Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tummy Talk

Now that I can really feel this little guy moving, I enjoy talking to my belly more than ever. I have been talking to him for a long time now, but I am starting to feel less silly about it. I read a book to the baby every night before bed, I rub my stomach with cocoa butter lotion, and tell the baby about life outside and how much fun we are going to have. I really love it.

My husband, on the other hand, is not into the belly.

And it hurts my feelings.

A lot.

While most people from my parents, to friends, even to my boss, are really into the belly. They will pat it, rub it, and talk to it. My husband really seems to only interact with the belly when I "force" it, either by walking up to him and sticking my blossoming stomach into his face, or taking his hand and firmly placing it on my abdomen. He will grudingly say, "Hello, Baby." or leave his hand for a few seconds, before pulling it quickly away. The other night, he not-so-politely told me that I needing to stop "forcing" it and that he will do it when he is comfortable. Which seems to be never.

I have tried not to let this bother me, but it does, on several levels. One, I feel it is a rejection of the baby. Two, I feel it is a rejection of me and my changing form. I know, I know. Rampant, raging pregnant hormones do not a logical woman make. I was wondering for you ladies out there (and any gentleman that might stumble across this site): Are your husbands into the belly? Any suggestions for how to get him more involved?

21 comments:

Mel said...

Do you think maybe he's just afraid to get too attached after all you've been through?? I am sure he's not just turned off by the belly, there's probably some deeper issue there and maybe it really just is hard for him? I am useless with no suggestions, but I will certainly pray for you two and hopefully he'll get on the belly bandwagon soon. ;)
*hugs*

Joe said...

I think this is crazy. My wife is not pregnant (yet), but sometimes, while complaining about her weight, she will demonstrate her "bloating" by sticking her stomach out as far as she can while imploring me to look at it. I oblige her, and sometimes even touch it while imagining what it will be like when there's a baby in there (instead of Thai food and/or Carnation Instant Breakfast) I can't wait to play with her belly.

Fertilized said...

Katie - i am so sorry your feelings are getting hurt. Have you xplained to him about your feelings? ...I get emails from one of the weekly updates sites with a memo for the father to be - forward those to his emal box?. try that? and i will say prayers

gracechild said...

Ugh Katie, one hard lesson I'm learning between us & our men, the emotions are the same but the outward manifestations can be different. One thing you know in your heart is that he definitely wants & loves this baby. Give him time to work out by himself how to best express that love.

Maria said...

So wonderful how you enjoy spending time with your belly and bonding.

I agree with Mel, maybe he's scared to get too attached and worried about what might happen. He's shielding his heart.

Keep talking to him, maybe you can help him figure it out.

Tracy said...

I don't know...I think some men (and even women, really) are different about that. My husband thinks it's weird. Not bad weird, but WOW that is crazy weird. He'll feel it once in awhile, but he's almost like a little kid that touched something he's not supposed to. More and more he's getting comfortable with it, but I think it just takes time.

Has he spent much time around pregnant women? It may just be something he's not yet comfortable with.

Hang in there, and try not to take it personally...I know...it's hard.

Waiting Amy said...

I agree with mel -- could he just be nervous to become attached? After all your difficulties it might be a scary time for him. And this is a tough phase, the baby seems more real, but we are not quite at viability. I know I have moments where I feel a little disconnected because I worry if something were to happen.

Hang in there and talk about it. I'm sure you will figure it out. And knowing men, it will take him a few tries before he really can verbalize his feelings.

Kristen said...

I too agree with Mel. For the longest time, DH wouldn't talk to the baby or touch me. I think it was his way of protecting himself after our losses, but it hurt my feelings and made me think he didn't want to be a part of it all. He truly was afraid of getting too attached and then having it snatched away. Only recently has he started to come around. It just took him time to really believe in this. He doesn't always touch the belly but he will ask me how the baby is doing and he will talk and feel him now and again. I think men just have their own emotional timeline. I hope he comes around soon. XOXO

Nicky said...

Here's a different perspective: my husband is much more into talking to my belly than I am. He'll put his hand on it and talk to the baby. But me? I rub my belly and rest my hands there and think about the baby, but I don't talk to it. It's not about fear and it's not about being uncomfortable with the changing shape. It's just that I feel silly talking to my stomach. There's a baby in there, and there's certainly a big visible baby bulge, but it still feels like I'm talking to my pancreas, which isn't normal, sane behavior. So I don't do it. But I don't think that it's going to make any difference when bonding after birth.

