Now that I have my little one sleeping peacefully in my arms, I can look upon all the 3 trimesters of my wife’s pregnancy and our journey with mood swings with a light-hearted smile. Sailing through the experience was certainly puzzling and fearful at times.
So, here’s the story!
When the doctor affirmed my wife’s pregnancy, I knew right after the initial euphoria will start a saga that will bring with it unknown changes, physically for my wife and mentally, emotionally for me. I was aware of mood swings, food cravings, back pain, morning sickness, fatigue that pregnant ladies get from time to time. Also, I have seen my wife’s mood swings during her pre-pregnancy PMS times and have been able to comfort her with all she asked for. But I didn’t expect what I experienced during the 2nd trimester of her pregnancy! More so I always knew myself as a level-headed man, of a fairly good digestive tract, no leaky gut issues, not prone to mood swings and any panic thought stream.
As I was helping her get over her nausea or hasty mood swings, I saw myself being caught up with a feeling of queasiness, nausea and scattered thoughts that triggered mood swings and endless worries. I also witnessed acidity and went on mulling if my digestion is getting affected. I often saw my wife getting annoyed about extra spicy food or getting excessively emotional regarding daily happenings like the maid not turning up or a relative falling sick. Gradually, I saw myself display the same exasperation if I was served a slightly cold sandwich, food or tea. During an office seminar I only recalled few questions that my mind was circling back and forth to me,
- Will I be a good father?
- Will my baby be healthy?
- Is my wife’s constant mood swings affecting her and our baby?
- Will we be able to manage well the finances?
- Will my wife be able to cope up with labour and birth?
- Is my health all good to carry on the responsibilities as a father?
And when my colleagues who wanted the better of me, asked me to relax, I often got depressed, thinking they don’t get my worries. One day when this vortex of worry and mood-swing got worse and I was unable to focus on a presentation, my manager shared something valuable.
It’s called the Couvade Syndrome! A phenomenon where we fathers-to-be experience what can be best described as sympathetic pregnancy. Under this syndrome our brain partially starts to mimic the bodily changes that our wives undergo during their pregnancy, especially if men are sensitive and tuned into what their wife needs. Undoubtedly, this was my situation. I was relieved to realise the source of my abrupt mood swings.
The solution suggested by my manager was golden! As he too experienced acute mood swings owing to Couvade Syndrome. I was assured that once my baby is born, these symptoms will erase off. But the task was to stay grounded until the 3rd trimester and the finally delivery. For that I was introduced to a 5-minute meditation technique that gradually faded off my mood swings and I was back to my old self offering all the support my wife needed.
But what brought instant relief is the introduction to Couvade Syndrome. I never knew such a phenomenon existed. And thanks to this experience, that I have been able to make meditation a daily practice in my life. I am sure we will parent our little one well.