Keeping Expectations Realistic

Husband assembles a crib for the baby he and his wife are expecting. Wife reclines in background.

When I was pregnant with my son, it seemed like everything I read contained the message that my husband should be spoiling me rotten.

I was really hopeful for a special gift from him at my baby shower, or a nice little getaway at some point during my pregnancy. When neither of those things happened, I expected that he'd at least give me a gift the day our son was born. That also did not happen.

All these expectations I had (which he knew nothing about because he hadn't read any of the books or magazines that gave me these ideas) led to disappointment and hurt feelings.

I later realized that if I had never read those books and magazines, I probably would not have expected the grand gestures I was hoping to receive. My husband hadn't intentionally let me down; the problem was my expectations.

Looking back seven years later, I am able to see many things my husband did for me that I overlooked.

He took me to every garage sale in town until I found the perfect baby furniture, and then he carefully cleaned and set up every last piece so the nursery would be ready. He attended childbirth classes with me after very long days at a job he didn't enjoy. He cleaned the bathrooms for the duration of my pregnancy to protect me and the baby from harsh chemicals. He rubbed my feet daily and even went shopping for maternity clothes with me – twice!

No wonder he seemed upset when I complained that he "hadn't done anything" for me! He had supported me and offered kindness after kindness, but I was too wrapped up in my own expectations to take notice.

If I could change anything from my pregnancies, I would recognize the extra time, attention and effort my husband gave for the gifts they truly were.

Adapted from Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc. Copyright © 2014 by Focus on the Family.

Next in this Series: The "Babymoon"

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