Bearing the Burden of Pregnancy

I know that for a lot of dads, when your wife is pregnant and you are looking into the future about this event, this could be maybe the first baby you’re having. I know some of you you’re way past this, but for those of you guys who are still in this phase, this is always a really important time that your wife feels supported. It’s an incredibly vulnerable situation for her to be in and so there is an opportunity for you to really figure out how to serve her and how to build your relationship through really being a great support during the process of her leading up to a delivery of a baby. So I wanted to ask Jeff about this because he just had their third baby. Little Lucy was born, which is awesome and so, yeah Jeff, what are some of your thoughts? What have you learned as you guys have tried to figure out, like what does it look like for you to do this together and you particularly trying to support Alyssa as she starts to figure this out?

So, we’re in the thick of it obviously and then obviously having a child every two years the last five years, it definitely feels like we’re almost on a rotating basis of this being true and constantly thinking about this in the future but obviously just having Lucy, it’s really present on our minds.

So for me, I’d say a couple of things that I’ve learned. One is, it’s simple but a lot of us husbands don’t do it and that is ask. You have to actually ask your wife what would serve her and what would help her. It’s weird, but you actually ask husbands and even I do this, we all fall trap to it of I just assume I know what she’d want or I assume what she’d know was helpful and me and Alyssa have learned this the hard way. I go ahead and do things without asking her that I think are helpful, that aren’t helpful and sometimes actually are bad. She’s like, “That made it worse.”

So ask. Ask what would serve you, what would help you? Another thing is ask 20 times and what I mean by that is I know with Alyssa it’s like, “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine,” and then on the 20th time she starts really feeling the burden of the baby coming of oh the to do list or the nesting or whatever you want to call it. So then she finally does kind of really release some things that I can help with or that I can serve her in or that just I can facilitate whatever. So ask and then ask 20 times. I think a lot of times us guys are very much like, “Oh, we asked, it’s off my plate now. They said nothing.” No, that’s not how all… Not stereotyping women at all, but that’s not how all women and certainly a lot of women communicate.

There is a little bit sometimes I have to be more, at least for a lot of women I know, have to be a little bit more gentle prodding, a little bit more gentle pursuit, a little bit more gentle kind of trying to get it out of them. That’s true at least I know in our marriage and so me asking multiple times has been helpful.

The second thing I would say too is because their mind is so… It’s such a physical act and it’s so laborious, pun intended I guess, hard and physical, et cetera, the husband has a fresher mind and fresher physicality to actually do the heavy lifting is what I’m saying in regards to your life system. So what I’m saying with that is really take the brunt and the burden of trying to automate or systematize. I don’t think that’s a word or whatever it is, to get that first kind of couple months cocooned in a really protective helpful state.

Whether that’s you making 20 meals leading up to the month before that you freeze. Whether that’s setting up a meal train, whether that’s asking a friend to set up a meal train, whether that’s hiring someone just to do the laundry or a 15 year old to come over that you feed for lunch that does the laundry for free. Whatever it is, don’t let the wife… A lot of times we think why that’s wife’s duties and sometimes we fall into that trap of kind of the stereotypical characterized version of that. But it’s like no, her mind’s probably not on that stuff and if it is, it’s probably stressing her out.

So kind of very much hop in as the one that can kind of put out the fires per se before they actually turn into fires. So try to sense them, try to guess them, try to see them. See the gaps, look for them, kind of play coach and kind of play CEO in that sense of really helping that really sensitive time. So I don’t know if you’d add anything to that, but I know those really simple things really helped me. Just being really active and being really ahead of the game and being really intentional and really pursuing and asking. So what would you say?

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, one mindset that I feel like we developed over the course of these massive difficult events of a delivery of a baby is thinking about how vulnerable April is during that season. It was really a time where our marriage really got a lot stronger and she even tells a lot of stories to this day about things that I did during those deliveries because she was so vulnerable and I didn’t do anything great or spectacular. It was just, I think she felt it so much more deeply.

Yeah. That’s a good way to out it. Yeah.

There can also be like a… Sometimes your wife could be… A lot of times there’s a lot of tension in the marriage. Be really, really careful during the season and gentle with that, trying not to be really reactive and obviously it’s understandable if she’s on a short fuse. It’s like you guys are running a marathon and you ran the first mile and she runs the next 25 and you’re like, “What’s your problem?”

Yeah exactly.

She’s bearing the brunt for the team and so one of the things I had to tell April a lot, if she ever started to kind of get short with me because she was so irritated, is I would just very try to gently tell her, “Hey, I’m on your team. I’m on your team. We’re on the same side trying to face this huge thing. I’m with you and don’t ever see me as on the other side of the table. I’m with you. I’m on your team. I’m going to try to help. I’m here.” Then she’s like, “Ah yeah that’s right.”

Yeah. There’s a really easy lie can pop in on pregnancy, on both sides, et cetera, of… Because the chasm is so wide between who’s doing the actual work and the really strenuous stuff that it can really be like, it feels unfair, it can feels et cetera. So yeah, really fighting against that’s big.

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