Hormones 101

BEFORE pregnancy, I had a brief awareness of two little hormones called oestrogen and progesterone, they were responsible for monthly emotional outbursts over sad music videos and tragic montages in romance movies.

Or anti-smoking ads. Once during Free Willy (am still trying to live that down).

The blow could be softened with a bath, a block of chocolate or a good cry. All three on bad days.

Now though, I call them the “beast within” and there is no placating them.

I can picture them rampaging about in my system as angry mobs waving around pitchforks and flaming torches.

I am barely more than four months along, but so far have cried at: barking dogs, crying children (mine), pants that won’t fit, the walls…

And if I’m not crying, I’m screeching.

If my neighbours are reading, they’re sure to be nodding in agreement. Probably very tired of my howls of “you just don’t get it” to my better half.

Never mind if I started the tirade, I’ll be the one to bellow that he doesn’t understand, doesn’t care and doesn’t know when to leave me alone.

For the record, my husband does care and he does try to understand ā€“ usually about when I demand to be left alone.

Pregnant women don’t make it easy on men.

But why should we? We’ve got to do everything else on the “incubating” front.

If they have to suffer the slings and arrows of O&P, that is a comparatively small price to pay when you think of just what a pregnant woman must go through to bring a new life into the world.

And I’m not talking about labour – that’s a whole other column.

I’m talking about the physical and physiological changes we go through well before the contractions start.

For example: I’m carrying around an extra litre of blood at present; my breathing has already shallowed as my lungs are being squished; I cross my fingers (and legs) if about to sneeze and I can just forget about my modesty when I’m about to be sick (which is often); relaxin hormones are stretching my ligaments and muscles, creating a “stitch” in some parts and making my hips feel like they’re floating around somewhere in my now-ample buttocks, grinding together whenever I need to get off the couch; my skin has “the glow”, which in my reality is red, blotchy and prone to acne.

Sounds fun?

Add to this the psychological complication that is hormone imbalance and you’ve got one very muddled up mum-to-be.

But rather than point out the various trials I’m facing, I’m more likely to get cranky or cry over: the time it takes to wind up a car window; or bins that need emptying.

It seems communication has been forfeited for whingeing and moaning.

So, what’s my advice for men suffering with a Jekyll-Hyde wife?

Agree with her.

Now is not the time to point out where she’s going wrong.

Unless, you know, you want your face rearranged. Don’t question her method or her sanity, just nod sympathetically and apologise.

After all, you did play a part in this.

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