? In this Covid time if your wife craves for a particular food or fruit which your mother denies consuming, make it for her or order for her and sneak it into your room. Say that you want to have it. Simple!
Q6: How do I take care of my wife during and after pregnancy?
Ans: You will have to pull in your inner Buddha. Remain calm, empathetic and understand her. After pregnancy, she will need a lot of rest to cope with the whole process. Don’t demand and ‘normalize’ her routine by ordering around.
Q7: My wife will not be able to give me time. Especially more after the baby comes. Is it true?
Ans: Of course. How else would the baby clean, change diapers, feed? You don’t have to be the baby here.
Q8: I am not feeling pampered at all. My wife isn’t listening.
Ans: Now is the time to pamper your wife and not the other way round. Weren’t you listening when the previous question was answered?
Q9: They tell my wife that motherhood comes naturally and one doesn’t have to learn skills to handle the baby. My wife is still worried.
Ans: Every baby is different so every mother has to deal with the infact on a trial and error basis until the baby is comfortable and a routine of feeding , sleeping and cleaning is established. Your wife need not worry since the hospital nurse and doctor would also provide some ways to deal with the baby during the initial nursing care in the hospital.
Q10: My wife wants me to accompany her during birthing. But I am worried about what the family will say.
Ans: If the hospital allows you can be part of the birthing process. If you are worried about what your family says, you can convince them that you want to witness your baby’s birth. If you want to stick by what your family says, you can stay outside.
Here are the questions we have answered keeping the Indian context in mind. In countries like America, witnessing childbirth, or being part of the whole pregnancy process is sometimes easier, given the independent nuclear family settings. In India, these aspects are new and you can expect conflicts and resentment of such ideas. We don’t mean any ill-will while answering some of the questions but logical and rational aspects of the facts need to be kept in mind when we emphasize on certain myths or misconceptions that abound in relation to pregnancy period in India. You can also check out our blog related to myths and misconceptions for more details about it.