Yes, this post is a BIT out of the order so far, going back to the world of pregnancy, but it is something I have been meaning to write about for a while.
OK, strange word, huh? Couvade? What’s that? Well, some would call it a “sympathetic pregnancy”. Maybe the penny’s dropping a bit now. “Oh yes, that thing that weirdo fathers get, those who’ve maybe got a screw loose and think they’re pregnant too.”
No. That isn’t quite right. It’s definitely not weird. Some say that up to *90%* of fathers-to-be will experience some of these symptoms. Sure, you won’t be pregnant – YOU are not going to have a baby, but you are empathising to a certain extent with the mother. A major chunk of it is also circumstances. But we’ll come to that.
The first symptom is weight gain. Suddenly that trim you you remember from 6 months ago is gone. You’ve put on quite a bit of weight (I put on no less than 6 kg!). Nope, you haven’t got a little one, you’re safe on that front. But suddenly, her changes in diet mean there are different foods there. And, well, can you honestly resist the temptation not to grab a few of the ones you like? After all, you’ll be stressed through all the changes coming up, including the nervous tension about what being a father will actually mean. And people often beat stress by snacking.
For example, in our case, M. had a positive desire for unsalted nuts. We were getting through a kilo a week, more or less. Why did SHE want them? Because they were quick providers of energy, which she needed to help Sunshine to grow. Why did I want them? Um. Good question. They were there – I like nuts, and, well I also do the cooking and there they were. I was experiencing all the trips to the gynaecologist and seeing how things changed and seeing the new time in my life advancing towards me. So I snacked (the walnuts were very tasty!).
Of course, you might experience something else. But, chances are that you will give in to some form of temptation. Naturally, you then have to get the weight back off again (something I’m still working on!!!!). Coupled with this, you may feel ill. Again, stress and the additional food will be contributing to that…
And what about sleeplessness and worry? Hey, that’s perfectly ok. Your life is about to change. And in a big way. (If you’ve been reading these posts, you’ll have seen what I mean!). Those trips out, just the two of you, are off the radar for a while. You’ll be getting less sleep, you’ll have a screaming little creature in your home who hasn’t heard of politeness and manners (and goodness, I so wish children were born with some sense of fairness and reason…but they aren’t…). This is an experience like NOTHING else you’ve ever had before. You’re bound to be tense. Apparently, it is also possible hat you’ll get aches and pains as well. I say apparently, because I did not. Once again, treat it as tension.
The best remedy for much of this is to go with the flow. Talk about it with friends and your partner. The best of all is to find other fathers-to-be (yes, they do exist, even if you often feel that it’s just you!). You’ll be surprised what a relief it is to talk through lots of this stuff. It’s a blast to start comparing just WHAT you have been forced to spend your hard-earned cash on rather than that new Dolby Surround system. You’ll see that you are not alone. And it does all pass, believe me… After that, well, then you’ve got the baby, and things are VERY different 😉