By Mihir Joshi
“Holy s**t! This is happening!” …or something to this effect is what I said when my wife Neha came up to me almost a year ago and told me that the pregnancy test she used was positive!
If you are trying to conceive a child, this can be an extremely momentous occasion in your life. If I told you that two little lines on a stick, that was quite recently peed on, could give two people immense joy you’d think I was crazy…but you won’t know the euphoric feeling until you’ve experienced it. Anyhow, once a couple discovers that they’re pregnant – well the woman is, and guys just say that to annoy women I think – things are very different for the man and the woman. So gentlemen, let me speak with you for a minute here.
Let’s assume that you both discover the pregnancy in the second or third month. The moment your wife finds out that it is on, things change in a big way. She starts taking a lot more care of herself. Your friends and family start paying a LOT of attention to her. There are major physical changes in her as your baby grows inside her. It is a kinda-scary-yet-incredible time in your wife’s life.
You, however, don’t really change…well, at least not in any perceptible way on the outside. And though no one’s asking you how you feel or getting you tons of your favourite food, there will be a lot of changes for you too.
Recognise them. Accept them. And most importantly figure out how to deal with them. Because if you don’t prepare yourself for what’s to come you are in a lot of trouble, my friend. No one gives men advice on what to do when your wife is pregnant or how to deal with it…so here’s a crash course.
First up, while it is a massive change in your life and while things will never be the same now, recognise one thing – It. Is. All. About. Her!
I don’t say that in a bad way. Accept the fact that she will be the epicentre of attention not just for the entire pregnancy but for quite a long time after that too; and this is a good thing. She deserves to have everyone around her doing everything possible to make her life nicer, happier and more comfortable.
Nothing we do can ever compare to the miracle our wives make happen inside them. Love them more than you thought you could and try to make the scariest thing they’ve ever done just a little less scary and instead, enjoyable.
Second. If your wife is anything like mine, trust me when I say this, NO ONE will ever be able to research and read up about having a baby as much as her. So listen to your wife and do not tell her that she’s overthinking or talking too much about the baby. Pay attention when she tells you how she’d like things to be and try to make most of them happen.
Thirdly. Make time for her. No matter how busy you are. This is a very special period in your lives. Do something memorable. Go out on a babymoon. If she asks for something, try your best to make it happen. For example, Neha was really craving Beard Papa’s Custard Puffs and so I actually planned a trip to Singapore to fulfil her one big desire. It also turned out to be a really fun vacation for us and will be something we’ll always cherish.
Let her know you care. I’ve had a baby for a little over four months now and let me tell you this – the amount of work your wife will put in as opposed to you is not comparable. You can be a great husband, helpful and hands-on with the baby,but despite all that you will never be able to do as much as she does. Breastfeeding alone is a Nobel Prize-winning feat and you’ll mostly be an onlooker while she’s going through sleepless nights and crazy days keeping your baby well-fed. So, before the baby comes, if she wants something and you can give it to her…make it happen!
And finally, get ready for the most incredible day of your life. The day of the birth is magical. The time between entering the hospital to seeing your baby can actually go by in a jiffy. The wait may seem like forever, though, especially for your wife who has nurtured a life in her for nine months and is moments away from meeting him or her. Be there in those moments. Try to spend every minute with your wife. Hug her, comfort her and remind her to breathe.
When it is finally time, whether it is a vaginal delivery or a C-Section, be there by her side. Yes, it will be gory and you may be squeamish about stuff like this but get over it! Be in there with her and hold her hand. Watch your baby’s first seconds on this planet – there’s really nothing else like it! For it is then that you truly realise that you and your wife have created life. Four months in and every time we look at our baby boy Neil, we go “Wow! We made him!”
It is an amazing thing – Being Baba (or dad or papa or whatever you want to be called). And it all starts with two little lines on a stick with some pee on it!
(The writer is a singer-his debut album Mumbai Blues won the GIMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2015-hosts his own talk show-The MJ Show and does live Hindi commentary for WWE. Follow him on twitter @mihirjoshimusic)