Monday, April 30, 2012

The Dude’s Guide to Surviving Your First Pregnancy

The wife of an old high school friend of mine just gave birth to their first child a few days ago. Over the last few months, I’ve been dropping (what I think are) helpful pieces of advice to him as they journeyed down the long three-quarters of a year of gestation. I figured that I’ve been a parent for almost 2 ½ years so I’m basically an expert.

Now that Mrs. Dude is expecting again, I’m trying to remember all of the important details from our first loop around the block. Unfortunately due to major sleep deprivation over the last quarter-decade, I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday. So I’ve decided to compile a reference list of helpful hints for Dudes whose wives/girlfriends/partners are expecting a bundle of joy.  (I use the term wife below, since that’s what I have, but whichever variety applies to you works the same.)

Since your free time is running out, I present without further delay 
The Dude’s Guide to Surviving Your First Pregnancy:

1)      If you don’t know the fruit of your loins' gender, ignore everyone who offers their opinion. If you wanted to know you’d find out. Whether it’s your favorite aunt or the checker at Target, whatever they say is useless. And never do the “ring on a string” trick on your wife’s belly to find out. There are much more scientific options available. Like asking a Magic 8 Ball.

2)      Don’t read “What To Expect When You're Expecting”. I know it’s been around for decades and has gajillions of copies in print, but it could really scare you. You may shy away from your wife when you learn about the numerous colorful bodily functions & expulsions she will endure during these 40 weeks up through and after the main event. Sure, it’s fun to read that the baby is the size of a grape or a plum or a Pony-keg, but 90% of the rest of the book contains warnings like eating Lucky Charms while pregnant is bad for your baby*. It’s so scary, in fact, that I initially thought it was a Stephen King book.**

3)      Do read Jenny McCarthy’s pregnancy book "Belly Laughs". Yes, she is generally a total kook, but her pregnancy book is hilarious and she gives practical advice for both men and women. Trust me on this one.

4)      Go to restaurants you really enjoy. Once Junior arrives you may still be able to go there occasionally, but you’ll be eating so fast you won’t taste the food as you shovel it down your gullet while getting an earful of screaming from your Mini-Me and dirty looks from the nearby tables.  Eating out basically becomes the dining equivalent of doing a beer bong. 

5)      Don’t let Babies R Us employees guilt you into registering for or, even worse, actually buying a roomful of unnecessary contraptions your baby doesn’t really need. Unless you live in an igloo, your baby probably can survive without heated wipes.

6)      Go to the movies as much as possible. Once the baby arrives, you won’t be able to see another movie where Reese Witherspoon can’t figure out that the handsome guy she’s been bickering with actually likes her, without spending $100 in the process, for YEARS. (This is actually kind of a good thing.)

This means war...on quality cinema. 
7)      On a related note, don’t ever watch a birthing video. It’s one of those retina-scarring things that you can’t unwatch. Sort of like a Reese Witherspoon movie.***    

8)      Maximize use of the “Expectant Mother” parking spaces everywhere you can. Your window is small, much like your wife’s bladder for the next few months. If men and women are truly equal partners, there should be no problem with Dudes using these spaces. Even if you are going to pick up some hunting gear or a new flat-screen for your man cave. 

9)      Speaking of her compromised bladder, don’t drive fast over speed bumps and pot holes. (Exceptions: if you put down plastic sheeting on the seat first or if you are trying to induce labor.)

10)   If debating baby names with your wife, pick a name you like then throw in options like “Google”, “Kanye” or “Caligula”.  That context will make your first choice much more appealing.

I hope this list helps as you travel down the path toward unimaginable insomnia.  To quote Robert Hunter: “Believe it if you need it, if you don’t, just pass it on.” 

What advice would YOU give to expectant Dudes?

