Monday, July 11, 2011

Pregnancy and Fatherhood: First Trimester


I am so stoked about having a kid!

It is definitely a more observational role that the father plays during pregnancy compared to the mother...watching from the outside how there are changes to her tastes, sensitivities, emotions as the direct nurturer of the child in the womb.

They say that a woman becomes a mother when she is pregnant, and a man becomes a father when the baby is born...although I understand the logic, I also disagree. Things change for us men in a major way once you know that you have a child on the way. I think the nine months gestation is critical to men because it buys us, the slower emotional gender, time to process, reconfigure and rationalize everything that it entails to be a father.

The first trimester is cool because you have incredible life-changing news! You are a father. You have the privileged opportunity to raise a child and experience the joys of parenthood (and of course, the expected stresses that are all made palatable by these joys). Biologically, as a proud male, you have propagated your genetic material (not that it is accomplished by undesirable means!). The notion of being a father is inexplicably fascinating and amazing to me.

As Aileen and I approach our fifth wedding anniversary, I feel so lucky to have had this time alone with her but we both feel so blessed to embark on this next journey together. I am thankful that Aileen has been so understanding during the first trimester, as I can only imagine the changes her body is going through. She has different wants and needs than before that I am sure I am not completely understanding, but trying my best, and she has had few criticisms and been very flexible.

The first trimester is often accompanied by nausea and wildly changed tastes in food and drink. From a guy's perspective, the main *actual* change in your routine is that you can't just whip a steak on the grill and have a beer. Women very often are either NOT interested in meat and beer, or are completely turned off by their odour.

Although this change may sound completely earth-shattering, just keep in mind that your pregnant lady is not only incubating your spawn for the better part of a year, but also has a lot more restrictions on what she can consume compared to you. You can do your part (plus, keep in mind, her sensitivities often improve in the second trimester!).

Other advice:
  1. Help your lady out to ensure that she takes a good quality prenatal vitamin and high-potency fish oil...give her gentle reminders to help her take them regularly. Keep in mind that it is a new routine for her.
  2. Be sensitive to her emotional changes...you would also behave differently if you were suddenly given large doses of progesterone and estrogen.
  3. Talk to your babymama's belly (re: your kid), even early on...even if it seems like there isn't anything in there! Aileen didn't show at all for the entire 1st trimester but our ultrasound definitely confirmed that there was a happy, bouncing baby in there. She (and your baby) will both appreciate it.
  4. Always remember that although sometimes we wish we could carry the kid in our belly rather than have to deal with your partner's emotional ups and downs, this is not physiologically possible (besides Arnold in Junior), so let us appreciate our women for their strength and courage in getting through nine months of carrying our future offspring.
Makoto Trotter
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