Expecting More From “What To Expect”

Upon the news of our pregnancy, I did what any 21st century expectant father worth his smartphone would do–I went to the app store to see what apps were available to guide me through the process of this nine-month miracle.

In terms of free options1, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” seems to have the market cornered, so my wife and I both downloaded the app.

I was disappointed, but not shocked, to see that most of the content in the app is dedicated to expectant mothers. Even if you sign up as a male, expectant father when you log into the app, nothing really changes. Everything is still directed at mothers.

And that’s fine, I guess.2

But imagine my delight today when I received an email from the app directing me to the What to Expect website for a story entitled A Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy: Month 4. Hey, that’s for me! After reading the article however, it most certainly was not what I was expecting and definitely was not for me.

Like so much of popular culture today, the article–on a pregnancy preparation website from the so-called “world’s most trusted pregnancy brand”–reduces fathers to a minimal role in their wives’ pregnancies and offers advice to satisfy a stereotyped version of a husband and father that has previously only been conjured by the writing staff of King of Queens.

Let’s take a look at some of the essential advice the site believes I need to make it through the fourth month of my wife’s pregnancy.

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Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Right out of the gate. I guess I missed last month’s advice, so let’s slow down a bit. They really think men need to be warned not to describe their pregnant wives as fat? This also seems to imply that men are freely describing their wives as fat when they’re not pregnant as well. At least they only want us to abstain from ridiculing our wives’ weight during pregnancy. I half expected this tip to end with “Don’t worry, men! There’s still plenty of time to throw around that F-word when she’s not pregnant.”

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Ah, men. They’re so ridiculous. Always chasing thrills and looking for dangerous adventures. Those days are behind you, buddy. It’s time to trade in your Harley for a Diaper Genie, and you should probably stop zip lining to work. The baby needs you. Who else is going to tell your wife she’s getting fat if you’re not around to do it?

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Ah, men. When they’re not riskily driving without a seat belt or verbally berating their wives’ weight, they’re climbing into bed and hoping to get lucky. Fortunately, this article has tips for ways to try to trick your wife into getting what you want! Take her outside for a walk and let the exercise burn off some of those excessive hormones that have been making her such a monster. By the time you get home, both of you should be fully transformed into the sitcom version of a married couple–a husband demanding sex from his withholding wife.

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Clearly, I’ve saved the best worst for last. If you are a husband and you read the above paragraph and aren’t left with your mouth hanging open in shocked horror, you probably aren’t a very good husband. This article is describing a man whose chief duty as a husband before the pregnancy was to tell his wife that she looks fat, go off on risky adventures and describe in detail to his wife what he finds attractive about other women on TV and in their neighborhood. This has got to be a prank post, right? Is it dated April 1st? Is it dated April 1st, 1953? This kind of schlock should be printed out and spread on the floor of a doghouse.

Even if there is a statistically significant percentage of men who behave this way–and sadly I’m sure there is–what kind of post is this to run on a respected pregnancy advice website? Especially when it’s one of the site’s only pieces of content for expectant fathers! As a man, I am offended by the stereotypical portrayal of my gender and the implied lack of respect for women. Shouldn’t all the women that frequent this site be offended as well?

I believe it’s time for me to find a new app to chart my baby’s progress and look elsewhere for pregnancy and parenting resources. If you’re an expectant parent, I would encourage you to do the same. Also, if you know of any better pregnancy apps (especially one that actually respects the father’s role in the process), feel free to leave a comment below.

Sorry for such an angry post. I’m sure the author of that article would insist that my wife’s crazy pregnancy hormones are rubbing off on me.

 

  1. I’m not ready to pay for an app that will provide listicles about the hottest trends in pregnancy food cravings. I just want to know what fruit our baby is closest in size to and what else is going on in there.
  2. I don’t really think it’s fine.

5 Comment

  1. I’m offended, too. Sheesh! There is so much to tell dads, and all they can say is that? “Dear troglodyte, don’t ogle other women while your (fat) wife is around. Otherwise you won’t get sex from your expectant cow.”

    The article *might* have have given practical advice. For example, if you have no children running around your home, this pregnancy may be your last opportunity for unscheduled, open-door sex for several years. Not that a respectable woman would ever mention that, of course.

    I hope you and your amazing, beautiful, fruitful wife are both feeling well. This can be a wonderful time in your marriage!

  2. Zach says: Reply

    Looks like these tips are ripped from the men’s version of the book, What to Expect When She’s Expecting.

    That book was a joke and I was really bummed when I got about halfway through and realized it was basically just a book that made light of every situation and gave very little actual information that a Dad might need.

  3. I agree, pretty offensive. Skip the app (for now) – go grab “The Expectant Father” instead.

    It still takes things month-by-month, still does suggest that you don’t offend your wife, but also tells you what is going on in her body, in her mind, and give you some things that you should think about addressing (global care for the OB, life insurance policy, will, what to bring to the hospital, what to have at home when you bring baby home). It is going to have some things that don’t apply to everyone (military men, adoptive fathers, etc) but it’s overall the most helpful resource I’ve found for planning for the future without being overwhelmed.

    I typically read one month ahead and much of the time can tell my wife what is normal vs what isn’t, what we need to consider right now, etc.

    I’ll follow this one up with “The New Father” by the same author (Armin A. Brott) and use it alongside the “Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year” and this awesome little book that my sister-in-law picked up for us, “The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance.”

    We’re under 30-days to delivery now and I’ve always been able to stay in front of the weird things that happen and feel much more ‘collected’ than I think I would otherwise.

    Nothing is going to perfectly suited to everyone, but “The Expectant Father” was at least written by a man who has had/felt the same concerns as we all do when it comes to our first child.

    1. Thanks so much for the suggestions! You’re the second person to suggest “The Expectant Father,” so I think it’s time for me to order a copy.

      1. I also found these pretty helpful for bookmarking for future reference (from over on r/predaddit). I didn’t take them as bible, but I liked many of the suggestions and took them into account when purchasing things (like bottles, a baby care app to grab and prepare, prepping for gas pains). I sound like a “planner,” which I am absolutely not – overplanning kills magic. For the baby thing though, I’d like to be ahead of the curve at first and be able to enjoy the experience when it finally arrives.

        Part 1: https://www.reddit.com/r/predaddit/comments/1lcn70/for_first_time_parents_from_a_first_time_parent_4/

        Part 2:
        https://www.reddit.com/r/predaddit/comments/1lnp5g/for_first_time_parents_from_a_first_time_parent_4/

        Part 3: https://www.reddit.com/r/predaddit/comments/1mxj1m/for_first_time_parents_from_a_first_time_parent_4/

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