*=that may not be actual claim from the book, but I remember reading stuff like that and subsequently not letting my wife read the book after the first trimester.
**= They are making a movie based on the book. It looks pretty funny. Hopefully less mucus-related stories than the book.
***= Exception to the rule: Election. Tracy Flick rules.



I'm linking up with the wonderful Stasha this week. She asked for a list of 10 things we are good at and I think the above is a sign of how good of a "pregnant husband" I am :)



As always, I am linking up with Erica and the Yeah Write gang. 
Come check out some amazing writers and vote for your favorites on Thursday.



68 comments:

  1. Love it!

    Good advice all around. Where were you when all my aunts were tying rings and pencils to the end of a string while trying to guess my first born's sex. Duh, magic 8 ball. Joke was on them though, we already knew, we just kept it a secret.

    Great post, you're definitely a brilliant 'pregnant husband'.

    Visiting from NorthWestMommy's

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    1. Thanks, Cyn! I don't understand people's fascination with the gender of strangers' babies.

      You did it the right way. Good job!

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    2. Once you have a kid you a screwed. Next life, maybe...

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  2. Great post! Specially like advices number 4 and 6! The only movies I've seen in the past 4 years were in airplanes...

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    1. Thanks, Pedro. Now when I fly I no longer have the patience to sit through a movie!

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  3. We saw tons of movies -- in theaters -- when I was pregnant...years ago. I remember that last month thinking....I think this is the last movie for a while

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    1. I still remember the last movie we saw before the Little Dude arrived: "Where the Wild Things Are". We didn't notice the irony then...

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  4. great advice! Loved Belly Laughs....I never did read "What to Expect"

    love #9. so true...I don't think my own grasped that even by the 3rd kid. you've done a valueable public service!

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    1. Thanks! Spread the word so other Dudes will learn!

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  5. I see Caligula trending in Hollywood after this list goes viral. Which it totally will because it is brilliant and ever so true. I have not been to the movies since I was pregnant either...

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    1. If only I could figure out a way to collect royalties when that name blows up...

      Thanks, Stasha!

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  6. My $.02: Refrain from making any substantial purchases or otherwise acquiring anything valuable from this point on. Like driving a new car off the lot, its value will plummet the second junior arrives.

    In fact, you should probably just get rid of anything nice altogether. Pocket the money and save for cleaning supplies. Or beer. Mostly beer.

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    1. That is an excellent point. And since most of your money will be going to Pampers anyway, there won't be much left to spend.

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  7. This is brilliance from start to finish. Love that you include Jenny McCarthy! Your naming suggestion was utter genius too. Loved it from beginning to end. Erin

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    1. Thanks, Erin. Any other name suggestions?

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  8. I think I watched Election every day for about a year. I can't ask anyone to fill anything without hearing "Fill me up, Mr. M." in my head. Also, pregnant husbands should totally use the pregnant women spaces because you need to get back home to do something else for us. We don't have time to wait for you to park. But don't get caught by a pregnant woman at the store, because we will totally defend her wrath towards you for stealing the spot.

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    1. Election is both Alexander Payne and Reese Witherspoon's best movie, IMO. Now that you've made that connection for me, I won't be able to shake it either. Thanks, Michelle.

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  9. This is definitely better than "What to expect when you're expecting". Especially loved the #10, that's priceless!

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  10. Great advice! And oh, how I miss Expectant Mother parking. :-)

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    1. I can probably pass for it on my own, so now it's especially useful :)

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  11. Ok, so I don't have children, and I think the trauma of seeing a birthing video in grade 9 may have contributed to my being ok with that. And also working with children; it's great birth control :)

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    1. I know what you mean, TG! Keep up the good work.

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  12. I so get number 4. In fact I don't think I ever reverted back to eating at normal speed. Something about that argument between the two of them that always breaks out the moment food is in front of me.

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    1. It's inevitable, right? Someday you will eat again at normal speed, but it may require training and practice.

