DON'T BE A HERO You’re growing a human life form, you can catch a break. I know you’ve spent a long time being all - I’m strong, I’m capable and girls can play just as hard as boys. Guess what boys don’t have to host a nine pound parasite. Milk it.
DON'T DO ANYTHING RASH You’ll become consumed with all manner of ‘brilliant’ ideas such as moving to The Canary Islands, quitting your job to write a memoir and painting your entire flat lime green with purple spots. To your tiny impregnated mind these ideas may seem perfectly rational but I’m telling you now, they are not. Write them on a piece of paper, put them in your knicker drawer and read them again in a year. If they make any sense at all, knock yourself out.
DON'T BRING UP THE PAST Hormones can do curious things to your memory. You might suddenly remember the time your partner locked you out of the flat in full technicolour glory accompanied by a sinister soundtrack. You might suddenly realise that this was not simply a careless act of stupidity but a passive aggressive statement representing their unwillingness to let you into their heart. Pregnancy is a time to look to the future. Can we just do some yogic breathing and let that stuff go.
DON'T BE A KNOW IT ALL These things are happening to your body, yes. No one will ever know the special brand of pain you are feeling but (shock, horror) you are not the first pregnant person ever. This might seem like crazy talk but your spouse may have insights into ways to prepare for the baby. This is especially true if your partner has been pregnant or supported someone else through a pregnancy. Even if you’re that chick in the pregnancy class that has read all the books ever (she was in your class too right?) you could learn something. Even if you don’t, listening to someone drone on about boring stuff you already know is great prep for motherhood.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT After more than a decade of testing this theory with my husband I’ve come to the conclusion that our partners cannot read our minds. Even if your other half is slightly more sensitive than mine, when you’re pregnant your needs vary so dramatically from normal that your partner will need guidance. If your favourite treat makes you feel nauseous or the smell of flowers gives you a headache, it’s only fair to give them a nudge in the right direction.
REMEMBER IT MIGHT BE A TIME OF CHANGE FOR YOUR PARTNER It can be very easy to focus almost entirely on all the stuff that’s happening for you. I know that the knowledge that I was going to heave a mini him through my hoo haw kept me in a very self- focused place for quite a few weeks. You partner may also be overwhelmed by the changes that are afoot. Resist the temptation to roll your eyes dramatically.
REMEMBER IT MIGHT NOT FEEL LIKE A TIME OF CHANGE FOR YOUR PARTNER When you can feel a limb in your belly, it brings it home pretty fast that something significant is happening. Your partner might not feel this huge sense of shift. For them perhaps nothing’s changed but your belly. Don’t try and scare or berate them into action, they’ll get there – labour has a tendency to jolt people into action.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR SPACE A conversation with my husband when I was pregnant:
Me: Stop making that noise.
Husband: What noise?
Me: That noise with your mouth.
If you need space to think or cry or sweat, take it - it’s only temporary. If you have the space, sleep in a separate bed if you need to. Don’t worry about intimacy right now, that’s what got you here in the first place.
RESPECT YOUR LAST DAYS OF FREEDOM Please, please go on a picnic. Go to a matinee. Visit tiny, cosy pubs. You’ll need the memories.
DON'T RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS Don’t suddenly have ridiculous expectations of the partner you were once perfectly happy with. If your beau was a struggling freelance clown before conception, they’re not gonna suddenly become a Fortune 500 CEO because your egg got lucky. The same goes for sudden reinventions in terms of cleaning or lifestyle. Compromise can and must happen a personality transplant will not.