Ever read Jekyll & Hyde? If not, I’m pretty sure your familiar enough with the concept. A well respected, pillar of the community doctor develops a potion that transforms him into the exact opposite, a hideous, uncaring beast of a man.
Prepare yourself to watch this happen on a daily basis.
The woman you love is changing in both body and mind. Not taking into account the physical pressures of a tiny human pushing around her internal organs and using her bladder as a waterbed, the scariest parts are the new hormones; essentially they’re The Potion.
As the wee human grows to the size of a watermelon, it’s horrendously uncomfortable for her and ongoing. At regular intervals her rage cup will runneth over.
These little bastards are like an army of demons invading her brain, causing reason and patience to be driven into submission. It’s a heightened time for the both of you, but be under no illusion, you will not have it as bad as her and she won’t fail to remind you. And she’s right about it.
The incumbent parent issues of a man will shoot in an opposite direction. While the Mum suddenly focus all her attention on herself and the responsibilities of ensuring this little tadpole gets the absolute best shot of coming out with all extremities intact, the Dad view gets a lot wider – we look at the child readiness of the home, the comfort levels of Mum, a job that still requires a lot of your attention and you’re probably going to have to act as a bouncer from well meaning family that are starting to get too involved. You don’t ever really sit and take personal stock.
As the wee human grows to the size of a watermelon it’s horrendously uncomfortable and ongoing and at regular intervals her rage cup will runneth over. The baby may have decided to recline on her spinal column for the day or use the inside of her ribs for a cross-fit work out. The powder keg has been primed and there is no telling what will set it off. In any case she can’t blame the baby, so next in line is… you. It will always be you. The emotional punching bag.
Remember – this is from Hyde. The Monster. This isn’t your wife or girlfriend, but from that black legion of hormones. Your most important job is now to take every one of those verbal haymakers with as much neutrality as possible. Don’t bite back. For her, just getting it out is probably just want she needs. If you’re lucky, after an hour or so she may come out of the Devil Fog and apologise or at least recognise that it wasn’t your fault. Then again you may never speak about it again. Either way, it happened and you need to harness all your male compartmentalisation to put it in a little locked mind box.
When the baby is born you could be forgiven for thinking those demons have left her body and into the nearest priest – but Good Lord, no. If anything they are stronger. Couple that with no sleep, terror at not knowing what to do, you snoring soundly and still able to go to work and engage with other adults and those rage moments take on a new level.
You’re going to want to tell her that she’s being unreasonable or hope for some semblance of a logical structure to the dressing-down, but none of it exists. This is an Escher staircase of an argument.
She’s doing so much of the heavy lifting. You’re job is to support with everything you have, and then you’ll need to support some more. She’ll fight and beat the evil army and soon the woman you know and love will be back.