Next spring u/guywithgirlwithabike and I will be adding a sidecar to the bikes. Now that the dreaded first trimester is over, I want to share with you what I’ve learned about RPW principles, men (or at least my man) and early pregnancy. This is my experience. They say every pregnancy is different and I’m hoping that other women will add their experiences in the comments.
The Wall: aka declining fertility
There are as many interpretations of The Wall as there are members on the RP subs. I’ve always believed that for RPW it is important to consider for fertility purposes. At 35 I had an alarmingly easy time getting knocked up but I still believe that kids should not be delayed for as long as we did.
I’m the fourth in my group of five girlfriends to get pregnant over the last two years (with number five being devoutly childfree). Two of us had an easy time. Two had over a year of pain and heartbreak before conceiving. While I am thrilled to have the easy time that we did, hormones kick up all the worry that comes so naturally to many women.
So while I generally score low on personality trait neuroticism, that hasn’t stopped me from dwelling nonstop on how “advanced maternal age” will impact the little baby biker that I’m carrying. If we want to have more than one, it’s also in our best interest to do fairly back to back pregnancies which will be rough. Upside: since I’m an old lady my insurance covers all the tests.
Takeaway: Even if you take care of your looks, remember the fertility wall and plan accordingly.
I’ve never been more glad that I read “For Women Only” than I have been these last three months. The lessons in that book really helped me to understand some of what Husband has been going through.
His provider instinct kicked in immediately and with it, a good deal of stress. I gave him some space and encouraged him to talk with friends. We had some long talks (that started as fights, more on that later) in which I was able to assure him that I was confident in him, together we would get through whatever and I didn’t expect anything long term decisions to be rushed. Knowing that he has this drive to provide for his family helped me to understand where all his stress was coming from.
His protector instinct also kicked in. The weekend after we found out he had a solo bike trip planned. He was going to meander through the state with a hammock and a camp stove for a few days. These are trips he takes from time to time to decompress and he always stretched them for as long as time allowed. I knew something in our world had shifted when he showed up at 9pm on Friday night. The Gay BFF and I were eating take out on the couch and he came in and announced: “I realized I was heading in the wrong direction”. Who are you and what did you do with my husband?!?
I make sure to address his instincts by graciously accepting whatever he offers. I lean on him to take care of me when I feel bad, to run out for food. I try my best to show appreciation and I tell him what a wonderful husband he is and how I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else.
Takeaway: There are paternal instincts that kick in. Recognize where they might cause stress and do your best to understand that his world is changing too.
Ugh Pregnancy Hormones
I’ve heard that your pregnancy symptoms are similar to how you experience PMS. This was mostly true for me and meant general agitation along with soul crushing fatigue. Oh and I was really stupid. I had to stop reading books for a few weeks.
Over the years I’ve gotten decent at identifying when I’m cranky and letting Husband know. A lot of RPW ideas involve a level of stoicism with male nature. Well let me tell you, I had to relearn both these things in the first trimester. I found myself apologizing more than once when I realized I was bitchy for no real reason.
I also had a hard time handling his stress, even though I completely understood where it came from. We had a few knock down drag out fights that got out all of our stresses. All in all it was like being a volatile teenager again for a few weeks. Now I pay more attention to the quality of my mind and my emotions and am careful to identify the days I feel prickly.
I’ve also turned into an absolute garbage cook and housekeeper. This is also where allowing him to take care of me comes in. He’s picked up the slack so very much and told me the most important thing is to rest. Instead of getting angsty about not doing my jobs around the house, I believe that as the leader, he means what he says. I do what I can when I can. He does my chores when I can’t. I thank him for being wonderful when my brain works enough to remember.
Takeaway: He’s the leader so let him lead. Hormones are the worst, learn to recognize them and work around them.
This was the part of the first trimester where no RPW advice could possibly help me. My sex drive tanked and I felt tired and crappy more often than not. I couldn’t even give blow jobs as a consolation prize because the constant low level nausea made it too difficult.
Thankfully, even though sex is important to men, they aren’t thoughtless pigs and my husband was more than sympathetic.
We did have sex when all the stars aligned, the moon was full and it was a crisp 65 degrees. I jest but it definitely felt that way for 3 months. What I did do was tell him constantly that I was still attracted to him and that I couldn’t wait until the second trimester when everything is supposed to improve. When I had sex dreams about him, I woke up and shared immediately even if we couldn’t act on them. I made a point a few times to do my hair and make up or put on lingerie ie: put in the effort for sex even when it was sporadic.
He went to the gym … a lot.
Takeaway: Even if the act is infrequent, letting him know I still wanted him seemed to help. Also, sometimes you can’t and that just has to be ok.
We’re right at the end now and all the symptoms have been steadily improving. He is still taking care of me but I’ve been able to return to more of my normal chores. His stress has gotten better (or he’s gotten better at hiding it) as the new reality has settled in.
My overall takeaway from trimester one is that it’s the time when the Captain really is the Captain. You do what you can while he steers the ship. This is exactly why we are evolved to seek men with protector and provider traits.