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In Praise of the Non-Pregnant Partner

20w5d – The Mister doesn’t often verbalize how profoundly wacko this pregnancy is from his vantage, though there is this straight-on, eyes-wide skeptical stare—we’ll call it the SkeptiStare—he shoots me every few days. Like when I dart up in bed after a particularly strong strike to the bladder and he tries in earnest, unsuccessfully as of yet, to feel for the next thump. Or when he surprises me with takeout from my former restaurant fav, and I try not to gag while bristling at what he’s generously brought.  

The SkeptiStare gets flashed when I make the new heee-yuuuuh groan as I sit to tie my shoes or heave myself from the bed. I saw it again when I begged him to drive an hour to help me pick up the crib I’d not stopped ogling for days but then snapped at him for offering to set it up back at home. (“Not yet! Too soon!,” I’d snapped, and watched as he did not say, “Then why, exactly are we wasting precious pre-holiday time getting it…?”)

 

I can only imagine what it must be like to watch someone you love devolve into a violently ill, ravenous, disturbingly moody dark shadow of herself, then listen morning after night about the seemingly phantom changes she’s experiencing. There is so little of this pregnancy—and even less of the miscarriages that preceded it—that my incredible partner has been able to experience firsthand … and still, he holds the excitement about what’s to come for us, and reinforces that we are, really, ready to take on whatever comes next. I woke up one morning this week to find him futzing with his phone, and before I could snarl a “How about ‘Good morning, dear’?” he read from what was clearly the latest pregnancy app he’d downloaded: “Your uterus is the size of a cantaloupe this week. The baby is over 10 inches—and he can hear us. GOOD MORNING, BABEEEE!” he announced to my flattening navel.

I am beyond lucky to have The Mister to support me during what is the absolute most alien sequence of moments of my life. And I am both amused and heartened by the specific baby-related tasks he’s taken an interest in during his expectant-dad stint thus far.

Researching strollers, no surprise, has become a pet project: We sat around my laptop, dinner strewn around us, for over an hour one night toggling between review videos of different all-terrain strollers. He’d direct, “Wait, go back to the one with the swiveling front wheel,” or “Is this the one that comes in Don’t-Hit-My-Wife-and-Kid-With-Your-Truck Orange?” He spent weeks sussing out which video baby monitors had iPhone interfaces and is now reassessing the model he’d installed over two full afternoons. There’s got to be one that offers better night vision.

Hiking backpacks, uber-safe car seats, BPA-free toys to gnaw on … with each of his new retail interests, my heart somersaults at the idea of this dude being our baby’s dad. It’s a superficial-sounding reason to crush so hard on him, I know, but somehow the countless hours of meandering discussions about our deepest parenting fears and wishes are wrapped up in these admissions about preferences of sling fabrics and nursery shelving.

I’m intrigued: What sort of gear—or which pregnancy experiences—did your partner take the most interest in during your 10 months on the job? And when did you receive the most SkeptiStares, yourself?

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