Here is one story that I am doing out of compulsion! A compulsion to be fair and open. A compulsion which drives me to see things as it is! A compulsion to tell things as it is.
So, that's enough with the prelude, let me get to the point. I am compelled to write about the poor expectant father syndrome(PEF)!
In all fairness, they are the poor neglected lot. We fuss over the mother-to-be. We inquire about her health. Is she eating well, is she resting, walking, reading good books, thinking good thoughts?!!
Morning sickness, is it bad? Does it happen in the evening? Oh, yes that can happen too...
Baby moving, funny feeling isn't it? Is she kicking badly? Does it hurt?
You poor thing!
BUT what about that guy who occupies the same space as that pampered soul?
(Ok Ok, I can see some women, up in arms. "He" did not pamper me could be their contention. Mmm... possible! But I talk about the general population. The average expectant mother is pampered by her better half and we rarely talk about Him!!)
He is the one who waits patiently outside the clinic room as our EM (expectant mother!), is scanned and scrutinized. Imagine his agony, he bites his nails as he waits for the verdict. "To be or not To be", that is the question. ( For some this phase may be skipped as home pregnancy kits makes it possible for couples nowadays, to avoid such doubt ridden anxiety sessions...It did for us!)
Of course He realizes now that this is just the beginning. This scene is to be repeated every month for the next 7 months and then after that even more frequently!! More so, post baby, for then the specialization of the medico may change but the frequency only sky rockets!!
Let me not forget the number of times he is dragged to the clinic because EM feels funny! Her anxiety rubs off and the Poor Expectant Father has no option but to drop every thing, and drive her straight to the OB/GYN, whose amused, supercilious smile doesn't fail to irritate!
All First-Time mothers are this way; is the advice given. You need to reassure her; is the feedback.(But they forget its First time for Him too!!)
Middle of the night crying sessions on topics and issues long forgotten are common place: hormonal changes, mood swings, is what PEF reads up discreetly from Dr.Spocks. So he bears with it, stoically!!
Cravings somehow hit the beloved at midnight too, probably as a prelude to the preparation required for the babies nightly jamboree.
Daily walks with wife leaning on his hand like the Leaning Tower and resembling a beached whale, becomes common sight for all. He does this too, at her pace, and by her direction!
He is now scared to do any thing that would upset her usual calm! All elders have only one piece of advice, "Keep Her Happy", and he strives to do so to his utmost! (But wonders, biting his teeth, at the unfairness of Contemporary Human Society that makes too much of something which we have inherited by way of Natural Selection and Evolution!! )
Every day becomes a challenge as the enormity of what he has got into sinks within! "Have I bitten off more than I can chew" is a thought often running through his mind like the advertisements at the bottom of the TV screen.
(Too late, it's a quagmire pal!)
Having lived through the 9 months and survived, he too cannot but wait for the D-day with excitement and anticipation.
All the self pity and trials that he faced the past months disappear in a wink as he sees his wife go through an albeit difficult and trying time, the Delivery!
Never again he vows, I cannot put her through this again...
But then the tender minuscule finger that grasps our hand is an addiction in itself, and both husband and wife are now sealed forever into the bond of parenthood.
The process does repeat over, at least once more for some, but we now have a much smarter PEF, who knows when, how and how much to indulge his pampered better half!
Yet before I end this story, I wish to clarify that I never subjected my husband to such trials. I have only aimed to record the stories shared by some expectant fathers'...in an objective manner!
(If you don't believe me, ask my hubby. If he differs ...then just get back to me!!)