Now that I’ve pretty much hit the half-way point in my pregnancy, I’m starting to get questions from parents and in-laws about actual BABIES that I don’t know the answers to. What vaccinations do they need before they come to visit? (Whooping cough! And probably some other stuff; I only know that one thing.) How long before the baby can go out in public? What are the best methods for not accidentally murdering your baby? And so on. I have no idea, so I went out and bought myself a copy of What to Expect: The First Year.
The first 2,700 pages or so are dedicated to breastfeeding. So pretty early into my What the Hell Do I Do With a Baby investigation, I come across this amazing piece of advice: “If dad feels jealous or unsettled at the thought of your breastfeeding, have him read the facts, too.” Because you’re going to pop out that kid and start feeding him, and your husband will immediately go into a violent rage, shouting things at the baby like. “Hey, asshole, that’s my wife!”
There have been ALL KINDS of helpful hints about what to do about your insane husband in my “What to Expect” readings so far. One of my favorites is in the “Fathers Are Expectant, Too” section of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s the chapter you’re supposed to make your husband read (and they pretty consistently say “husband” over “partner,” “co-parent,” or “person who probably knocked you up and now has to live with the consequences”), because you can’t possibly expect your husband to read an entire goddamn book, for crying out loud. (For the record, my particular husband has also not read an entire book on the subject, mostly because we haven’t found anything that isn’t terrible.) This chapter for dads is largely about sex during pregnancy, and how, especially during the first trimester, your wife might not be into it or might be too sick or sleepy for sexual intercourse to be practical. Or the doctor may have put her on pelvic rest. Or whatever. They advise trying to be patient and not forcing or coercing her into having sex with you. They found it necessary to tell people not to rape their wives. So, if you’d been considering raping your wife, you should read this chapter first.
Pro-tips like these are peppered all throughout the book. They mostly seem to focus on how to handle a partner who is grossed out by how pregnant he got you. I feel like these books would be about 100 pages shorter if, instead of dedicating a paragraph in each topic on how to deal with your volatile husband, they just repeatedly said: “If your husband has concerns or is making demands related to this completely straightforward topic, turn to page 42.” And page 42 should say: “You are in a weird and abusive relationship. You should take yourself and your unborn child to safety. Your Aunt Matilda in Minnesota has a spare room and she would probably be happy to take you in until you got back on your feet. Here’s $250. Good luck.”