Thursday October 12 2017

How do men feel when their partners get pregnant?

A couple attend antenatal together. Men and

A couple attend antenatal together. Men and women often look at pregnancy differently. Therefore, do not criticise him if he does not react the way you think he should. Give him space to experience the pregnancy in his own way.  

By Esther Oluka

In 2014, Joseph Otim was excited to learn that his wife Karen was expecting their first child. The enthusiasm grew each passing day as Otim could not wait for the day he got to hold his first born.
“I was always talking about our unborn child, rubbing my wife’s belly and taking pictures of her,” he says.
Despite the enthusiasm, Otim reveals that during the course of the pregnancy, he never had sex with his wife.
“I was scared of hurting the baby even after the doctor assured me that sex does not affect the child inside the womb. Even when my wife badly wanted us to be intimate, I stubbornly refused and advise her to wait until after delivery,” Otim says, adding, “I was very uncomfortable with the whole idea of us having sex when she was pregnant.”
But even after the birth of their son, who was delivered naturally, Otim says he gave his wife some months to heal before resuming being intimate.
The couple’s son is now three years old.
But not all men are like Otim. There are those who enjoy having sex when their wives are pregnant.
During a recent late night talk show on a the radio station, a married man called the presenter complaining that he is always begging his pregnant wife to have sex with him. “I enjoy it but my wife does not. Please advise me on what to do,” the man cried out to the radio presenter.
He was encouraged to have an open discussion with her, highlighting his feelings towards the whole issue. In case the conversation did not yield any fruitful results, the presenter then advised him to wait until she gave birth.

The woman’s body
But how do men feel towards the bodies of pregnant women?
“I was always attracted to my woman’s body until she became pregnant,” says Peter Isingoma. The father of one says his partner was petite before conceiving their first child.
“I am not trying to sound insensitive but only being real with my feelings. My girlfriend was slender in size but after getting pregnant, her body changed. She gained a lot of weight to the extent that I refrained from touching her at times,” Isingoma says.
According to Isingoma, he could not wrap his head around the fact his wife’s body changed a lot during the course of pregnancy.
“A few months after giving birth, I encouraged her to go to the gym to regain her body back,” he says, adding, “She accepted and started exercising twice a week. I am happy that she is losing the baby weight.”
Some women, however, feel that men should be more understanding when they are expecting children because pregnancy comes with a lot of body, emotional and psychological changes.
“We go through a lot during pregnancy. There is the vomiting, body aches, tiredness and the obvious fact that your belly is growing. That is already too much to handle. So, when I tell my partner that I do not feel like having sex, I expect him to understand,” Stella Nakimbugwe, a mother of two says.
Nakimbugwe says she is happy that her husband has never complained about how her body changed after having children. “I gained weight after giving birth to my two children but thank God their father has never told me to lose weight,” she says. Nakimbigwe delivered both her children through caesarian section.
A businessman who preferred anonymity says the problem with some pregnant women is that they dislike their partners being around them during this time.
“My girlfriend hated the whole idea of me touching her. I never had sex with her throughout the nine months she was expecting and even during the three months that followed because her body was healing,” he says, adding, “I silently suffered as a man as my sexual desires were never catered for.”
On how he managed to cope throughout the entire time, the businessman says he instead buried himself into his work.

Daniel Emuron, a family counsellor, advises couples on doing the following things:
•Taking walks together helps couples bond.
•If she does not want to have sex, there are other options including cuddling.
•If she is complaining about body aches, why not offer her a massage instead.
•Rather than leave her home by herself, you could get a movie and watch together. There are also different baby literature materials that couples can read together.