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  13. Love the advice! I am going to forward this post to my brother who is expecting his first.
    I feel cheated...there was no thing as Expectant Mother parking when I was popping kids out. :(

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    1. YDF, perhaps you should take this opportunity to have another. You know, just for the parking.

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  14. Hahahaha! I once watched a video where a woman gave birth (and no, not Knocked Up where they just show a quick scene - this was the real deal in all its glory). The camera was RIGHT THERE. That was almost ten years ago and it still haunts me on the daily.

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    1. SG, up close and personal is not the angle that should be used for those scenes. More of a distant and blurry shot would be much better, right?

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  15. Sooooo true about the birthing video. They showed one in my prenatal class and although I was completely miserable being pregnant, I was all like "I am NOT doing THAT!". Scared the crap out of me.

    Most other expectant parent felt the same way but we had this weird dude whose comment was: "Why don't they show the placenta coming out? I wish we could have seen the placenta come out...", like REALLY?!? You weren't traumatized enough the first time around!

    Sorry, I think I was reliving the "horrifying" moment all over again. ;)

    Great post! A must read for all soon-to-be-dads!

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    1. Thanks, Karine! Let's help spread the word to Dudes and Dads who need to know.

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  16. "Your window is small, much like your wife’s bladder" Love it! Yes, take advantage of parking spaces, movies and (to add) the good will of strangers. That will reverse when the baby hits the tantrum stage, so relish it!

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    1. Thanks, Kim. Goodwill of strangers is highly underrated.

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  17. Hhaha no kids for me but this all sounds like good advice! What about being prepared to make late night food runs to satisfy a craving? That's gotta be part of the gig.

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    1. That is an excellent point, Gia! With us it was Taco Bell. Ugh.

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  18. Ha! I can so second the don't watch a birthing video. My wife was with me when I delivered our son. She was pretty sure she didn't want to carry a baby prior to the delivery. Witnessing it really sealed the deal.

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    1. I can only imagine. Fortunately she had you to do it for her :)

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  19. I have 3 children and we didn't find out gender until they popped out...or were cut out..whatever the case may be. It drove people freaking nuts!

    Advice to new dads: change as many diapers as you can and if mom is bf you can still be involved in feedings. bring her the baby, burp him/her and get him/her back to sleep.

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  20. So funny! I don't have kids but nevertheless this sounds like spot on good advice. Really well done.

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  21. I never thought about #4 that way, but it's TOTALLY TRUE!

    And yes to #5. A heated wipe has never touched my daughter's bum and she is [so far] not scarred for life. We also heated her bottles under hot running water. I know - the horror.

    And "What to Expect..." is scary as hell. Why on earth are they making a movie out of that book, anyway?

    My advice: When your wife is in labor, on her hands and knees breathing through a massive contraction, and her cell phone rings and you see it's her mom, don't hand the phone to her and say, "It's your mom." Just ANSWER THE GODDAMNED PHONE!

    (In my defense, it was the only time I cursed at my husband throughout the entire labor and delivery.)

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    1. Kristin, Wow. That was a bad call from your husband. And bad timing from your mother! Fortunately you all made it through.

      But one question: why were you on your hands and knees?

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  22. Ha! This was great. I especially loved your Magic 8 Ball advice :)

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    1. Works every time, Katie. Give it a shot.

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  23. Caligula! Too funny.
    Someone remarked to me just the other day that you don't see too many baby Jesus's, at least north of Central and Latin America and I noted that even less baby Judas's... That guy really screwed it up for the name... Can you imagine being born around that time and getting the name Judas? "Oh, no...he's not THAT Judas!"

    WG
    http://itsmynd.com

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    1. Thanks, WG! I haven't met any Judases lately, but that's not to say the trend isn't just around the corner...

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  24. Dude, this may be your most brilliant post ever! Yes, go to the movies every day, spend your life savings eating in elegant restaurants where there's not a booster seat to be seen, and take long showers, walks and naps whenever you want to because. . . your life is about to suffer a coup after which it will be ruled by the world's shortest dictator. Listen to the Dude, future parents!

