I’m pregnant with our first child. We had some problems getting to this point and now we’re thrilled. The problem is that we made a pact to quit smoking and Mark hasn’t lived up to his part of the deal. I quit a long time ago because my doctor said I should be living a healthier lifestyle to prepare my body to carry a baby. Mark said he would quit as soon as I got pregnant, but didn’t. This has become a central issue in all of our conversations. I’m nauseous 24/7, exhausted, working full-time, swollen and sore, all the while trying to keep up with the chores. This guy comes home, lights up a cigarette and has a beer while watching the news. I think my resentment is quickly turning into hate. If I wasn’t pregnant, I would leave him.
Dear Inconsiderate Partner
You are frustrated and feel like you’re holding the load. Quite literally, you are. There’s no question that you need to put the baby’s well-being first and keeping him or her healthy is the first step.
Smokers are not stupid, they’re addicts. Nicotine is highly addictive. Add to that the new stresses and responsibility of bringing a child into your lives and Mark is probably feeling the added pressure. I’m not making excuses for him, just stating facts that you already know, since you also tackled this challenge and won. Congratulations, that’s huge!
Mark needs a reality check of what it means to you and your unborn child to be around smoke. I’m sure it’s information he already knows, but he needs to hear it from someone other than you. Perhaps a meeting with the doctor, where he could hear about the physical and emotional effects this is having on you and his baby, would be helpful. The responsibilities are just beginning. Try your best not to nag, as Mark has to come to this realization on his own.
In the meantime, work out a compromise. At the very least, he should be smoking
outside, away from you. Have him wash his hands and face, brush his teeth and change his clothes after he smokes, so he does not trigger your nausea. This should be a happy time for both of you. Try to see the bigger picture together as a team, just like when you were working so hard to get to this point.
This winter has been brutal on me and my family’s health. My daughter brings home every germ she can find from daycare. It travels from her, to her sister, to me and then my husband.
The kids and I manage to get through it, but for my husband, it’s like the world has come to an end. He says ridiculous things like, “Mine is so much worse than yours,” or “You have no idea how horrible I feel.” Give me a break. I do everything around here, regardless of a cold, flu or hangnail.
I was ready to throw him out of the house the other day, when I asked for help and he told me he was too sick to move. What am I going to do with him?
Don’t Need a Third Child
Dear Don’t Need a Third Child,
Did you know there is an actual diagnosis associated with your husband’s reaction to being ill? It’s called man-flu.
The Oxford dictionary defines it as a cold or similar minor ailment, as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms.
Now that you know it’s a real thing (but don’t tell him that), you need to deal with the reality of the situation.
I hate to stereotype, but this man-flu thing affects a huge percentage of the male population. Women everywhere are rolling their eyes in solidarity with you. If you find the cure, please share it. You will be an instant hero.
In the meantime, try to be a little sympathetic and get on with your day. Hopefully within the week, your big, strong man will be back to normal and you’ll remember why you married him in the first place.