Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Daddy Dearest!

Today I am going to talk to all you expecting daddies.  It seems that in the midst of all the physical and mental changes your ladies are going through, you are easily forgotten.  Mommas get to feel all the aches, pains, nausea, leg cramps, flutters, kicks, and growth of the baby, this makes it physically real to women.  For men, it doesn’t work that way; however, men do go through changes during the pregnancy whether they realize or not.  There is something I am sure you have heard called “sympathy pains” that dads-to-be experience.  Some of the these sympathy pains dads experience are: anxiety, nausea, mood swings, weight gain, toothaches, backaches, headaches, and leg cramps.
The first sympathy pain I want to talk about it is weight gain.  I am sure your partner may be experiencing those pregnancy cravings...so naturally you have to eat along side her during those midnight snacks; however, there is a bigger reason for the weight gain you daddies may be experiencing.  Men become very stressed when expecting a baby, whether conscious or subconscious.  Your life is about to change completely and unfortunately men were not blessed with the gift of being able to feel that change physically.  Due to the high stress levels happening to your body, a hormone called cortisol is released.  Cortisol is the “stress hormone”.  It is a tricky little devil because it is what regulates insulin and blood sugar levels in your body.  It is the deviant that causes the weight gain you might be experiencing.  Cortisol increases your appetite and sugar cravings, thus, cause you weight gain.  It binds to receptors in the brain (hypothalamus) and causes you to eat food in high fat and sugar content leading you directly to a bigger size pant.  Know that if this is something you are experiencing, you are not alone.  To counter this, exercise in is the best medicine.  Release those endorphins, reducing your stress, bringing you back to your normal pant size.
If you are feeling extra moody this can also be from the weight gain.  When you gain weight, your body creates more fat tissue, leading your testosterone to become estrogen.  This is the culprit behind and mood swings and nausea you may be having.  Isn’t pregnancy great?
For all those aches and pains you may be having during the pregnancy, be comforted to know that according to studies, they are most likely in your head.  Because of the feelings your partner is having, you physically want to feel this too.  The mind is a very fun thing and can actually trick you into having similar pains as described by your partner.  For women during pregnancy, let’s face it...we are not the most sympathetic to whatever aches and pains your man may think he’s having.  To add to that, men don’t feel needed during the pregnancy...”woe is me”...so you may be finding yourself in competition (subconsciously) with your partner.
As I said before, exercise is the best thing to get your spirits up.  It would be really nice if you and your partner could come up with a workout plan together, even if it is just taking a simple walk together, it will make a huge difference.  Also, keep the lines of communication open.  If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed talk to your partner about it.  Though us women can be unapproachable at time while pregnant, be sure to express how you are feeling.  I must warn you though, never start with “I don’t feel well” or “My *insert body part here* hurts!” Because you will get your head ripped off.  On that note, it is crucial you tell your partner about the fears and anxiety you may be feeling throughout the pregnancy.  It is totally normal to feel this way! Put the baby clothes, nursery paint chips and infant gear aside and go have a date night.  Do your best to make it about each other.
Hope this helps you mommas deal with your partners while they go through their pregnancy changes, and I hope this helps all you daddies to be on your journey to fatherhood!
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