Like learning a new language

Let’s say you’ve been browsing the web and you come across a new programming language. Naturally, you want to learn everything you can about it, so you hop over to Amazon, order the latest O’Reilly book, and wait for it to be shipped to you.

Nobody has time to wait for an Amazon package.

Think of all that wasted time! So you go back to Google, and you start with the basics of what every programmer knows, Hello World. You’ve done this dance a time or two before, so this first program is easy. You then jump into something more crazy, like a calculator or a TODO app. ūüéČBINGO! That’s when you realize that maybe you should, indeed, wait for the book. If only there was a book like that for the language of pregnancy! I should totally write that book, some day.

Hello World!

All this time, I’ve been figuring out how to act / talk around a pregnant wife. It starts off easy. Mainly since nothing has changed yet. Sure, in about nine months, give or take, your life is going to change forever. But for now, it’s business as usual (your wife isn’t showing yet, and you might even find out you’re pregnant before the morning sickness, starts as Abby and I did). This is just like writing a “Hello World!” program in a new language. You’ve done it before, piece of cake. We talked, joked, teased as normal, just as we did before we found out.

TODO App

Unlike the example above, however, you do not choose to move to making a TODO app of pregnancy. All of a sudden, the morning sickness, constant tiredness, and overall mood changes hit. Not one at a time, but seemingly all at once.

And let me tell you, most of it was what NOT to say. My advice to those who recently found out their wife/girlfriend/partner is pregnant:

You will say something stupid, wrong, or inconsiderate. But during this time, it is not up to you to decide that. If something you said is wrong, apologize and then NEVER say it again.

Read that again. It will help tremendously. If only I had someone tell me that ahead of time. But, as any new dad does, I made some mistakes:

  • “It’s 8 p.m. Why are you so tired?”
  • “Don’t eat those Cheez-its. It’s so late.”
  • “You’re starting to waddle like a pregnant woman!”

Clearly, sometimes i needed to think more before speaking.

Why can’t it be as easy as this?

function respondToWife(whatSheSaid: string) {
  if ( whatSheSaid.contains("how do I look") ) {
    say("Beautiful!")
  } else if ( whatSheSaid.relatesTo("food") ) {
    say("If you want to")
  } else {
    // SAY NOTHING!
  }
}

Since those early days of our pregnancy, I have definitely improved our pregnancy communication on my end (at least that’s what Abby tells me). I believe her about this due to the fact that I haven’t gotten the death stare in several weeks. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

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