You just thought this is about having twins in pregnancy, didn’t you? Nah… It is not. I am no gynecologist or a doctor to write about pregnancy and this is all about being pregnant. There are a lot of people, your parents, your spouse’s parents, siblings, friends, relatives, neighbours to give you advice or loads of advice on pregnancy when you break the news to them. Technically, a hell lot of advice, Do’s and Dont’s, if’s and but’s that is too heavy to process. Alternatively, if you are a person who is not receptive to these people, then you tend to find things out, all by yourself. That’s exactly the right thing to do but not from anyone. Understand, get to know, learn and whatever it is you are looking for about your pregnancy, do it from a doctor, preferably a gynecologist. I am not going to advice you either but I will share what I feel when you are expecting because that is exactly what I feel when we are expecting.
Wait, did I just say ‘We are expecting’ and not ‘she is expecting’? Yes, I did say the same because that is the first lesson to men like me who are fathers to be soon. I was texting to an old friend recently and he asked about my wife. I said she is stuck at her mother’s and I am stuck at my sister’s due to the ongoing lock-down. Just like always in India, he asked me is she expecting and I said “No dude, we are expecting”. I got an instant reply from him – “That’s the same bro” which I obviously ignored and continued to discuss something else, but I didn’t like it. There was a time when I used to think what goes by in the minds of a father-to-be. I have heard a lot of men saying “She is expecting” and not “We are expecting” and honestly, I never liked that. As men, we think (and sometimes boast) that we are strong, brave, courageous and most importantly masculine (especially when you have fought with someone, physically or by words, and proved the other person wrong or weak). I have thought of myself that way but what is being masculine? It is not defeating another man or a group of men or even a pride of lions (although impossible) or proving someone wrong. You prove yourself masculine enough, only when you can tell people that “We are expecting” and not “she is expecting”. Oh, you prove yourself even more masculine enough not when you defeat someone but when you can be the courage to the lady of your life.
A man is pregnant too, when his wife is!!!
It is said that a woman becomes complete when she becomes a mother and I say a man becomes complete only when he realises and accepts that he is pregnant too along with the woman. And that’s what I refer to as “Dual Pregnancy”. A man can never be what he is without a woman, proving it right since he is born from a woman but we need to understand that a woman too, cannot be great without a man. There are especially three men in her life who will be their everything, not even her mother and that is her father, brother and the man of her life. When my wife broke the news to me I felt like achieving something great, since this is what is expected from a man after getting married. It took me a while to acknowledge the fact that I am going to be a driver for the next 9 months. Wait, I am not talking about taking her everywhere including the hospital for the next 9 months since she is dependent on me now. I am saying I am the one who drove her to become a mother-to-be and I have to be the one who drives this phase of her life easy, smooth and more importantly with courage.
It is easy for me to tell my parents or her parents to take care of her since I got to look after my job but that isn’t what she is expecting from me. It is our pregnancy. Pregnancy is a pain, yes, it is a pain to her, both physical and mental. But that can become a Joy of Pain if the child is carried by both of you. It is easy for me to step aside and just hear her voice when she pukes in the mornings and she might even tell me to do so. That is not what I am supposed to do because that is not what she is expecting from me. Sometimes I honestly feel bad that I don’t have a womb which I can use to share her physical pain. I am already sharing her mental agony by standing with her, at least virtually not physically, thanks to COVID 19. Enough of me and her now. Let’s jump into the topic. There was a practice in ancient India, where men were not allowed to be with the woman during labor and our ancestors had their reasons for that which I do not intend to harp upon. Nowadays, some men intentionally wish to be with their wife on the D-Day and that is exactly what is required to be done, though hospitals in India do not allow that according to Government regulations they say. But given a chance, I would stand next to her when she screams in pain because I will be the only person in that room whom she would trust her life with and wants to take her side. Men are the real courage to their woman in labor, not even her mother. Some may say I am stupid to be saying this, however, there is always some stupidity behind men being different.