My advice: don't force it with your husband, just involve him other ways. Tell him when the baby's kicking, talk about the future, put him to work assembling baby furniture, whatever. But don't automatically read something negative into his reluctance to coo lovingly to your liver.

Julie said...

I don't think it's that unusual, Katie. I'm constantly amazed at how my belly is changing, and DH definately has less interest in it than me. I don't think that he's in any way less excited about having a baby--i think it just is a different experience for him. I've also been saying things like, "oh baby girl is saying hi," and then he'll talk back to my belly, but most of the time I initiate that 'conversation.' I'm not worried though-I think it's just harder for him to grasp that there's a rlb inside! Maybe when he can feel her moving it will sink in more. I think it's just a guy thing.

Btw, i just emailed you!

have a good day,
Julie

Anonymous said...

Even with all of the Ultrasounds and heartbeat checks, the idea that a baby is growing inside of you women is still very abstract for us men. This will change once a kick is felt or once we experience some other form of physical connection to the baby. Until then we sometimes feel uncomfortable or strange talking to your stomach or having a conversation with the baby. You should also consider that most men have absolutely no experience with being around pregnant women, especially with touching their bellies. Honestly it is a little scary for us and it takes time for us to get used to the idea. Anyway, I hope you will be patient with him as I'm sure he will come around as he becomes more comfortable.

My Reality said...

I would think that maybe he will get more into it when he can feel the baby move. Maybe if he knows it hurts you, he will try a little more.

Ally said...

Katie, I'm sorry you're finding your husband's distance from your tummy to be painful. I can completely see why you would be hurt. Lots of good ideas have already been posted as to why this might be the case and I'm afraid I don't have anything new to add. I'll just keep hoping things change for him soon and that he's able to connect with you in the way you need.

Busted said...

I'm sorry your husband isn't more into the belly. I have to agree with mel though and wonder if it's just that he's scared to get attached? While I'm sure that is still difficult, it may not be you or his lack of affection for baby. I hope he grows to love your belly and talk to it!

Nurse Lochia said...

It may be that even though you would think it woudl make him feel involved, it may just be really hard for him. My husband wasn't so into the whole belly thing most of the time. I think it just seemed to alien to him, too far from what he'd ever feel. He did come around after ahwile and the really strong kicks that start about 28 weeks got him involved. I think its just hard for guys because really they are outsiders to the whole pregnancy thing.

Joy said...

I agree with Mel. He's probably afraid to get attached! My hubby was like this, too, and it hurt. He never read a single parenting/baby book or helped with the nursery. The only things he got into were putting things together (crib, stroller, etc.) and picking out names.

Personally I felt weird talking to my unborn baby. I don't really know WHY. So maybe he just feels weird about it???

Geohde said...

Maybe he just feels a bit sily talking to a belly? I must admit, if I wasn't feeling the kicks so often, I probably would.

My husband does the belly thing occasionally, he does it more now he gets lots of kicks. They're still a novelty for him,

J

Polka Dot said...

aw katie, I'm sorry he hurt your feelings.

I do think men react differently. A friend of mine lamented how all sex stopped once you could feel the baby move by touching her stomach. She said he felt the baby move in the middle of a session and that was it. He was so freaked, there was no more sex. At all.

I think he just needs patience and time. You know he loves the baby and he wants the baby. He's just reacting differently than you are, is all.

Adriane said...

I think Mel's theory is a good one. Perhaps he is afraid to get attached. I'm not sure about ways to get him involved, but maybe mentioning when the baby is moving, kicking, will make it seem more real to him?

You should definitely tell him how you feel and make sure he understands that your feelings are being hurt. I'm sure he'll come around. Hang in there!!

moosk said...

hey katie,
i'm sorry your husband isn't into the belly thing. i know that it's something you want to share with him... especially now that your fears are being overshadowed by your excitement. there have been a lot of good suggestions posted here, but i'm with those who suggest that you not push it... it just seems like something that he will warm up to in his own time and way, not something that you can force him into. from all that you've told us, i'm sure that he will be a wonderful dad and will be completely smitten with your little boy. this just might not be how he shows it. i'm sorry it's hurting you though.

Antigone said...

A lot of guys don't get into the belly until the baby is large enough to really feel/see.