WIFESPEAK: How to make a man panic

Wednesday October 24 2018

A man and his pregnant wife.

Some men have an illogical fear of pregnancy. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KARIMI GATIMI
By KARIMI GATIMI
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Many times, it all starts when girl meets boy. Boy tells her that he worships the very ground that her feet walk on. He writes her sweet emails and texts, in praise of her beauty.

He introduces pizza and Bistros and movie dates, all exotic to her village upbringing. He calls her Chickdee -- don’t judge -- and it excites her, because it is a promise of something big, like girlfriend to fiancée to wife.

She forgets all that her mother and aunts and grandmother and uncle and the neighbours had warned her about the smooth-talking sly boys. She says yes to his invite to spend the weekend at his bachelor pad.

He spoils her with compliments, fine wining and dining and a sinfully passionate weekend. She says yes to many more similar invites. And then she gets a Fools Rush In moment; nature has a surprise for them. She is pregnant.

I call it foolish that an adult male and female would imagine that a baby would not spring out of carefree nights and days spent together in close embrace. From here, the story takes a sad trajectory. The boy, scared of the pregnancy news, bolts. And the girl is left to nurse a heartache, and nurture a pregnancy and later a baby, alone.

PANIC

I used to think that only single irresponsible men are scared of pregnancy news.

That was until I got married and we planned to have a baby, and even marked the possible dates we were likely to conceive. Wasn’t my husband enthusiastic about planting that seed for a baby! And then nature honoured us and voila, I was pregnant.

But after the news sunk in, I watched a relaxed, happy, energetic man metamorphose into a worried workaholic. The bigger my tummy became, the more stressed he got. Every shopping I did was scrutinised. He invested every coin we made. He had this irrational fear of the pregnancy that he only relaxed when the baby was born.

I have seen this reaction with every other pregnancy after that. Maybe it is the whole responsibility that comes with taking care of another human being. Or the idea that a replica of them would now be roaming this earth.

And just when I thought I was the only woman who had a man panicking about her pregnancies, my cousin announced that her husband was so stressed out because she thought that she was pregnant.

“I thought he had always wanted another baby; you are the one that did not want more,” I said.

“Yes, he keeps saying he wants another baby to help find our shoes under the sofa in our old age.”

“So, why then is he stressed?”

“Oh, it’s his nature. He always got worked up when I was pregnant with all the other three.”

That is when a light bulb went off in my head.

GOOD NEWS?

My brother had a similar reaction the first time his wife announced that she was pregnant. He had called me in panic saying: “I don’t know whether this is good news or what, but Sue says she’s pregnant!”

I had laughed, congratulated him, and told him to call me back when he was done panicking.

And I have heard of men fainting too.

Whatever it is, some men have an illogical fear of pregnancy, oscillating with a touch of pride that they did it but quickly replaced with dread.

Just for fun, one morning last week as my husband was getting dressed, I announced: “I want another baby.”

He froze, momentarily forgetting to close his mouth, quite speechless and staring at me. I loved his reaction, as cruel as it sounds now.

When he found his voice, he forgot all his manners.

“At your age?” It was more of an exclamation than a question.

“Speak for yourself darling. I am still a spring chicken. My eggs are still fresh.”

“Are you serious?” he had stopped buttoning up his shirt. It is true what they say; a man cannot chew gum as well as cross the street. Multitasking is not in their wiring.

Are you a little bored and looking for something to add spice into your marriage? Or maybe you have not had a long, interesting and dramatic argument? Throw your husband a curve ball in the name of pregnancy news. Let me know how it goes.

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