Pregnancy is a difficult time for a woman. It can also be a stressful time in one's marriage. Here are 10 things that a man should avoid saying to his wife when she is pregnant.
1. "Man I slept good last night!"
Women do not want to hear this. Pregnancy is an uncomfortable time for a woman. Sleep is scarce and almost always interrupted by glamorous things like acid reflux and frequent trips to the bathroom.
2. "I know how you feel."
No you don't! This statement of attempted empathy doesn't work, so don't even go there.
3. "Don't you think one bowl of ice cream is enough?"
Mothers-to-be often enjoy comfort foods and ice cream is one of them. Cut them some slack and don't make the mistake of monitoring portions or critiquing requests for strange food combinations. If she asks for pickles and peanut butter at 1 A.M., give the woman what she wants!
4. "I think you might have stretched out my favorite pair of shorts."
While this may be true, you should never say it. Pregnant women will do just about anything to be comfortable, including stealing your favorite gym shorts.
5. "Your toes make me hungry for sausage!"
Most women experience uncomfortable swelling in their legs and feet during pregnancy. If your wife struggles with this, keep your comments to yourself, unless you enjoy your evenings alone sleeping on the couch.
6. "Whoa, did one of the kids write on your leg with blue marker?"
Varicose veins are often one of the burdens some women have to endure during pregnancy. No comment about varicose veins is welcome, so avoid that conversation all together.
7. "Why are you crying...again?"
When women are pregnant their hormones can fluctuate. Don't assume they need a "reason" to cry. If you want to help, just offer a shoulder to cry on.
8. "I think it would fun if our kids were a year apart."
This comment may quickly transform the woman you love into a raging monster. Appreciate the pain and sacrifice she is going through both physically and mentally and don't assume she wants to repeat the experience anytime soon.
9. "Epidurals are getting so expensive. I think WE should go natural."
Yes, epidurals cost money, but don't ever include a "we" when talking to your wife about natural childbirth. There is no "we," it's just her.
10. "It feels like you've been pregnant forever."
This could get you a bloody nose. No one feels like the pregnancy is longer than the woman. This is a no-win comment that also should be avoided at all costs.
Be wise. Think before you speak, and just as every parent tells his child, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."
Dave Specht is professor of family business management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also owns Advising Generations LLC, a multi-generational family-business consulting firm. Dave is a speaker and writer on the topic. www.davespecht.com