"I'm craving a cheeseburger."
"So let's go get one."
"But, I'm getting so fat. Look at my belly! It's HUGE!"
"It's not so bad, I promise."
"I promise. You look fine!"
"I eat too many sundaes."
That was a conversation I had almost four years ago when I was pregnant with my second son. The conversation was, as you might have expected, was with my husband. The roles, as you might not expect, were reversed.
My husband was suffering from Couvade Syndrome.
In other words, he was pregnant, too.
Couvade syndrome, or sympathetic pregnancy, is a term used to describe the situation that occurs when an otherwise healthy man whose partner is expecting, also experiences pregnancy symptoms.
In my experience, my husband put on twenty pounds with each of our children and frequently woke me to go get cheeseburgers (or donuts) with him. What drove him craziest were the emotions. Where he'd normally been an even-keeled sort, he became overly emotional, concerned about his weight gain, and all over the board with his emotions.
By contrast, I was absolutely fine. Sure, I craved eggs with mustard on them more days than not (don't knock it until you've tried it!). And yeah, I was gaining weight at an alarming rate, but I, at the very least, expected it.
So is Couvade Syndrome real? It's never been diagnosed as a physical or mental illness. There is no medical explanation as to why Couvade Syndrome occurs. In fact, there is no known reason at all as to why some men get pregnant alongside their partners. Nonetheless, men have been pregnant alongside their pregnant partners since ancient Greek times.
Whether or not the medical or psychological community can figure out why it happens, it does happen.
And when it does, it's VERY annoying (also: very sweet) for the partner.
Now pass the cheeseburgers!
Does your partner "suffer" from Couvade?
Image via Aunt Becky