DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My wife is pregnant with our first child, and some of my friends laugh about my “feeling her pain,” including being nauseous most of the time. They think it’s a joke.
But I figured out I’m having what they used to call “sympathy pregnancy” back in the day, and now what I found out is called Couvade syndrome, and since some of my male friends have also had it, I now am a believer.
What I find interesting is that women get a lot of sympathy for their symptoms, but those of us experiencing sympathy pregnancy get laughed at. I’ve stopped mentioning my symptoms around people, because I don’t want it to look like I’m competing with my wife for attention, especially since I am fully grateful to her for doing the “heavy lifting,” as my dad calls it.
Do you think I’m right to keep the lid on how I’m feeling? --- FEELING HER PAIN
DEAR FEELING HER PAIN: I did a little quick research on this topic as well and was surprised to see the estimates of how many of the non-pregnant partners claim to feel at least some of the symptoms of pregnancy. Personally, I think it gives the partners who experience this phenomenon invaluable insight into what their other half is going through.
As for sharing what you’re sometimes feeling with others, that might be a situation-by-situation call. For instance, letting those close to you know is one thing, but oversharing at work may look more like either, as you suggest, an attention grab or an excuse to not perform at your usually expected level.