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Soon to be fathers, something that you will progressively come to understand is that as your partner’s pregnancy approaches its end, it is very likely that she is not going to be the benevolent, caring, loving, generally pleasant person with whom you remember deciding to have a baby. However, do not feel sorry for yourself. After all, you are largely responsible for depositing the little human being that is growing inside of her, who by the way is continuing to push his feet further under her rib cage, and his head deeper and deeper into her bladder.
Even so, despite what she may expect, it is impossible for you to know that your partner’s unpleasantness this weekend stemmed from the fact that she, unbeknown to you, finished the strawberry mascarpone gelato as a mid morning snack, while you were getting the oil changed in the car, and you failed on your way home to bring her another pint. But it doesn’t matter, to some extent nearly every father will go through one version or another of this same scenario.
What does matter is to not lose sight of the fact that you are deeply in love with your partner, even if you have recently forgotten it, and as a result, you are going to be the most exemplary, courteous, and supportive husband that you can be during this increasingly stressful time.
Something that helped me during this time period was when I determined to turn my efforts towards making our home as ready as possible for the arrival of our son. This is commonly referred to as the nesting effect, but for me it was a way to express caring affection towards my wife when some of the other love languages did not appeal to me naturally. One of the ways that I began expressing these intentional efforts was by assuming all household cleaning responsibilities when my wife finished her fifth month of the pregnancy.
Granted we live in a condo, so it’s not like I was taking care of a McMansion or anything, but I became diligent to make sure that the whole condo was cleaned on an every other week basis. One week I would clean the bathrooms and kitchen, the next I would clean the foyer, bedrooms, hall, and living room. My mental approach was to ensure that in whatever case, whether she delivered prematurely or had to be induced at full term, our home would be clean so that we would not have to be concerned about it for at least the first several weeks home with our son.
When I started this routine, I told my wife that I did not think it would be wise for her to be breathing the harsh cleaning chemicals during the final stages of the pregnancy. You see, my wife and I had always shared the cleaning responsibilities since we moved in together, but when I told her I thought it would be best for her to stop cleaning due to her increasing level of discomfort, as well as to protect the development of our son, she was incredibly grateful, and a result, a little bit of congeniality seemed to start returning to our home.
Was it desirable to wake up early every Saturday morning those months to clean the house? No it was not, but when your partner is only getting a few extended naps each night because she is too uncomfortable to sleep, while simultaneously feeling so exhausted that she can not help but eventually pass out just long enough for the feelings of discomfort to overtake the feeling of tiredness, it really does not matter if we father’s feel like cleaning. In fact, no matter how frequent we seemed to argue and bicker as the pregnancy neared the end, when I was able to see my wife with a loving spirit, all I really wanted to do was to help bear some of the burden in whatever way I could, even if that meant vacuuming the couches, mopping the floors, and scrubbing the showers.
As an unexpected bonus, while cleaning, I realized that the silicon caulking in both of our showers, on our master bathroom counter, and behind our kitchen sink needed to be replaced. After watching a few youtube videos, I bought a razor blade, putty knife, caulking gun, and tubes of white and clear silicon. After a few fun hours of DIY, we now have beautifully sealed showers and sinks, and I have a new life skill that I fully expect will serve me well in the future.
Plus, according to askthehandyman, to replace the caulking for a single shower costs around $175 in our area. So after spending less than $50 on materials, I not only have the satisfaction of a job well done, but I also have a fairly large, unexpected sum of cash!
Correction, had a fairly large sum of cash, which has since been spent on diapers, wipes, and formula. More to come on the unexpectedly high costs of having a newborn child in a future article!