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    1. Louise, as usual you are too kind :)

      Thanks for all the great tips. A coup is an interesting way of looking at it. I never thought of it that way, but it's really so true...

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  25. I just read this list to Husband, who cannot stop nodding his head. He either agrees with everything you said or he has developed some kind of PTSD tic from being reminded of my pregnancies. Could be either one really. I have a friend who is due to give birth any day and I've been working on a list for her husband. I'll be directing him over here too.

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    1. Thanks, Delilah. It's always good to receive affirmation from experienced parenting veterans like you. PTSD tic made me LOL. Hope he's recovered :)

      Thanks for sharing this with your friend, too.

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  26. Totally agree on the restaurant and movie advice. I wasn't scared by What to Expect of Birthing Videos. In fact, I LIKED seeing all the things that could go wrong because I was SO SURE I would have a smooth and easy labor. Ha!

    One thing I would add, especially if you're choosing a hospital birth, is to be prepared for a c-section. It didn't even occur to me, and it blindsighted me - kind of stunning me into horrified submission. Had I educated myself about all the ways hospitals tend to handle less than perfect labors, I could have been more assertive about saying No, or at least saying yes with knowledge.

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    1. Great advice. Thanks for sharing, Mutterschwester!

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  27. Ha. This is great. The "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book totally freaked me out. As soon as I read the week that I was, I automatically starting having all of the symptoms that were in the book. ..and the bladder prob never goes away after the baby. At least it hasn't for me. Ha! And a word of advice for expectant dudes... walk away with the baby once the doctor has delivered him/her. Don't look back.

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    1. That last nugget is a true gem. They should inscribe that on the walls of the delivery rooms. Thanks!

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  28. Gotta trust the magic 8 ball for all of life's most important questions.

    Nice post.

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    1. Thanks, YB. It's usually pretty accurate...

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  29. I think this might just be the best list ever created. I really enjoyed this, and will have to come back and reference this post later in life when some of this becomes applicable.

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    1. Thanks! Make sure to bookmark it, print out a copy and email to all your friends. Just to make sure you don't lose it :)

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  30. A-fricking-mazing. Loved this list like crazy. I am a new fan of you, Dude of the House! http://wp.me/p2gpEb-9o

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  31. Congrats on your 2nd pregnancy! They didn't have the expectant mother parking spots when I was with child, however, I think they are more necessary when one has an infant AND toddler in tow. I love this post. Especially the igloo bit. Peace to you and yours!

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    1. Thanks, Kimberly. I can't even fathom what we'll do when we have another. Fortunately we have a few months to figure it all out.

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  32. Having done three laps around "The Loop" I can swear that every word the Dude speaks is the truth. It's such a good list I'm a little stumped to add or edit.
    Hmmmm? Wait a minute....got it.
    Having a baby girl is radically different than having a baby boy. Our girl was the third loop. I did not know that the diaper bag has to match the outfit. Pay close attention because close doesn't count. If you mess this up postpartum screaming will ensue.
    Also, don't ablib the cravings. Get EXACTLY what she wants and endulge Mommy2B. Sometimes they get weird. Like dirt. Or in our case, gasoline. Yes, gasoline. She insisted to go with me to the gas station to smell the gas. Thank God she didn't want to drink it.

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    1. Thanks, Maddog! Sniffing gas? I don't think most OBs would recommend that, but I'm glad that it worked out for your crew. As you said, there is no rhyme or reason...

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  33. Ha! This is great advice! I like that one about Jenny McCarthy's book. I haven't read it, but I think I will now. It sounds like a great baby shower gift. (Thanks for linking up with us over at #findingthefunny this week!)

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    1. Thanks, Kelley! It's a very funny book and a quick read. Check it out.

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  34. Can anyone share some interesting high school college information on this subject. Maybe some paper.

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