What do men need to do?
- Stay with her: Don’t just drop her off at her mother’s because you are too busy with your work and cannot deal with her complaints once you are back from work or you don’t want to see her puking all the time. In the initial few days, “the too busy” men will always have a tough time coping with these. As days pass and you keep staying with her, you will start loving it and things things will seem normal even if it is not. Your senses would eventually become so sharp that you will hear her voice even when you are in the living room and the Terminator is firing the M134 minigun on HBO. Evidently, she will start getting stronger and happens to enjoy this phase.
- Tolerate her: It is not she who is puking but your successor who is forcing her :-). When you are back home (I am sure you must be tired) but enjoy listening to her. Let her just talk and watch. I once felt she was most beautiful when she kept talking. We can crack all the jokes we want about women talking and men listening but this isn’t the time for those jokes. Just tolerate her and trust me, at one point she will ask you how do you tolerate her!!
- Have patience: Are you a father-to-be soon? Then you need to have a lot of patience in you. The phase of pregnancy is the most challenging for any woman, no matter even if you have married a wrestler. This is the phase when they will have all the mood swings in the world. They can be happy, sad, cheerful, angry, annoyed, depressed, worried and more importantly feared or frightened. All these emotions will hurl all sorts of pain at them, slowly like a snow ball and it will keep flowing out of them in every single direction. We must know this and be patient. When they shout, just listen. When they are happy, just laugh with them. When they are cheerful, dance with them. But if they are sad, worried, afraid and depressed then jump in. Change their mood because research says the kid is going to be what the mother was when she was carrying him/ her. Well, that’s not the only reason and you very well know what your woman needs. Hence have all the patience in the world.
- Let her win: In case you are playing a game together, say chess, let her win because that’s not just making her happy for the win but surely makes her happy as her man is letting her win. Yeah! she definitely knows that. If its an argument then accept defeat and say she is right, but then do what is right since she can be wrong. Accepting that defeat for her makes her love you more and eventually this pregnancy is becoming yours and not just hers.
- Fight anxiety: Now, why am I referring to this so specifically? That’s because anxiety is enemy number one for your wife. A lot of research studies indicate that anxiety during pregnancy can harm not just the mother’s mental health but also the child’s health. You are the only person to help them fight this enemy and you cannot fail in this even if you fail in all the others.
What do women need to do?
Simple. Nothing at all except enjoying this phase. I know it is easy for a man to say this but if your man is with you, like a pillar of faith, then you don’t need to or have to do anything. He is going to run the show for you and you just have to travel the road which is filled with your early morning pukes, nausea, mood swings and many more, holding onto him and crossing all these physical and mental difficulties to deliver when the time comes. For you, the biggest miracle is having the gift of life growing inside of you and feel wonderful for that.
And if a man and the woman can do these, then it will not be called as pregnancy but will be called “a dual pregnancy”. Not a catchy term, is it? That doesn’t matter. The next time someone asks you, tell them “we are pregnant” because you are in this together. You are partners-in-crime (not literally) and can’t leave one another. Indian movies are often too dramatic where we always see a proud father say ” My son/ My daughter” – Bull shit. If he is so proud and not include the woman responsible for that then what good is that pride for? Remember, it is and it will always be “our son / our daughter”. When this trend sets in and both parents always refer it as “Our” and not “My” even in the absence of the other half, we can be doubly sure that we are making a better citizen of our child not just for the country but for the entire humanity as well. The character, personality and the future of not just the kid but the world starts from “Dual Pregnancy”. Admit it and embrace it with pride.
Men and women have the “Fuel-Fire” equation when it comes to hardships, especially pregnancy. Without fuel no fire can burn and we cannot exist without each other. To all the men who are reading this I wish to say, “Be masculine enough to take her pain during pregnancy, standing with her and say I am there, we can sail through this together and make her happy”, because that is who a man is.
Pregnancy is beautiful… But Dual pregnancy is not even definable by any language… It can only be embraced.