During my third and last pregnancy, my husband at the time was on the phone with his sister, telling her our fresh news.
He didn't know it, but I was in earshot as he stood on our front porch talking with her. "Yes, I'm excited but the thing is, when she's pregnant, it's hard on me."
Not only was I getting used to the fact I would be a mother for the third time in three years, I'd just heard the person who wasn't growing a human inside his body—and who wasn't home all day with two toddlers and craving things like melted cheese over ice cream and crying every morning trying to strap a bra on over sore boobs—say it was hard on him.
Which was unfortunate for both of us because I had to set him straight and he had to listen to me set him straight. Which I 'm sure was hard.
Men have no idea about the exhaustion pregnancy causes. They don't know the feeling of wanting to cry during every Disney movie and the anxiety women have over giving birth.
They have the luxury of not peeing every time they sneeze, cough or reach for the batteries that are stored over the fridge.
They don't know the feeling of not being able to sleep because their body won't allow them to be comfortable. They've never experienced the horrific heartburn that forces them to try to sleep sitting up or have had the pleasure of a foot in their ribs.
Pro tip: If you don't have the body parts that make it possible for your to grow a set of lungs, a heart and brain, or a body capable of letting it stew in your uterus for almost 10 months while continuing to do all the normal things you do—like work, take care of other kids, scrub the toilet and tie your shoes—you have absolutely no business saying someone else's pregnancy is hard on you. End of story.
To say pregnancy is hard on you is disregarding everything your partner is going through in order for the two of you to bring a child into the world.
"What's so hard on you?" I asked. "Is it my increased appetite and me asking you to bring me home fried chicken? Because if memory serves, I make your favorite meal at least twice a month. Is it my engorged breasts that you get to play with? Is it the fact I need to go to bed early and you get to have the TV to yourself for the night? Is hard for you that I'm always running to the bathroom to pee because our child is using my bladder as a bouncy house and you get to enjoy dry underwear all day long? Do you feel it when I tear during labor or complain about the first post-pregnancy poop?"
That's when he stopped me to share that the reason he felt I was hard was because I was different, that I acted different and wasn't in as good of a mood. This revelation was both dumb and brave. I didn't care if I was standing outside in my nightgown with a mask on yelling for all the neighbors to hear. If I was different, there was a good reason: I was having our child.
For you to say pregnancy is hard on you is disregarding everything your partner is going through in order for the two of you to bring a child into the world.
Men, before you decide to complain about your partner's pregnancy, remember she's doing the heavy lifting for an extended period of time and it's the ultimate sacrifice.
So, shut it and just bring home the damn chicken or fries or whatever she wants even if she can't eat it because the smell makes her sick. Let her fall asleep and be moody and buy her extra underwear and rub her back in the middle of the night if she can't sleep. If the roles were reversed, she'd do it for you because that's what women are made of.
If you really need to complain about how hard it is for you, make damn well sure she's at least two miles away.