By Marisa Svalstedt
A local woman feels utterly bewildered over her husband’s supposed sympathy pains, which began in the early stages of her pregnancy.
“I’ve heard of things like sympathy gut before, but I’ve never seen it or really took the whole concept seriously. He’s acting more pregnant than I am!” says Emily Sanders.
The mother-to-be says she first noticed during her second month of pregnancy that her husband’s T-shirts began looking a bit snug. “I thought maybe it was the new dryer causing shrinkage to our clothing, but when I entered month three it became apparent that he was indeed gaining some serious weight.”
It wasn’t long before she realized her husband was having cravings for midnight ice cream, large bags of Fritos, and literally eating for two.
“We went to Olive Garden and they were having a ‘buy one, take one’ special where one gets to take an additional free meal home for the following evening. After we’d finished our food, he brought his second meal home and ate it an hour later instead of saving it for the next day. There is no need to eat enough for two grown adults. This baby is like the size of a grape. It doesn’t need two pasta dinners with salad and breadsticks for a single meal,” Sanders complains.
Clearly no one told this husband that his growing child has a stomach the size of a pea…or reminded him that the child is not benefiting from his food consumption. It wasn’t long before her husband’s sympathy gut began getting in the way of other special pregnancy moments. With her husband’s stomach size surpassing her own, she says she felt inadequate in the maternity photos where it looked more like her husband was the one carrying the baby instead of her.
“The photos where we are facing one another, gazing lovingly down at our growing child, are overshadowed by the fact that his stomach sticks out farther than mine and it’s hard to tell which stomach we are looking at,” Sanders says, as she sadly gazes at her pictures.
Though Sanders says she was at first touched by the daddy-to-be’s desire to experience a part of the pregnancy with her, she was not so touched by some of the other gestation-related changes in her husband.
“Whining about his feet hurting, and how he’s tired all of the time feels a bit over the top. He doesn’t notice that my feet must be swollen and sore from carrying his unborn child or that I’m exhausted because my body is working for months on end growing an entire freaking human being! It stops feeling like sympathy when he isn’t actually doing anything to assist the one going through all the real changes!” she claims.
While Mr. Sanders may feel a connection with his wife’s pregnancy symptoms, he certainly isn’t very sympathetic towards her feelings during this grueling process. The final shock came when Sanders’ husband began refusing sex. While it’s common for pregnant women to stop desiring intimacy, there are some lucky husbands whose wives experience a significant increase in libido.
The glowing twenty-nine-year-old boasts, “I am one of those women who suddenly feels overcome with desire and started feeling excited over having some mind-blowing sex with my husband before all those post-baby sleepless nights and leaky boobs take over life.”
Thus far, she is left wanting in the fireworks department as her husband consistently makes excuses about being “too tired,” “having a headache,” and “just not being in the mood,” earning him some serious eye rolls, and often, a luxurious spot on the living room couch.
While Mrs. Sanders remains confident that most of her husband’s phantom symptoms will soon vanish after the birth of their baby, she is worried about how he will adapt once the pregnancy comes to a close.
“I don’t think he realizes that his stomach isn’t going to collapse when our baby is born. I have a baby, and fluid, and placenta in there. He just has fat cells. They aren’t going to vanish overnight. I don’t think he’s yet noticed the stretched-out state of his wardrobe,” she reflects. “And as for sex, I think he’s going to regret ignoring that window of opportunity because now the real work begins.”
In our perspective, this may be just the thing needed to strengthen this odd partnership. This couple will hopefully feel inclined to support one another in their journey as new parents, and also in their trek back to their pre-baby selves, continuing this bizarre team effort in a positive manner. And if not, they can at least enjoy the bonding experience shopping together for new clothes.
About the Author
Marisa Svalstedt is a stay-at-home mom living in Connecticut, with her husband, and their daughter. She received her MA in English from Western Connecticut State. Her writing has been featured on Babble, The Mighty, ParentCo, Her View from Home, and many other publications. In addition to writing she enjoys photography, crochet, and jumping on trampolines.