Well, that explains it

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?

15 responses

  1. WOW! How wonderfully powerful that he could admit this. I do think it is very common among men to feel this way… but way rare for them to admit it. Says something major about how much he loves you and feels safe with you that he could share and admit it. Because he does know it is not an accepted cultural reaction.
    It may be less distressing to him when the pregnant woman is not you, though it may still make him uncomfortable.
    Hold the trust in you he has shown by sharing as equally as your own sadness that he is not able to be the support you wished for.
    Find out if he wishes to be present for the birth but at your head rather than seeing the transition from inside to outside.
    What a gift of love and trust in you to have been able to share his truth.

    • You’re right that it’s wonderful that he told me how he felt, and very honestly. I’ll make sure to thank him for that, because it is so important.

  2. I think you should still savor the remaining weeks of your pregnancy. You can’t help how he feels but you can control how you react to it. I recognize that it is painful to not have this go as you wished however I do not think you should deny yourself the ability to enjoy your remaining weeks. The good news is that once your son is born Mi.Vida will be able to connect to you both and hopefully the after pregnancy support will return.

    • I will still savor these final weeks of pregnancy. I owe myself that much. And I don’t need him to enjoy it. And he did assure me that when the baby comes it will be totally different, for a lot of reasons. And that is what is really important.

  3. I totally understand this, because I felt the same was as MV about pregnancy before I was pregnant. In fact, I was very worried about how I would feel about being pregnant given that pregnancy totally weirded me out. I ended up LOVING being pregnant and the feelings of the baby being alien left the moment I felt him move. Men don’t get that chance, so I can see how he’s still weirded out by it.

    I’ll have to ask B what he thinks. I’ve never considered it being weird from his point of view.

    I agree that MV was very brave in sharing this with you! I know you feel alone, but you’re not. A single pregnant mother would tell you that you’re certainly not alone. Sort of like “solo parenting” versus “single parenting.”. Two different things and something to consider. You have a partner in this pregnancy, but not the type you’d hoped for. 😉

    • It’s so interesting to hear how you felt about pregnancy before you experienced it. It helps me to understand better where MV is coming from when he can’t experience it himself. Thanks for sharing that.

      You’re also absolutely right that I am not in this alone. It might feel like that, but it only does because of my expectations. So if I change those, it will feel a lot better. Now that I know where MV is coming from, I can more easily alter my expectations. Then I’m sure I’ll feel less alone.

  4. At least he told you the truth about how he felt. Doesn’t make it any less lonely, but at least you don’t have to guess as to why he’s acting that way. My husband never admitted to having those feelings about pregnancy, but I’m pretty sure he did. I loved every minute of it and he seemed to try everything to avoid even talking about it. It’s hard to deal with that when you’ve waited for the pregnancy to happen and you want to enjoy the journey together. Just wanted to let you know that I know many women who have had similar experiences. You are by no means alone.

  5. I read this to my husband and asked him if it was how he felt. He said not exactly, but it does kind of describe his uncertainties about pregnancy. He also thinks because I had an anterior placenta with Raegan her movements and kicks were much more subtle and now I have big kicks and stomach waves that kind of freak him out. And the first time it was kind of novel.

    Very happy MV was able to share these feelings and put into words his thoughts on the matter. It has to help knowing where he stands. We’re still kind of up in the air in this matter, but your conversation may have opened a door to further communication!

  6. It is good that MV was honest with you, but this also really sucks. Even if he’s weirded out by the fact of pregnancy, it seems that he should be respectful of the physical toll it’s taking on you. He might not want to feel the baby kick, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that he be sympathetic to things like back pain or fatigue. Maybe to make yourself feel less alone, you can ask him for some attention to those facts of pregnancy, and in return you don’t make him feel the baby or talk about the disgusting parts.

  7. It’s an interesting perspective, but like you said, he’s certainly not alone. I don’t know that my husband would say that it feels alien to him necessarily, but my dreams of him pampering me, marveling at the crazy stuff my body was doing, finding my incredibly sexy in that pregnant lady way, and having his hand on my stomach all the time…well, none of those dreams came true when I was pregnant with Harriet. He occasionally would give me a glimpse of that awed husband I had hoped for…but only a glimpse.

  8. I’m sorry that its clear he thinks its weird and can’t give you the support you need. When I broached the subject of revisiting treatments then maybe using donor embryos, S admitted he’s relieved that I haven’t gotten pregnant, mostly because I’m older and all the complications that can go along with pregnancy and childbirth. That was a WTF moment!

  9. This is so fascinating to me…not MV’s reaction, but the comments. My gut instinct was to hop on and comment on how much this must suck…but reading through what others’ have written, I am starting to realize how hard it must have been for MV to confess this to you, and how much that honesty speaks for your relationship. Not to go completely off topic, but this is what I love about blogging—the chance to see outside perspectives that may really be helpful in changing your own attitudes and relationships.

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