Often you may not know, with certainty, you're living with a pregnant woman. They won't even let you ask without getting all offended. You're somehow "just supposed to know." Like men can read minds! Luckily, human readers, I'm here to help. Below are ways you can know, for sure, that you're living with a pregnant woman.
1) You come home from work one day mistakenly thinking you entered the wrong house "Nesting" is a common occurrence for pregnant women as they get the house "ready" for the baby, which is ridiculous; like the baby is going to be all judgy about its living quarters. If you have a shoebox, drawer or (in the case you're one of those fancy couples) a crib, your house is fully prepared.
The house was fine before, but suddenly it becomes incredibly NOT fine. You might as well be living in a mud hut (and not even a NICE one. A mud hut that has OLD mud that isn't even cute). The term "nesting" is apt, in that she's focused on the baby's comfort and the ambiance of the home, as SHE wants. As for you, you're fine to just sleep on a pile of sticks or garbage or whatever. Nobody cares. You're just the hired help.
Returning home one day can result in a feeling that you entered a wormhole somewhere on your commute. The downstairs is now upstairs. Or there's an entirely new addition to your home and your wife is panting with a crazed look in her eye, using tools A) you didn't know you had and B) wouldn't know how to use.
"How did you move the couch/bed/dressers?" you'll ask, befuddled. "And didn't our house used to be grey?
It's like she's conducting some manic, baby feng shui. Heaven forbid the baby think he or she will be living in a home with unacceptable drapery. I picture my wife sobbing as our newborn continues to cry.
"He/She HATES the wallpaper pattern!" she would exclaim, and "See? I TOLD you we should've gone with the zebra lampshade!"
She will go through more home modifications and preparations for the arrival of a baby than for the zombie apocalypse.
2) The elephant in the room Weight gain (which is perfectly normal! You look great! So sexy!) Of course, nobody is comparing a woman to an elephant here, least of all me (though they DO have excellent memories, elephants, able to recall an unintended, offhanded comment made nine years ago by her mate and bring it up to illustrate a carefully-constructed point like she's been conducting twice/day seminars on Stupid Things You Say. Again, elephants do this. By trumpeting and such.).
If she had her way about it, she'd be nine months pregnant with a nine-pound person inside her and people would approach her, mistakenly thinking she was competing in a national bodybuilding competition.
Anyway, who said weight gain? Ha ha! Again, not me! Erthat doesn't happen. Nope. Let's move on.
4) You're forced to lie constantly. That's not to say you want to, but when she says, "I don't really look six months pregnant, do I?" the proper response is NOT "at least." Men should be forgiven for not having the slightest idea how a woman "should" look at varying stages of pregnancy. We don't conduct polls or focus groups.
You're to "tsk" in disgust when viewing a picture of some celebrity that looks great only a few weeks after having their own child.
"Look at that, Beyonc just had a baby and you can't even tell," she'll say, forlorn.
"Well, she probably has a nutritionist, personal chef and a couple of trainers; not to mention the time to exercise regularly," you might say, helpfully.
Idiot. Don't do that. You're not supposed to rationalize or theorize. You're supposed to agree how unfair everything is. Everything is stupid and unfair, you big dummy.
5) Similarly, you're constantly navigating carefully-laid traps The favorite is walking anywhere and offhandedly being asked, "Do I look that big?" pointing to another alleged pregnant woman. You would prefer tiptoeing through a dimly-lit cavern full of bear traps, snakes and poison arrows than face this impossible scenario.
These trap questions are crafty. Answer, "Of course not" too quickly and you're apparently not being sincere. Answer too late and she will assume the answer is "yes." There's a correct timing and tone, but unfortunately that's only known by Richard Dreyfuss.
It's like you're training for Starfleet and faced with the Kobayashi Maru or "unwinnable scenario." The only way to "win" is to avoid the situation entirely. Be careful! Simply changing the subject results in a default answer ("Yes"), so it's advised you pick a diretion, yell out "Charge!!" and run away.
Breasts Let's face it, this is the one redeeming quality about this whole ordeal. Unfortunately it's like she's her own bouncer in an awesome club you're not invited to (I imagine it called "Stacked" or "Double Whammies"): you're allowed to look, but not touch (or even look too long at), else you're physically carried out, banned from the area and your name is put on a Keep Out list for the foreseeable future.
Many women choose to hide their newfound treasures, which I don't understand. It's like getting that new car you've always wanted then keeping it in your garage to where not even the suggestion of an admission fee precipitates a private tour. And just like getting a new car, you'd be more than happy to carefully scrub and detail to achieve maximum results. For free!
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via noodle messages. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he'll ask you if you're pregnant and want details on how it happened (kinda awkward).