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The One Thing You Shouldn’t Say to Your Pregnant Partner

Iknow a lot of wonderful men. Smart, funny, caring men who are stellar husbands in so many respects. They excel at things ranging from pancake-making to providing for their families to re-wiring doorbells to discussing the minutiae of foreign policy.

Almost to a Y chromosome, though, the moment their wives become pregnant, these men seem to lose the ability to fulfill the most basic elements of partnership: being nice, being helpful, and being interested without being bossy.

Is it really THAT complicated?? It seems so simple. So obvious! But maybe just to be extra clear, what the pregnancy partners of America need is a set of “do nots.” So, with a heavy sigh born of the absurdity of having to put them in writing, here goes:

DO NOT…

  • Comment on a pregnant woman’s intake of food. Ever, under any circumstances. This includes facial expressions and the movement of eyebrows. Don’t comment on the volume or on the food itself. Even if you’re asking what you perceive to be an innocent question about the “rules” for eating [whatever food] while pregnant, keep in mind that your wife is an adult human who herself has access to the internet, books, and “helpful tips” from friends and strangers and mothers alike. She has also been to the doctor 11,000 times in the last several months, and has likely discussed a food plan with her OBGYN.  (And yes, you should understand that said “food plan” might include skipping dinner entirely one night because of crippling heartburn, and then eating two full pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream with a side of soft cheese and deli meat for breakfast.)
  • Comment on her size. Ever. This includes her size overall, her size as compared to previous pregnancies/other women, and the size of specific body parts.
  • Try to have sex with her. She probably feel gross – don’t yourself be gross.
  • Seem uninterested in having sex with her. She probably feels gross – don’t make her feel that you agree.
  • Lament the fact that you aren’t having sex/as much sex as you used to. She knows, and is either relieved, guilt-ridden, self-conscious or, most likely, some combination of the three.
  • Ask questions that show you have no idea how the female human body works. Fine (I guess?) if you don’t know exactly how many weeks a typical pregnancy lasts, or why being pregnant results in enlarged and darkened nipples, or what “discharge” is, but at least have the decency to fake it, or at the VERY LEAST the decency to hide your ignorance.
  • Ever utter the phrase “We’re pregnant.”
  • Ever say words to the effect of “This pregnancy has flown by.”
  • Comment on anything in the nursery, unless it is to fawn over the items in it and/or the thoughtful effort that went into procuring them.
  • Fail to comment on the nursery, like you have a complete disinterest in the baby’s new home.
  • Ever utter the sentence “Maybe you’d feel better if you got some exercise.”
  • In any way refer to her pregnancy as having been “easy,” “straightforward” or “uneventful. Though it may have been in the grand scheme of things, a woman currently sitting on a single butt-cheek to avoid the shooting pain of a newly-blossomed hemorrhoid does not need to hear you mansplain how the pregnancy has been “textbook.”
  • Complain about any physical issue you may be having without prefacing with the words “I know that this is nothing compared to what you’re going through, but…”
  • Call your pregnant partner crazy, even when she is being crazy.
  • Imply that your sleep is disrupted by the number of times per night your wife gets up to pee.
  • Comment on the number or amount of charges to Amazon.
  • Ever in any way suggest that you understand or relate to the pain of childbirth. Here are things that do not hurt as much as unmedicated labor:

A vasectomy, getting kicked in the balls, kidney stones, gas, indigestion, a pinched nerve, a thrown-out back, a hangover.

If, for whatever reason, you are incapable of avoiding the above, good LORD what is wrong with you UGH.

That said, all is not COMPLETELY lost. But listen up, because this is make or break: you at least have a shot of making it to the delivery room with a relatively intact marriage if you don’t ever, ever, no matter what, ever

… say you’re tired.



Alice Leiter is a recovering lawyer living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and four children. Her hobbies include making fun of her family on Instagram, watching Bravo, and worrying that people are mad at her. She hates when grown women call her “Mama.” Reach her at alice@aliceleiter.com.