Aya and I recently went public about us expecting our second child. And by public, of course I mean, Facebook public. The Facebook announcement always makes everything really “official,” right? We did announce the good news to some of our friends and family before that though. And let me tell you, when it comes to hearing pregnancy announcements, men and women react totally different.
For the most part, guys just say, “Hey man, that’s awesome. Congrats.” There might be an awkward pause as the guy receiving the news doesn’t know what else to say and the guy giving the news isn’t sure the person he’s told wants to hear anymore about it. A guy who is already a father might say the same thing but with a little more excitement. Or they might add on the stereotypical warning, “Live it up while you can, you’ll never sleep again,” or “I have two already, you sure you don’t want one of mine?” But for the most part, that’s it. No questions, no discussion, it’s just back to business as usual.
Women on the other hand, are a little more exuberant when giving and receiving the news. There may be some squealing involved, excited hugs, crying, and a lot of “Oh my gosh!!! I’m SOOO excited for you guys!!! Awwwww, you’re going to be great parents!”
After the overwhelming news is out and the initial excitement settles, the series of rapid fire questions for the expectant mother begins. “How are you feeling? Are you nauseous? When are you due? Any cravings? Do you know what you’re having? Are you going to find out? Have you picked out a name? Where are you having the baby? Who’s your OB/GYN? Are you taking time off? Are you going to nurse?”
For the most part, sharing the news is a positive experience for the woman. However, there are usually one or two women that need to slide in their doom-and-gloom comments or say congrats with a backwards compliment like, “You know, I figured you were because your face has been getting fuller.Â Congratulations!”
It’s usually from an older, overly motherly co-worker that doesn’t have a filter. She thinks she’s helping, but she’s really just more insulting and depressing than those books that list every possible thing that can go wrong. She’ll say things like, “You might feel good now, but I had a detached uterus and was bed ridden for 7 months. And you know my husband wasn’t worth a damn, so don’t expect any help from yours. Men have no clue what’s going on. You’re on your own.”
These dark stories tend to increase in frequency for women the further along the pregnancy progresses. Guys don’t get these warnings. If anything, when it’s really close to the due date, they’ll start taking bets on when the baby will come.
Yeah, it sure is different between men and women. It doesn’t stop with the pregnancy announcement though. It’s also when the baby is born and everyone is coming to visit for the first time. When guys come to visit, they are usually quiet, stay back, and don’t know what to say or do. If they say anything it’s usually about a subject they know; poop. “Did she poop? I think she pooped? Okay, now I think she pooped.”
Women are totally different. “Let us know when we can visit!” they ask excitedly as soon as they hear the baby has arrived.
And when they do come over, they bring treats, food, baby clothes, balloons, and flowers. And they all say the same thing. “Oh my gosh! Look at those tiny baby feet! I just looooove baby feet, I could eat them up!”
Could you imagine if when visiting a baby for the first time I said, “Oh my gosh! Where’s the butter and onions? I’m gonna eat those little baby feet!” Yeah, it wouldn’t go over so well. But we gladly let women sharpen knives and lick their chops when babies’feet are around. It’s just the way it is.
After the initial excitement settles down, women start with the questions. “How was your labor? How are you feeling? How are YOU? Tell me everything.” And they actually really do want to know all the details. Guys don’t need or want to know. My brother was uncomfortable when I texted him the word ‘dilated.’“I don’t need to know the details,” he wrote back. I spared him the details that night, but he was lucky enough to hear the story in person when we told the family about our birth experience. It may have included some hand gestures and noise simulations too.
I can’t blame him though. I’m a total guy when it comes to this stuff. But now having been through this before, I try to be a little more engaging when talking about babies and pregnancy. And so far the feedback on this second pregnancy has been pretty much the same as with Ellie. Only now the parents with multiple children feel it necessary to warn us. “Hey congrats! You thought one was a handful, just wait until you have two…”
Handful or not, we are really excited to grow our family and for Ellie to be a big sister!