How To Handle The News You’re Having A Baby

The news shocked the nerves of yet another couple. “You are pregnant,” the nurse announced. The couple had talked about the possibility of having a child one day, just not so soon after meeting each other less than a year ago. They both were in agreement about not having an abortion, but quietly they wished that the news had been untrue at least for now.

Once the couple got over the shock, they told only a select few about the pregnancy. They weren’t in a rush to reveal the baby news to all of their critical family and friends. They thought of their religious grandparents "You're not even married," their vain parents, “I’m too young to be a grandparent!” and their “too busy to care” friends, "That's nice, when are you coming over for drinks."  Further, they knew no one on either side of their intermediate family who would be celebrating yet another birth, since their siblings had already filled the first grandchildren vacancies. Therefore, with all the knowledge they knew about family and friends and their views on children, they silently made plans to provide the best that they could for their firstborn offspring without making this birth announcement a big deal.

Your story may not be as sad as this one, but the reality is not everyone is happy about a child being born. The way you handle the news will be very different than the way your mate and those around you will handle the news. Even people who really love children and have always wanted children will be ecstatic initially about a new birth announcement, but later as the second, third, fourth and so on come about, for some their smiling faces will turn into frowns. Women will think of the stress their body will undergo, while men will think of the cost to pay for a child. Your mate may want to talk about everything from how you are feeling to what is the next thing on the list to buy, while you may only want to be left alone to your thoughts. This attitude is quite normal, but how long you dwell in the shock of it all may affect your relationship with both your mate and your newborn. 

Avoiding outings together while pregnant, cutting off everything that you two both enjoyed before you found out the news, and distancing yourself from relatives are not ways to handle baby news. Whether people will be happy for you or not shouldn’t have any bearing on how you and your mate relate to one another. Yet, so many women and men allow negative thinking to get in the way of their relationship. Thoughts such as, “I am not as attractive as I was before this pregnancy, he probably isn’t interested in me anymore.” He may think, “I can’t handle her mood swings and the way she talks to me, this pregnancy is just too much!” These are not thoughts that will contribute to a positive, healthy atmosphere before the baby is born. Instead, these thoughts will only aid in building a stepping-stone for a future break up. Then throw in the negative reactions from family and friends and you both will have a wildfire! Some parents just aren’t ready to be grandparents and never really catch on to the idea. They rather go out with their friends; then spend time at home coddling their grandchildren. Be prepared for their negative statements such as, “I thought you were using protection, how are you going to pay for a child and you know I don’t baby sit.”  
Men must understand that their women will not always be that cute, kind, wonderful, loving woman that she was before a human life invaded her body and took over every aspect of her being. She will cry, have an attitude, become lazy, want to eat more and have her share of pet peeves. Secretly or openly casting revenge on her because you don’t like the way she said something to you is not the way to handle the mother of your child. Some men will not talk to their pregnant mates as much, buy them gifts, avoid going with them anywhere, stop being affectionate, work later hours, start hanging out with friends more and do less household chores. Men can help their women become more positive about the birth simply by doing the following. 

Acknowledge her for mother’s day and remember other special holidays (like when you first met.)

Surprise her with little tokens of appreciation such as a “Thinking of You” card or bring home her favorite snacks.

Ask her if she needs something before she asks you.

Take her out to dinner (if she cooks often she would greatly appreciate the break.)

Offer to take on additional responsibilities (such as grocery shopping, doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen and bathroom) while she lies down to rest.

Most of all keep your negative comments about how she looks to yourself. She knows her face is plump, her lips are cracking, her hair is changing, her body is increasing in size, and she doesn’t have much sex with you. Remember everything that is happening to her is temporary and for some women that body is coming back looking better than it was before she became pregnant. If you don’t want to be the man left behind and replaced with someone else, then show her love and kindness at this very vulnerable and risky time in her life. She may even apologize to you if she realizes she has done or said something wrong. Accept each and every apology and cast her negative behaviors into the sea of forgetfulness. Wouldn’t you want her to do it for you?

You may be one of those women who just don’t feel the support of having a baby from most of your family and friends. You must not allow others’ behaviors to dictate your actions such as isolating yourself, feeling guilty, breaking up with your future child’s father, working long hours because someone told you about the cost of raising a child or anything that could cause you more stress. As long as you are doing things that are not endangering you or your baby, enjoy your life! Utilize the help from strangers who open doors, pull out chairs, allow you to step to the front of the line or any other courtesy that will make your day a little easier. For those people who are in support of your pregnancy, be sure to take the time to send thank you cards, make phone calls or accept their invitations from time to time to go out to a restaurant or event. Never make them feel as if you are deserving of anything and that they should do for you because you are family or their very best friend. Remember they didn’t make the baby you and your mate did and that baby is you and your mate’s responsibility not theirs. Someone may or may not suggest a baby shower if they do great, if they don’t that’s great too; therefore you won’t feel obligated to have to do something for them in the future.

As for the men, your male family and friends may joke about your life being over, give you a breakdown of how much it costs to raise a child, tell you about every miserable experience they ever had with the mother of their children, and much more. If you listen to enough negative comments from enough people, you will begin to change toward your mate. You will begin to find yourself blaming her for upsetting your world. You may even stop talking to her and doing kind things. When you hear the conversation becoming negative, ask them what they find is positive about being a parent. If they can’t give you a straight answer, you need to be careful of those who attempt to counsel you. A man who sincerely loves and appreciates his family will be more than happy to provide wisdom on being a parent and will offer to help you in any way he can as you anticipate the arrival of your son or daughter. A man who is unhappy with how things turned out in his life will attempt to cover it all up with banter. Everything is a joke, negative or downright evil coming from his mouth. Meanwhile, just imagine what his wife and children have to experience living with him. Eventually, he will be the old man living by himself miserable secretly wishing he had a better attitude about his family.

Being pregnant can be at times difficult, but women remember men can also pick up on your symptoms too. Try to be polite to your mate and ask him rather than order him to do things for you. Sometimes it is better just to write a list of things down, post it somewhere so he can see it and periodically reference the list when you talk. You both should make an effort to find things on sale at flea markets, discount stores, classifieds and any other place you may be able to save on items for baby. Think of ways you can bring extra money to the household with little effort other than getting a second or third job. In time those jobs will put an unnecessary stress on the both of you and eventually someone will have to quit once the baby is born. This is not the time to be apart from one another long hours at a time; rather you should want to draw nearer to one another. When you both see that each of you is making an effort to save money, the bond between the both of you will strengthen because you are both working together toward a common goal and that is caring for your newborn. 

Nicholl McGuire is the author of When Mothers Cry and manages the When Mothers Cry blog too.


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