When I started reading baby books I came across the term "couvade." I didn't think much of it until my husband started complaining more than usual about his various aches and pains and strange dreams. Couvade Syndrome is also known as sympathetic pregnancy. While common, it's not recognized as a mental illness or disease—but I'm here to tell you that whether real or imagined, it's really annoying. So if your husband or partner is suffering from a sympathetic pregnancy and you're not feeling particularly sympathetic, here are some simple rules to help you cope with this highly irritating unexpected side effect of pregnancy.
Warning: You may not want to deal with your partner's sympathetic pregnancy in the same manner as I do, but being knocked up has been making me a real bitch.
When partner complains of back pain, nod politely and suggest yoga. Then inform partner yours is actually killing you from carrying his baby. Then instruct partner to quit whining and rub your back.
Rule 2: Weird Dreams
When partner wants to tell you his weird dream, listen carefully. It's actually very common for men to dream about their own childhood when they are about to become fathers. There may be some hidden information revealed that may help you understand him better. But if he starts complaining about how he's sleeping badly, escape to the bathroom, like you do five times a night. Uninterrupted sleep is a thing of the past for you long before baby arrives and you shouldn't have to listen to him complain.
Rule 3: His Pregnancy Belly
When partner says he thinks he's the one who is pregnant and rubs his growing belly, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT say anything about him being fat or rub his belly and say it jiggles like jelly. His hormones are worse than yours and he may pitch a fit and cry because you called him fat. Do not under any circumstances tell him he's not the one eating for two. This will also upset him greatly. But if he eats the last of the ice cream feel free to tell him to get his fat ass to the store and get you some rocky road, no matter what time it is. There's only so much a pregnant woman can take and sometimes you gotta put your swollen foot down.
Having a husband who seems to be having his own baby has not been a highlight of my pregnancy thus far, but at the end of the day when I curl up in bed and I feel those tiny kicks, I'm so grateful that we're having a baby and my irritations fall away.
Rule 4: Household Chores
This is very important: If your partner says he cannot do a household chore because he doesn't feel well, do not murder him, even though you feel like it would be justifiable homicide. Just breathe and go shopping for a new purse with his credit card. Do the chore yourself later or skip it all together and eat ice cream.
Rule 5:Extreme Gas
If your partner is suddenly ripping more farts than usual, this could be in sympathy to your pregnancy gas. Simply fart yourself and blame him every time. Never waver; never say excuse me. Simply give him the stink eye, and say "How rude!"
Rule 6: Irritability and Mood Swings
If he's irritable, just get out of the house. Seriously, go for a walk or to the gym or shopping. Visit a friend. Get your nails done. If you can't go out, go take a bath. Just get away from him. His bad mood will only make yours worse.
Remember you love this man. He's stressed out and worried about you and the baby and impending fatherhood. So give him a break and don't forget to notice all of the wonderful things he does actually do—like surprise you by making corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day since you can't get wasted this year or working from home and making you lunch even though were mean to him all morning.
Pregnancy, although joyful and mysterious and wonderful, can also be exhausting, irritating and not that much fun at times. Having a husband who seems to be having his own baby has not been a highlight of my pregnancy thus far, but at the end of the day when I curl up in bed and I feel those tiny kicks, I'm so grateful that we're having a baby and my irritations fall away. Love might not conquer all but it can come pretty close.