Mi,Vida and I had a long talk last night. We hashed through a lot of things but the only one I’m going to mention today is what ended up being a very compelling explanation of why he doesn’t want to feel the baby, or have really anything to do with the pregnancy.
My partner doesn’t like pregnancy.
He thinks it’s weird and unsettling that I have a little “creature” (he used this word a lot) inside of me. He even described the whole thing as alien. I guess the most important part is that he doesn’t like it at all and he just wants it to be over.
When I was pregnant with Osita, evidently, it was all very novel, and most importantly, abstract. But then he watched her emerge from my body and it became apparent that there had, in fact, been a tiny person inside me. Now when he sees me with my giant belly he knows exactly what is inside, and it freaks me out.
So that explains why he doesn’t want to touch my stomach or feel the baby move. It explains why he has been so detached and refuses to ask me how I’m doing or really acknowledge that I’m pregnant in any way. I guess it’s helpful to have such a definitive explanation and I don’t blame him for the way he feels. I’m sure more people feel that way about pregnancy than ever voice it in public. As we discussed last night, the cultural expectation is that people regard pregnancy as this wonderful, miraculous thing, that they describe pregnant women as glowing and maternal. People aren’t really allowed to say that they think pregnancy is weird and alien. It’s just not the way we talk about it.
So I understand, or at least respect, his feelings, but I will admit that they make me feel even more lonely in this than I did before. It’s clear I can’t ask him to be involved in my pregnancy in any kind of significant personal way. I’ll be walking the rest of this road alone. And I also suspect that his support during birth, which I didn’t expect would be very significant before, will be even less than I was worried it would be.
I have to admit, this whole experience has not been what I expected. And definitely a far cry from what I wanted. But we don’t always get what we want–especially not in our relationships.
In a few hours we’re supposed to go to couples prenatal yoga. I was hoping this would be an opportunity for Mi.Vida to become more attached to the pregnancy. Now I just feel stupid for signing us up and I’m sure I’ll feel awkward the whole time we’re there, wondering how he is feeling being surrounded by women and their alien cargo. If the stupid class hadn’t been so crazy expensive I would just bail.
Man, it really sucks that this whole things has me wishing my pregnancy would move more quickly when really I wanted to savor these last weeks. It really does suck doing this pretty much alone. But I guess I was doing it alone before. Now I just know why I’m doing it alone, and ultimately I appreciate having a better understanding of it, even if I don’t like the explanation much at all.
Did your partner ever admit that he found pregnancy unsettling? How did that make you feel?