During my exhausted phase in the first trimester, when I needed around twelve hours’ sleep a night plus a nap, Mr Cath would frequently come home from work complaining he was shattered too. And yes, he works hard, but his hours and commute are both fine. I was initially concerned. I knew he wasn’t anaemic, but was he eating properly? Getting enough exercise? It couldn’t be caused by not enough sleep as he went to bed at the same time as me – ridiculously early. Maybe the problem was too much sleep!
Then it hit me. He was tired in sympathy with me! As soon as I realised this, I became a lot less worried wife and a lot more cynical mother to be. “You’re tired, eh? Wait till the baby comes. You have no idea what tiredness is!” He would look at me with fear in his eyes, which by the way had absolutely no bags whatsoever. Entreating him to pull himself together and stop being so pathetic didn’t have much effect either. Thankfully, by the New Year I pulled through and so did he.
During my reading, I subsequently realised that Mr Cath was one of the lucky ones. Some fathers to be actually suffer from what is known as “couvade syndrome”, or sympathetic pregnancy. It turns out that the sky’s the limit when it comes to men experiencing pregnancy symptoms…
Junior © Universal Studios Entertainment 1994
As well as fatigue, as many as half of men can get symptoms that include:
- Morning sickness
- Weight gain
- Pain in the abdomen
- Mood swings and anxiety
Apparently these are caused by a combination of psychological and physical factors. Men have hormones too, and like women, they can go haywire during pregnancy! As if us women didn’t have enough to worry about…